October 14, 2018 at 2:16pm

Time to share my 5th "nugget" of musical knowledge:
Chordify is a website that automatically transforms music from Youtube or Soundcloud into chords. Relying on deep neural networks to output chords for your song, they are geared to help pianists, guitarists, and ukulelists. So, if you rely on chords or play by ear, then save some time with Chordify. Paying members can transpose and even play around with the tempo. If you don't wish to create an account, you can use their search tool... See More

Time to share my 5th "nugget" of musical knowledge:
Chordify is a website that automatically transforms music from Youtube or Soundcloud into chords. Relying on deep neural networks to output chords for your song, they are geared to help pianists, guitarists, and ukulelists. So, if you rely on chords or play by ear, then save some time with Chordify. Paying members can transpose and even play around with the tempo. If you don't wish to create an account, you can use their search tool for free to check whether chords already exist for your favourite song.

For example, here are chords to Broken Vow, a lovely piece from Lara Fabian.
https://chordify.net/chords/lara-fabian-broken-vow-marcopantoja

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Liew Soo Hin

This sounds interesting. How accurate is this? Have you tried extensively?

November 15, 2018 at 4:05pm
Gavin Koh

Good enough... there was one week where I used it to quickly get the chords I needed for a Hari Raya performance. Accuracy seems reasonable. But if you want more features, like transposing and so... See More

Good enough... there was one week where I used it to quickly get the chords I needed for a Hari Raya performance. Accuracy seems reasonable. But if you want more features, like transposing and so on, you have to pay. Read here for a better idea: https://www.reddit.com/r/musictheory/comments/22e7dy/chordifynet_has_any...

November 15, 2018 at 5:07pm
Liew Soo Hin

Thanks! I've read the link you sent. On a technical note, I reckon the software analysed the frequencies?

I mean, there's nothing in the mp3 file, except frequencies, right?

November 16, 2018 at 11:45am
Gavin Koh

You can read about how Chordify works by looking at this answer in Quora.
https://www.quora.com/How-does-Chordify-work... See More

You can read about how Chordify works by looking at this answer in Quora.
https://www.quora.com/How-does-Chordify-work

And unless you know about Artificial Neural Networks and terms like neural weights, back propagation, and recurrent/recursive neural networks, it's going to be tough understanding what happens under it's hood.

November 16, 2018 at 11:55am
November 1, 2017 at 1:16am

If you were composing piano pieces, what music notation software would you recommend - MuseScore, Finale, Sibelius, or something else?

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Liew Soo Hin

Ic.. I often mistake the DAW together with these!
And I also thought Logic Pro has some notation capabilities.

June 18, 2018 at 5:30pm
Gavin Koh

Logic Pro does have notation capabilities, but it's probably bare basics.

June 18, 2018 at 5:32pm
Gavin Koh

Read this... See More

Read this link to understand the difference between them.

June 18, 2018 at 5:36pm
June 19, 2018 at 11:25am
March 19, 2018 at 11:31pm

When composing a song, does the melody come first, or the lyrics?

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Adelynn Khoo

Is there a formula used by the many successful composers? You know, maybe writing the melody first is *easier*?

March 23, 2018 at 12:48pm
Goh Zensen

If you are talking about composer and lyricist being two different persons, then we have cases for both. However, by default, it is usually the composer penning the melody first, then the lyricist... See More

If you are talking about composer and lyricist being two different persons, then we have cases for both. However, by default, it is usually the composer penning the melody first, then the lyricist filling in the lyrics later.

March 26, 2018 at 8:03am
Gavin Koh

As Zensen said, "by default" the music comes first followed by lyrics. In the next Pianovers (#75 on 22nd Apr), I will be playing an exception, a song where the lyrics came first.

"When... See More

As Zensen said, "by default" the music comes first followed by lyrics. In the next Pianovers (#75 on 22nd Apr), I will be playing an exception, a song where the lyrics came first.

"When October Goes" had music composed by Barry Manilow only after the lyricist's widow sent Manilow the lyrics. Manilow set a lovely melancholy tune to what Johnny Mercer wrote (Mercer had died of a brain tumour diagnosed just months before) and the completed song was released as a single by Manilow (and it was quite a success).

Listen it on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Reiqwbo4b7Q or come to Pianovers #75 to listen!

April 14, 2018 at 6:55pm
Gavin Koh

In the case of "When October Goes":

"Setting the Mercer lyrics to music, Mr. Manilow discovered, was one of the easier tasks of his career. "The tunes came like that", he said snapping his... See More

In the case of "When October Goes":

"Setting the Mercer lyrics to music, Mr. Manilow discovered, was one of the easier tasks of his career. "The tunes came like that", he said snapping his fingers. "I struggle with the pop stuff till I bleed, but this stuff... like that." [Article ref link]

So, it could be easier to compose music around the lyrics after all. Maybe, you only need to connect with the lyrics, be inspired by them, and voilà!

April 14, 2018 at 3:18pm
April 2, 2017 at 10:07pm

At my recent talk on composing and arranging at Anglican High, I highlighted to the O-Level music students on the importance to deepen one's understanding of music theory in order to be a superior music arranger. Then one of the them asked me this question, "Would ABRSM Grade 8 theory suffice?"

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Goh Zensen

Haha!

April 3, 2017 at 5:01pm
Goh Zensen

Best part is: America doesn't seem to have the ABRSM/Trinity equivalent kind of graded exams for music. Correct me if I'm wrong?

April 3, 2017 at 5:02pm
Liew Soo Hin

What topics in music theory are important then, to be a superior music arranger?

