13 episodes

Jon Brantingham talks about everything related to music composition, music theory, and creativity, to get you started on the right foot while learning to compose. Discover what you need to be doing to consistently grow as a budding composer, what tips and tricks will make the process a little less painful, and most importantly, what you can do to find your own composing voice. Jon is a composer, music composition teacher, business owner, former Army helicopter pilot, father and husband. He doesn't enjoy long walks on the beach, but instead prefers to jump in and surf. Whether you like to write in a classical or romantic style, like Jon, or you like to write 4 minutes of bleeps and bloops and call that music, or maybe you are a singer-songwriter, the Art of Composing podcast will be your guide to learning the art and craft of music composition.

The Art of Composing Podcast Jon Brantingham

    • Music Commentary

Jon Brantingham talks about everything related to music composition, music theory, and creativity, to get you started on the right foot while learning to compose. Discover what you need to be doing to consistently grow as a budding composer, what tips and tricks will make the process a little less painful, and most importantly, what you can do to find your own composing voice. Jon is a composer, music composition teacher, business owner, former Army helicopter pilot, father and husband. He doesn't enjoy long walks on the beach, but instead prefers to jump in and surf. Whether you like to write in a classical or romantic style, like Jon, or you like to write 4 minutes of bleeps and bloops and call that music, or maybe you are a singer-songwriter, the Art of Composing podcast will be your guide to learning the art and craft of music composition.

    AOC 013: William Caplin and Analyzing Classical Form

    AOC 013: William Caplin and Analyzing Classical Form

    In Episode 13 of the Art of Composing Podcast, I talk to William Caplin, author of two of my favorite books on form and music theory in general. This is a great interview where we go into all sorts of

    What is in this episode:



    * What is form?

    * How did great composers like Beethoven actually think about form?

    * How can you apply it to your own compositions?



    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing



    About William Caplin



    William Caplin is the James McGill Professor of Music Theory at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is author of two of my favorite books, Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, which won the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory, and the more recently published, Analyzing Classical Form: An Approach For the Classroom.



    Dr. Caplin studied Music Composition at the University of Southern California and then followed on with Graduate Studies at the University of Chicago working with Leonard Meyer and others, as well as further studies at the Berlin Technical University where he studied with Carl Dahlhaus.



    Dr. Caplin served as President of the Society for Music Theory from November 2005 to November 2007 and continues to serve on the editorial boards of Eighteenth-Century Music, Indiana Theory Review, Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale, and Eastman Studies in Music.



    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:



    William Caplin's Books







    *These are affiliate links to Amazon.

    • 29 min
    AOC 012: Samuel Adler and The Study of Orchestration

    AOC 012: Samuel Adler and The Study of Orchestration

    In Episode 12 of the Art of Composing Podcast, I talk to Samuel Adler, author of one of the most popular books on orchestration, The Study of Orchestration.



    There is an issue with my itunes feed right now. I am working with apple to get it fixed, but it will probably be a day or two before it's corrected.



    What is in this episode:



    * The most beneficial activities for composers learning orchestration.

    * Samuel Adler’s thoughts on getting published when you’re young.

    * Golden nuggets from some of the greatest teachers and composers of the twentieth century.

    * Why you should copy great composers like Bach and Hindemith.

    * Why the composition teacher is like a midwife.



    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing



    Tips from Samuel Adler



    * Composers should play an instrument.

    * Learn to sing.

    * Start as early as possible. This includes the study of harmony, counterpoint, and analysis, as well as your instrument.

    * Get a teacher as early as possible - this subject is too complicated and too complex to learn completely on your own.

    * Get familiar with the main corpus of music that has been created, as far back as medieval times.

    * Listen to and read a much music as possible.

    * Get into an ensemble.

    * Play chamber music on the side.

    * Keep writing and keep learning.





    What are characteristics of good Orchestration?

    Transparency

    Let the orchestra choirs sound so that it doesn't all sound like a big mish-mosh.



    Great Orchestrators

    Igor Stravinsky

    Claude Debussy

    Maurice Ravel

    Henri Dutilleux



    The American's knew how to orchestrate better than anybody.



    Copland

    Piston

    Session

    William Shuman

    Ned Rorem

    Samuel Barber



    Thoughts on Walter Piston

    He wasn't the best teacher because he taught by sarcasm.



    Thoughts on Hindemith

    You had to write a new piece for every single lesson. He would then rewrite it. You ended up writing what he would like.

