Composition: First Steps

In my previous post, I wrote a bit about the conventions of western music and my desire to compose music which doesn’t follow an equal-tempered scale. Well I’ve had a bit of a go at doing this.


In composing this piece, I didn’t throw every convention out the window. I started by setting myself the goal of composing 8 bars of 4/4 music for two voices, one being the melody and one the accompaniment. I decided to make the accompaniment follow a fairly standard Alberti bass, but using just intervals. I stuck to a major triad in most bars, even when the convention would be to use a minor triad. I then composed the melody line, trying to make it fit nicely with the accompaniment. Of course when I say “fit nicely” I mean that I used just intervals once again. Where needed, I adjusted the frequency in the accompaniment slightly to make the frequency ratios slightly nicer. Beyond that, I pretty much went with what sounded nice to me and I made sure to finish with a perfect cadence for good measure.

I realise that by choosing a melody which sounds nice to me, my melody will be influenced by my own training in conventional western music, but I had to start somewhere, didn’t I?

Download: Synthesised Audio File

Creative Commons License
First Steps by Joshua D Bartlett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. By downloading it, you are agreeing to this license. Click here to download the audio file (400kB zipped .mp3).

Download: Synthesiser Source Code

To generate the synthesised audio file above, I wrote a Python program. This program is licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public License. By downloading it, you are agreeing to both this license and the license described above, which the work of art itself is licensed under. You will need Python in order to run the program. Click here to download the source code (18kB .tar.gz).

I’ll make a note of any updates I make to this piece, or any more compositions I make along the same lines on this page.

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