Fantasy Novel

Fantasy Novel
Read a fantasy novel written by me and my brother!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Whole New World

Fantasy World Instrumentation

This is probably one of my stranger posts, but then again, I haven't posted in awhile so I'm making up for lost time. My main reason for posting this is I haven't seen anything like this on the Internet and I think it's important enough that it needs to be covered. Besides, I also like composing fantasy music, so I thought it'd help me as well.

Anyway, in this post I will be discussing what types of instruments to use when making fantasy music for dwarves and elves, borrowing from the soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and my own music.

1. Dwarves

Dwarves are a strong hardy people who dig tunnels, mine caves and dwell in mountains. This should be reflected in the instruments chosen.

[Horns] A safe choice with dwarves is horn instruments like trombones, trumpets, french horns, and other types like this. The low horns especially can make your music sound dwarvish. For an example of this, listen to this wonderful music from the Hobbit soundtrack called Over Hill

[Drums] Loud bass drums and anvil hits are excellent instruments to use for dwarf music. Make full use of them. For an example of the anvils, listen to Song of the Lonely Mountain from the Hobbit. The anvil hit comes in at 1:10. See if you can hear it.

[Strings] Beautiful strings are another wonderful instrument to use. Though the strings might not actually take over the whole melody, they are great to use for the chords and for a supporting melody. Listen to my composition called Dwarf Prince for an example of dwarf music that does have strings in the melody line. The strings supporting melody line comes in at 0:33 and takes over as the main melody line at 1:05. The strings don't stay in the melody line the rest of the piece, though.

[Choirs] Male choirs and voices are also great for dwarf music. Listen to Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold from the Hobbit for an example of this.

There are definitely other instruments which can be used in dwarf pieces, like the harp which is featured in Dwarf Prince, but these are the main ones. I hope you feel more inspired to try your hand at making dwarf music now.

2. Elves

Elves are an intelligent, nimble people who live peacefully in their forest homes (providing nothing disturbs them that is). The instruments for them are dramatically different than the ones for dwarves.

[Choirs] Female choirs are a wonderful choice for elven music and give it a beautiful, ethereal atmosphere. For two examples, listen to the Lothlorien Theme and The Passing of the Elves from Lord of the Rings.

[Strings] Rich, full-sounding strings are common in elven music. Unlike dwarf music, strings more often take over the melody line.
[Harps] Beautiful, gentle, and flowing, the harp is an amazing instrument to use for elves. Listen to my elven piece called Secret of the Elves and Rivendell from Lord of the Rings as examples of this.

[Flutes] Flutes can also be used in elven music and give it a beautiful, heart-wrenching sound. Listen to my piece called Elven Lands for an example of this. The flute comes in at 0:37.
[Horns] Though not as common as the other instrument choices, trumpets, french horns, and other higher-sounding horns can be used for elves. Horns are especially useful to use for elf battle music or other music involving elves in war and give the music a more majestic and regal sound. Listen to The Elves Arrive at Helm's Deep and see if you can hear the horn, noting how its inclusion makes the music much richer and more fit for a battle.

These are the important instruments to use for elven music and I hope they will inspire you to create your own elven tune.

I know this didn't cover nearly all of the fantasy creatures, but this is enough for this post. Anyway, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Popular Chord Progressions

Great Chord Progressions

Composing music has much to do with finding the right chord progressions. If you're a budding songwriter or a seasoned veteran, I'm sure you thought a lot about what chords to use in your song. Here are some from popular songs that you could try.

1. Vanilla Twilight

This first chord progression from a popular song by Owl City is fairly simple. C major, G major, A minor, and then F major. This chord progression is very common and useful. Beginning and ending with major chords makes your song sound fairly happy, so that's one reason why this song by Owl City doesn't sound very sad in spite of its sorrowful lyrics. If you need a somewhat happy chord progression mixed with a minor tone, choose this one.

Listen to 0:00 - 0:18 of Vanilla Twilight. Notice the chord progression is repeated 3 times and then it changes to C major, G major, D minor, F major for the ending. Also, while I'm on this song, notice the 2 key transpose starting at 2:24 and how it changes the feel of the song, making it much more majestic.

2. What Makes You Beautiful

This second chord progression is taken from One Direction's famous song. Here are the chords: E Major, A major, and then B major.

Listen to 0:00 - 0:38 of What Makes You Beautiful. For this section the chord progression is the same, but then it changes slightly with a minor chord and a few other changes. Still, throughout most of this song, the chord progression is the same. Even with such a simple chord progression, this song still became extremely popular, so there must be something to it. Perhaps it's because this chord progression is very happy-sounding and positive unlike the first one, which had a minor chord in it. 

3.You Belong With Me

This third chord progression from the verse of Taylor Swift's song is D major, A major, E minor, and then G major.

Listen to 0:08 - 0:36 of You Belong With Me. It's easy to tell that this chord progression isn't as happy-sounding as the other one, and I think the E minor chord in it makes it sound even sadder than Vanilla Twilight. This chord progression has sort of a wistful, hopeful, mysterious feel to it

That's all for now. Have fun composing music!

Overcome the Musical Barriers

Composition Motivation

Composing music can be very challenging, for both the novice and the expert. However, their problems are very different. While the beginner struggles to come up with any melody or a good melody, the expert struggles with trying to create different-sounding piece. These difficulties will be dealt with in these following 3 tips which will hopefully help you improve your composition skills.

1. Listen to Music

This might sound trite or unimportant, but this is one of the most valuable tips to a composer. By listening to music, your mind installs new chord progressions, new note patterns, and new rhythms without you even knowing what's happening. To the expert, this is one of the best ways of getting out of the rut of making boring and similar-sounding pieces. To the novice, this can help them to understand how good songs are made and how to create them.

A clarification should be made, though. Don't just listen to one type of music. To get the full benefit of this tip, try to listen to many styles of music. For example, even if you hate classical music or instrumental music, give them a listen. You will likely pick up new information to furnish your songs with.

2. Just Try

This is another critical tip. Even though a lot of people may have talent, they won't ever know because they won't ever try for long enough. They'll give up after a few attempts and tell themselves and others that they just weren't cut out to be a musician. This unwise excuse can often cost them a lot in life and it happens with far more than just music. Some people tell themselves they'll never be good at a certain sport, and you know what, it happens. They never are good at that sport. Self-fulfilling prophecies can be very dangerous so try not to make them--at least not the negative ones.

3. Connect with Others

There is a lot of great music advice out there and there are a lot of composers who would love to help you improve your skill. Get connected with blogs, forums, or chat rooms that discuss music composition and your knowledge of music will definitely improve. If you are shy and don't like to meet new people, just try it anyway. You never know how much fun you'll have and how much your life will change for the better.

That's all for now. I hope you have fun composing. Remember, never give up!