Opus 2

Once again, the main melody is finished, and I am left struggling with the arrangement. I received feedback on ‘Onwards‘ about how I should use a wider range of instruments. At the moment, I’m quite uncomfortable around non-string instruments. Whenever I listen to a section of ‘Into Winter’ and try to come up with some names of non-string instruments which might suit it, I draw a blank. I can only conjure sound ideas with adjectives, like ‘tinkling’ or ‘forlorn’; I can’t yet pick the right tools for the musical job.

I don’t know what it is about non-string instruments that renders them silent to my ears. I thought percussion was the worst of it, but now, I’m trying to understand brass and woodwinds. It’s not that I can’t tell different brass or woodwind instruments apart. I just don’t know how to use them. I don’t know when to include them to make the music sound ‘right’.

Ah well. At least I know my way around my DAW now. Soon, it’ll be six months since I created this website and started practical composing. The only things I have to show for my efforts so far are a despised first-composition and some basic DAW-skills. I’ve been a slow learner, but I’m determined not to rush myself. I think I do enough of that outside of composing.

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed this, but ‘Onwards’, my first piece, is now a private track and is not available for listening. I found it so flawed and crude that I couldn’t stand the idea of people listening to it. I’ll make it available again once I’ve revised it and can honestly say that I’ve given it my best effort. That won’t happen until I’ve at least finished ‘Into Winter’, though.

4 thoughts on “Opus 2

  1. What I do that may help you is I record every chord progression with piano. Then, when I have the parts down, I flip through the different instruments I have and see what fits. If that doesn’t work, try googling what instruments are good for whatever sound you’re trying to get across.

    Six months and basic DAW know how is nothing to scoff at! Six months into my mixing journey I had little to no know how and just was winging it until I got outside help from friends who knew more about DAWs and the mixing process. You can only keep on learning and improving from here!

    Aww, don’t feel too bad about your first piece. I mean, I’m still keeping my first ones up and they are no where near what I can do now. It wasn’t bad by any means, we’re all our worst critics.


    • Thank you for your encouragement, Crystal. I’m not actually upset about how much I dislike ‘Onwards’. I mostly feel resigned. I’m definitely going to work on it again—I’d never forgive myself if I left it the way it is now.

      Recently, I’ve been thinking that it might be useful to learn some basic music theory, even if I don’t ever intend to master a musical instrument. But I’m finding it a hard choice to make because music theory bores me, and it doesn’t seem directly relevant to composing with a DAW. I confess that I don’t even know the chord progressions in my music; the way I think of music is much more abstract.

      Thank you for dropping by. I’ll try to take your advice and feel more satisfied about my progress.


      • Oh ok, that’s good to hear! Definitely feel you there on not being completely satisfied haha.

        You should learn some basic theory, it helps in more than just learning an instrument. I hate it but I know very basic stuff like what chord progressions are for what and tempo and measures and the scales and that really it, just enough to get going lol. I’m like you otherwise: Much prefer to just sit down at my keyboard and work and just feel my way through the making music, but when you get stuck somewhere it’s nice to be able to go “Maybe throw this progression under here see if that works” 😄 Knowing at least some basic chord progressions should probably help you be able to figure out things a bit easier though!

        Good luck 🙂


      • Thank you for the advice! I saw the music-theory links that you shared a while ago. I’ll try to work my way through them, one lesson at a time.

        I think a part of me is scared that once I learn music theory, I’ll be ‘locked’ into a technical way of thinking and won’t be able to listen or compose without naming everything I hear. That happened to me when I tried to read or write after I brushed up on my grammar.


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