    I wrote like a little Paul Hindemith for a very long time.



    Thoughts on Copland

    He was the best teacher because he would point out there was something wrong with your piece, but he wouldn't tell you exactly what.



    He would show you - identify some kind of weakness, or mistake, or wrong chord, or something like that. And instead of, like Hindemith putting the right chord, he would say, "Go home and do it." And you learned more by worrying. He said "Somethings wrong," so something must be wrong, and you tried very hard to correct it. And this was a terrific way of teaching.



    On teaching in General



    The composition teacher is like a midwife. He can't have the baby but he can help along.



    Always try to live into the music or style that the student is writing.



    Samuel Adler's Thoughts on Technology



    I can tell, by looking at a score, whether that composer has composed with the computer. You have delete on the computer and you have repeat on the computer, and much of the minimal music is not as good as Philip Glass, or any of the great composers of minimal music.



    Samuel Adler's Process of Composing

    He starts with sketching.

    He always completes his short score before orchestrating.

    Orchestration is treated as a 2nd composition.



    Why he wrote The Study of Orchestration

    He wrote the book by default, because the books they were using didn't actually talk about orchestration - just instrumen...

    • 35 min
    AOC 011: Partimenti and the Secrets of the Greatest Composers – An Interview with Robert Gjerdingen

    AOC 011: Partimenti and the Secrets of the Greatest Composers – An Interview with Robert Gjerdingen

    Episode 11 of the Art of Composing Podcast. We interview Robert Gjerdingen, author of the book "Music in the Galant Style". We talk about Partimenti, the tool used to train the greatest composers from Mozart to Debussy and Stravinsky, as well as his new research into how music fits really well into constructionist linguistic theory.



    What is in this episode:



    * What Partimenti are and why you should care.

    * How composers like Mozart would have actually learned to composed.

    * How composition is very similar to speaking a language.



    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing

    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:



    Joint Improvisation by Alma Deutscher and Tobias Cramm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nubC3dktQ24



    Four Improvisations for Piano by Arensky, Rachmaninov, Glazunov & Taneyev

    https://youtu.be/PlFPOWuwBHI?t=2s



    Robert Gjerdingen's Book

    Music in the Galant Style

    *This is an affiliate link to amazon



    Schema Theory as a Construction Grammar

    http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.2/mto.15.21.2.gjerdingen_bourne.html



    Robert Gjerdingen’s Website

    http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm



    Monuments of Partimenti

    http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/partimenti/index.htm



    Robert Gjerdingen’s Free Course On Playing Partimenti

    https://sites.google.com/site/partimenti/courses



    1000 Harmonic Exercises by Anton Arensky

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/305313092/1000-Problems-for-the-Practical-Study-of-Harmony-by-Anton-Arensky

    • 57 min
    AOC 010: Understanding Harmony

    AOC 010: Understanding Harmony

    Episode 10 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, you'll get a good grasp of what harmony is and why harmony works the way it does. If you've ever wanted to know how to create a chord progression from scratch, this is the episode for you.

    What is in this episode:



    * The basis for our harmony - the overtone series

    * How functional chord progressions work

    * How to add chromatic harmony to your chord progressions



    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing

    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:

    Here are the charts mentioned in the episode. If you're interested more in using these charts, you can check out my article on diatonic harmony.

    Major



    Minor

    • 34 min
    AOC 009: My Principles of Orchestration

    AOC 009: My Principles of Orchestration

    Episode 9 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, you'll learn some valuable questions to ask yourself before orchestrating anything, and then my technique to efficiently learn the art of orchestration.

    What is in this episode:



    * Why you shouldn't orchestrate... yet.

    * Valuable questions to find out if you are ready for orchestrating your own music.

    * My technique for orchestrating your own pieces quickly, efficiently, and without getting overwhelmed.



    Listen to the Final Orchestration of Sketchy Business From the Podcast



    Download the Score and Sketch Sheet

    Here is an example of a descriptive sketch. Notice, just the melody, the chords, and a description of what I want to do.







    That is followed with actually sketching ideas. Here is Section 1.







    Section 2.







    Section 3.







    I then turn it into a full score, which you can hear and see below.







