(The next installment of this series is here
.)*In a rented hall in Hempstead, a comely elf sets up a slate, laying out chalk on a table. The hall holds a few dozen people of varying ages, from children to the elderly. The elf carefully writes "Therise Silverstar" in both Common and Elven characters, then turns to face the group, brushing chalk dust off her hands and smiling*
I'm glad you're here - now let's begin
You're here to learn some composition
It's not a game that you can win
But part of the bardic tradition.
You needn't be a master bard
To write a song that's nice to hear
Just learn some rules; it's not too hard
To find notes pleasing to the ear.
You'll need a quill, with which to write,
Paper too, to hold your song
I'll start you on that path tonight
And you'll be writing 'fore too long!
* * * *
*The scene grinds to a halt, as if a mage cast a Time Stop spell, and the same elf steps out from the side of the room, this time wearing a t-shirt with Ilsare's image
on it. She smiles cheerily at the fourth wall, and waves.*
Hi folks! I'm Therise. Darkstorme had this idea for a segment where - for the benefit of those who haven't had any (or much) formal music training - someone could explain the basics of songwriting, composition, and the history/theory behind music. I'm the only Bard he personally knows, so... *she shrugs*. The reason all this winds up in the Roleplaying forum is because this will give bards and other in-game songsters a chance to write their music down, and let others experience it as well! Also on the plus side, I get to speak to you all normally - no rhymes! I also get to know a bunch of anachronistic things.
First of all, this is western notation - specifically, the notation employed primarily in the US and Canada. I'll try to mention other notation systems and musical traditions when I can, but my own expertise derives from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Or a bard academy on Voltrex, take your pick. I'm also not going to say that the notation I'm describing here is the same employed in the world of Layonara - it might not be, and I'm not going out on a limb - I don't want to get retconned! *she shivers*
Courtesy of being out of character, I also know about the Internet... which is good, because today's theory lesson is just about the tools we'll be using. These guys *she gestures over her shoulder at the frozen classroom* will be using quill and parchment. And while that was good enough for Mozart, we can do a little bit better these days. Say hello to Musescore
. It's available for all platforms - Windows, Linux, or Mac - and the source is available too, for anyone who has a particularly... unique... setup. It is also free, and can readily compete with Finale as a notation program.
The advantages here are several: first, it means that I can provide you with lessons that you'll be able to download and play with on your own machine. You won't need any staff paper, pencils, or erasers. And - something that cannot be emphasized enough as a benefit - you'll be able to listen to everything you write, without even having to learn an instrument! I would also highly recommend picking up a soundfont
. These give MuseScore more of an "orchestra" to work with, and give you a much better sense of what your composition would sound like if performed. Myself, I prefer the Fluid Soundfont
So, go ahead, download and install it. That'll get you set up for next week's lesson. And I'll even provide a bonus! Attached to this post will be a little lullabye I've been working on. It's not done yet, but it'll give you an idea of what this software can do.
If you have any questions, leave them in this thread, and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities - hopefully, enough people will be interested that we can make this a fun learning experience. And now, I've got to dash - the spell keeping everything frozen's about to wear off, and I can't be seen with me! Next week - notes, and basic notation! *she blows a kiss, and vanishes 'offscreen' just as motion resumes*
* * * * **The elven bard leading the class smiles as the students start packing up*
Now put your quills and ink away
We're done, at least tonight.
But one short week after today
We'll start on how to write!