How To Write Music

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How To Write Music – (Day 03) Rhythm, Pattern, and Form

Welcome back to How To Write Music. This is Day 3 of the 10-Day Boot-Camp to writing Viral Music. So far it’s been fairly easy. Trust me, it’s going to get really in-depth… Starting NOW!

Go ahead and open up Mario Paint Composer. You’ll need it later in this lesson.

How To Write Music – Who Needs Rules?

Sadly, the rules of music must apply. All music should have a rhythm, pattern, and form in order for it to be, well “conventional”.

To be fair, if you have music in which the rhythm is inconsistent/doesn’t exist, it might not be appealing. For example:

1, 2, 3, 4

When we say/read/count those numbers, we tend to do so in a rhythm. What I mean is, we unconsciously space each letter apart, the spaces being identical.

Now apply that to music.

Wikipedia says:

“In the performance arts rhythm is the timing of events on a human scale; of musical sounds and silences, of the steps of a dance, or the meter of spoken language and poetry.”

Let’s say instead of a steady rhythm like so:

1, 2, 3, 4

You have..


Sorry, I fell on my keyboard..

Anyway, look at that string of numbers!

Completely inconsistent.

Most people already possess the ability to detect rhythm naturally, so I won’t go into too much detail.

How To Write Music – Why Are There So Many Letters!?

Moving on. In music, there are also patterns. Let’s just bring back those numbers real quick. In this instance, we’ll be using actual sets of notes in a pattern.

1, 2, 3, 4 – 1, 2, 3, 4

That’s a pattern.

Here’s the equivalent in musical notes:

C, D, E, F – C, D, E, F

Another example (This is The beginning of Beethoven’s Fur Elise again. “Db” is D-Sharp)

E, Db, E, Db, E, B, D, C, A, C, E, A, B, D, F, B, C, A

E, Db, E, Db, E, B, D, C, A, C, E, A, B, E, C, B, A

That’s a really long example.. The difference between this pattern and my crappy one above it, is that Beethoven changes the transition at the end of the second set.

Anyway, patterns are really easy to create. Go back into Mario Paint Composer, start a new song, and begin plotting notes. Incorporate a rhythm (for example: maybe plot one note, skip, plot another note, etc.)

Create a 2-section pattern. Have it repeat itself or change it up at the end like Beethoven.

Hit play and listen to it. Like before, it might not sound great yet… We’re getting there.

We’ll go much more in depth into creating bad-*** tunes later in the Boot-camp.

How To Write Music – The Overall Structure Is Form

The last thing I wanted to touch on today is Form. You know how a song has to have rhythm and patterns? The most important part of the structure of music is its form.

I’ll do a quick, crappy example of a complete song… In numbers.

Pattern 1: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 5

Pattern 2: 6, 7, 8, 9, 6, 7, 8, 10

Song with form: Pattern 1, Pattern 2, Pattern 1

This is my signature 3-Movement form.

“What the heck is going on here?”

Don’t panic… Pattern 1 just repeats itself. Pattern 2 is what’s called the crescendo, and then Pattern 1 comes back to finish the piece.

Another popular form, in Pop music, is:

(P# stands for pattern)

P1 (Hook), P2 (Lead-in), P3 (Chorus), P4 (Instrumental), P3, P5 (Finale).

To conclude, form is the overall structure of a song. Each genre of music has its standards.

Got it?

Here’s your assignment for today:

Play around with Mario Paint Composer. Compose a tune with 2 patterns and use a 3-Movement form (p1, p2, p1).

This is really just scratching the surface of How to Write Music. Next time we’ll be diving head-first into Melodies, Chords, Scales, and whatever else I feel we need to discuss.

Overview/Summary of this Lesson:

You learned a little about Rhythm.
Patterns are sets of notes.
The Form of a song is the arrangement of patterns.
I’m really bad a teaching.
Anyhow, as always, thanks for reading!
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