    Sketchy Business - Score and parts



    Sketchy Business - Sketch

    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing

    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:



    * The Study of Orchestration (Third Edition)

    * Sibelius

    * Noteperformer



    Transcript

    Welcome

    Hey everyone, we're back with another art of composing podcast. In this episode, we are going to learn about orchestration. What is it, and why you should or shouldn't be doing it. We are also going to go over, my technique for orchestrating small, practice pieces that sharpen your orchestration skills.

    Featured Content

    Orchestration, the technique of composing for orchestra is something that everyone needs to eventually learn. But when you are just starting off, I liken it to treasure hunting on the beach. You walk around with a metal detector, (aka your ear), looking for a chest of buried gold from 200 years ago. Turns out, all you find are the occasional bottle cap, maybe a quarter, and a lot of wasted time.



    So my first question to you is - why are you orchestrating?



    Just like many of you, I attempted to orchestrate pieces of music when I was younger. And I still have those files on my computer. Guess what, they're pretty terrible.



    I mean, maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself, I was 15 at the time, and I just wanted to copy what I heard from my favorite composers. There is nothing wrong with that desire. But just realize, your first attempts to orchestrate anything, unless you happen to have a perfect memory, and an absolutely phenomenal ability to transcribe, well they're going to be bad.



    I am just going to say it. Beginning composers generally shouldn't orchestrate. At least not in the way they think they should.



    Now there are many reasons for this, and we will talk about them in just a little while, but I think the main reason is, because there is just a lot of stuff you need to know, to orchestrate well. Certain things seem easier, especially with music notation software like Sibelius, but in reality,

    • 27 min
    AOC 008: Understanding Musical Form

    AOC 008: Understanding Musical Form

    Episode 8 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, find out why you need to learn about musical form, and what exactly makes musical form so powerful. We also analyze the 1st Movement to Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1.

    What is in this episode:



    * Learn about the different levels of musical form, and how they work together to create a feeling of temporality.

    * We go over each section of the 1st movement to Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1, talking about the techniques that are being used in each section.

    * Learn how the Lord of the Rings is a great analogy for remembering Sonata Form.



    Support the Podcast!

    Click Here to go to Jon's Patreon page, and support the podcast!



    http://patreon.com/artofcomposing

    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:



    * The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy



    Add any other supporting show notes.

    Transcript

    Welcome

    Welcome to another episode of the art of composing podcast. Art of Composing is dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of musical composition, and then teaching them in ways that allow you to become the composer you want to be.



    In this episode, we are going to learn all about musical form and how you can learn to compose by watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy.



    Before we get into that, let's talk about learning composition for a second. If you are like most people that want to start learning composition, you probably don't have a good idea about what you need to do, to actually get that done.



    Learning composition is a tricky thing, because there are a lot of skills required in order to create even just a simple piece from scratch. Well, the Art of Composing Academy is exactly what you are looking for.



    If you are a beginner or even an experienced composer, looking to brush up on the fundamentals, check out Music Composition 101. The course takes you from never having written anything on your own, to creating solid classical pieces.



    You can check it out at academy.artofcomposing.com

    Featured Content

    Musical form has always been an interesting subject to me. On the surface, form seems like it is a road map, that you as a composer can follow to create pieces that sound a specific way. And this is true, on the surface.



    But as you start to peel away these surface elements, you'll find that studying form is much deeper. And that is what we are going to talk about in this episode.



    I like to always start things off with a definition, and this is my personal definition, which I've created over studying form for the last few years:



    Musical Form is an emergent feature of music that happens over time when you combine the separate elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo and texture.



    Let's take a minute to break down this definition, and pull out some important points. That way I know we are on solid ground as I start to explain the different kinds of musical form.



    First, Musical Form is an emergent feature of music that happens over time.



    Part of the mystery of musical form, is why it creates certain feelings in people. In particular feelings of time or temporality.



    If you think about a piece of music that is done well, there is usually some point in the music where you identify a beginning. A feeling that the music is just starting and that there is more to come.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

Drizzy19 ,

Must listen for beginner composers

This is my go to source for learning about music composition. I recommend it. It’s been so helpful in my journey as a musician.

LoydC91362 ,

Wonderful

This is a great podcast for anyone interested in music composition, theory, and music history. It’s giving me great ideas for more effective piano practice, as well.

The interview with Robert Gjerdingen on Partimenti was fascinating. I hope these podcasts keep coming for a long time, because I will listen to them all.

discorules ,

Awesome

Loved this and I’m sad I did not discovered it before . Please make new episodes 😍

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