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Re: Is lilypond really suitable for composing?

From: Peter Engelbert
Subject: Re: Is lilypond really suitable for composing?
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 22:31:55 +0000

I developed my inner ear almost entirely as an adult, so I learned it consciously. 

It came first from solfeging everything I came into contact with. That helped me understand the diatonic tendencies of notes.

Then I studied counterpoint. In doing my exercises, i would do it on paper first.  When I was finished, I always played one voice while singing the other. Then I would switch the voices and do it again. I started to build up a sense for how lines work together, and for what  different vertical intervals sound like in different contexts.

When I found a teacher, he taught me harmony using the Boulanger method. Long harmony exercises in four voices that were meant to be played at the piano. You are given a baseline only and are forbidden to write the other voices in. Play three voices and sing one. Repeat for all the voices. Transpose through all possible keys and do the same. When you could do that with one exercise (which would usually take 2 weeks of steady practice) then you moved on to the next.

Then the same thing but with modulations.

Doing this provides you with aural standards against which exceptions are measured. It becomes clear that the tenor line, for one, follows specific motions from each chord to the next, and practicing it ad nauseum meant that I had experiential knowledge of what that voice “meant” in that context. I could look at a bass line in any key and sing the standard tenor line that would go with the “standard” 4-voice realization.

The logical follow up to this is to play the Bach fugues while singing one of the voices. Or the chorales. At every step, you are connecting music to the VOICE first, the BODY second, and the MIND dead last.

At least, that’s how I developed my inner ear. I guarantee that anyone following a similar method will have similar results.

And I wouldn’t dream of composing anything “into the computer”. It’s there to check your work if you need it (if you don’t rely on it, it can actually HELP you develop as you compare the midi to your own internal representation). You just have to be sure to develop your internal representation as fully as possible before checking your work.

Hope this provides some useful information,

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 14:42 Flaming Hakama by Elaine <address@hidden> wrote:

From: Tom Cloyd <address@hidden>
To: Frauke Jurgensen <address@hidden>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:24:48 -0700
Subject: Re: Is lilypond really suitable for composing?

100% in agreement. Developing that inner ear is immeasurably valuable, but it takes effort, and that effort is made only when there's motivation. Having only oneself to rely on provides the context for that motivation. (HA! Can you guess MY occupation?)

I call hogwash.  Developing inner ear has nothing to do with using pencil & paper vs using notation software.  A more meaningful distinction is whether you are composing by ear or not:

* If you are plucking out every note and chord at the piano, then notating the ones you like with pencil & paper (or into notation software), you are NOT developing your inner ear.
* If you come up with all the notes in your head and enter them directly into notation software (or on paper), then you are are using your inner ear.

I agree that the processes of composition, arranging/orchestration and engraving are distinct, and should be approached as such.  And I agree that developing your inner ear is crucial.  But you can do all of that with the help of notation software, or not.

David Elaine Alt
415 . 341 .4954                                           "Confusion is highly underrated"
skype: flaming_hakama
Producer ~ Composer ~ Instrumentalist
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