November 15, 2017 at 6:41pm
Goh Zensen

Almost all topics are important; though the more apparent ones are Parts of Music/Textures/Layers, chord identity and chord structures, types of bass playing, principles of counter melodies... See More

Almost all topics are important; though the more apparent ones are Parts of Music/Textures/Layers, chord identity and chord structures, types of bass playing, principles of counter melodies formations, sub-harmonies and super-harmonies, types of modulations, types of rhythms, syncopation, etc.

November 16, 2017 at 8:49am
November 2, 2017 at 11:27am

Has anyone here composed and sold pieces of their own? Would love if you could share your experiences.

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Goh Zensen

Yes, I've composed both pop and classical pieces. But I didn't sell any of them to any publishers. One pop piece was launched together with my stage band group's CD album, which was subsequently... See More

Yes, I've composed both pop and classical pieces. But I didn't sell any of them to any publishers. One pop piece was launched together with my stage band group's CD album, which was subsequently sold in the Asia-Pac market. Now planning to thread carefully the way to launch my Piano Concerto, which took me 23 years to complete.

November 2, 2017 at 1:31pm
Gavin Koh

Additionally: Has anyone used Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or similar websites to share and sell their composed pieces? Has anyone set up a composer portfolio?

November 3, 2017 at 9:07am
April 14, 2017 at 3:16pm

Someone has recently raised the subject matter on the improvisatory nature of baroque and classical period composers. Many of them were in fact improvising AS THEY WERE composing. But they only (largely) documented ONE VERSION of their improvisation, which is the score archived till today for others to play. There are larger implications to music and music education, which many disagree with me. So far few people (e.g. Dr Leonard Tan, conductor of the Singapore National Youth Symphony... See More

Someone has recently raised the subject matter on the improvisatory nature of baroque and classical period composers. Many of them were in fact improvising AS THEY WERE composing. But they only (largely) documented ONE VERSION of their improvisation, which is the score archived till today for others to play. There are larger implications to music and music education, which many disagree with me. So far few people (e.g. Dr Leonard Tan, conductor of the Singapore National Youth Symphony Orchestra) agree with me.

The implications are: Why must we be having to have the DOGMA of having to play every single note (dictated on the documented score) to the last letter WHEN the composer himself could have used a slightly different set of notes if he had written the score using another improvised version of his work?

And it is exactly this dogma, passed through the centuries and generations, that the general conventional music fraternity is holding dearly to. Don't get me wrong - this definitely has its important purpose which we need to maintain. I'm more referring to the general player who simply wants to appreciate and enjoy playing classical music (not joining an orchestra or be a concert pianist) - why must they choose the "only" route on score-reading?

If we can embrace improvised versions of Mozart's Symphony No 40 in jazz version and Mambo version, wouldn't it be strange then, that we ask FOR THE SCORES for these versions? [That we want to rely on a precise score to play EVEN an IMPROVISED version of a work!] See the logical fallacy here?

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Sng Yong Meng

" .. when the composer himself could have used a slightly different set of notes if he had written the score using another improvised version of his work ... "

At the end of the day, would... See More

" .. when the composer himself could have used a slightly different set of notes if he had written the score using another improvised version of his work ... "

At the end of the day, would the composer still choose a final version he wants the audience to hear as the definitive?

For example, when you hear a recording published by the composer, would it be reasonable to conclude that, while he had tried many versions / many improvised versions of his work; he will still choose one definitive to be shown to the public?

April 15, 2017 at 9:54pm
Goh Zensen

Hmm, I would say it is a combination of yes and no. Someone recently mentioned the cadenza issue, which would shed some lights to it. As a classical composer myself, coupled with some of my other... See More

Hmm, I would say it is a combination of yes and no. Someone recently mentioned the cadenza issue, which would shed some lights to it. As a classical composer myself, coupled with some of my other classical composer friends, though there is a "final version" of our works which we would set on it (and document it), we feel we are quite fine if some of the "less important notes" (e.g. the way to produce or sound out the chords at certain junctures) are changed slightly, since it won't affect its overall musicality. But once they change things that are more pivotal (such as our counter melodies), then it is a strict no-no. But having said that, there are other composers who would want 100% conformance of playing w.r.t. to what they have written precisely.

April 15, 2017 at 10:55pm
Sng Yong Meng

"... though there is a final version of our works ... quite fine if some of the less important notes are changed slightly ..."

Since there still has to be a final version delivered to the... See More

"... though there is a final version of our works ... quite fine if some of the less important notes are changed slightly ..."

Since there still has to be a final version delivered to the public, it would best represent what the composer truly wants. Otherwise, if he has felt that a slight change in some of the notes would suit better, he would have chosen that as the definitive piece. Thus, the published piece contains the intricate musical qualities, and emotions, among other collaterals; that the composer wants the world to hear and feel it.

He might hope that this song would be played in its entirety to preserve his intentions. If he has wanted other variations, he might publish his works in variations. For example, Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman".

What the future generations would perform, is something the composer cannot predict. Musicians now can perform it in its truest form, or improvised form, and whether it can be accepted depends largely on the current state of musical taste among the population.

April 19, 2017 at 7:11pm
Chris Khoo

At the end of the day, would it boil down to who decides which is part of the composer's authoritative / canonical works, and which is not ? The publisher of the works, the patron, a panel, the... See More

At the end of the day, would it boil down to who decides which is part of the composer's authoritative / canonical works, and which is not ? The publisher of the works, the patron, a panel, the composer himself ? Is it a matter of power ?

April 19, 2017 at 7:51pm