How do you compose the original tunes?

For the ones who participate in the Original Tunes competitions, or are composers,
how do you compose the tunes?
how much do you know about music theory?
how do you know to what chords use?
do you use some pattern of how the tune has to go (ej ABBA)?
what programs do you use?
and how do you dissect the tunes of others to learn from them?

I wouldn’t say I could give the best advice about this but I can share with you my process. I started playing guitar 5-6 years ago and like playing little bits of a bunch of songs. In that process I was able to figure out what sounded good such as chords which played well together. I looked up a few things as time went on to try to get a better grasp of how things worked. As for original compositions, I only started writing my own music about 1 year ago. Some of my projects turned out well where others not so great. My first program I used for computer music was something named guitar pro, I had a ton of fun trying to wrap my head around that program and ended up making a few cool projects. Time passed and I decided to look into other programs to try out. Secondly I tried something named soundtrap. In the free trial period I was able to make a project there which was pretty fun and easy to use. Thirdly, I bought a copy of fruity loops studio. Or fl studio. So far I have only made 2 tracks. The first one not so great but I was fairly happy with my second attempt. If I was to choose any of those 3 I would use fl studio. It is kind of expensive but it has a lot of options. It is also in my opinion pretty complex however there are many tutorials for it. I do believe all those programs come with a trial version of you wanted to check them out. As for my process of writing the music, I find myself humming a song in my mind sometimes which I generally composes into a song. I find sometimes I forget some of the things I’m humming so I recently decided to record my humming so I wouldn’t forget some of my song ideas. Last month I picked up a midi keyboard. I have no knowledge of playing piano, however as I played around with it I was able to devise a few things which sounded good in my opinion. I don’t recall many of the videos I watched, however the most recent video I seen I found interesting if your seeking music theory tutorials. The persons name is Andrew Huang. The video specifically is (Learn music theory in half an hour) The vidéo can be found on YouTube. I hope some of this information is helpful to you and you receive more suggestions and advice about this subject. Good luck and don’t get discouraged!

I’ve been participating in these Gametabs tunes for something like 7 years now, and while my tools and particular approach has evolved tons during the time, the general approach hasn’t. Naturally the points below apply to me personally, the answers will be very different from everyone.

General approach:
In almost every case I start by testing out and noodling with my guitar until I find some kind of a rhythm/pattern or string of melody to use as the core inspiration. Half of the time I’m also thinking of some song/theme that already exists that has the same kind of atmosphere that I want to achieve to act as a very vague guideline in the beginning.

Theory:
On theory I’m fairly novice and would probably fail any test put in front of me. I probably do some smart things right by accident, but as mentioned before, I’ve been dabbling at this for many years already.

Chords:
My choices of chord progressions often rely on what I remember to work (having learned and played pop/rock/whatever songs) plus trial & error. Understanding this through theory would be quite useful for myself I can imagine. I’ll get to it any day now! Tomorrow, or the day after!

Often I don’t think about the chords at all, but try to find the most atmospheric combination of notes that still somehow works together. Chaos until it isn’t, don’t take notes from me.

Pattern:
Varies from piece to piece, but there are a few considerations I have when it comes to sections. For one I try to retain some common elements (rhythmical or melodic) between sections to remind the listener that this indeed is still the same song. And especially in this context (game music) the ending should naturally resolve back towards the initial key so that we have a loop that isn’t too shocking as it goes around.

Software:
Reaper as my DAW, and a few paid VST instruments (bass, cheapish full orchestra, drums and a synth) and some free stuff I look up as I need it.

Most of the time I just laze out, record two guitars and slap some reverb on top as I’m a bit clumsy and slow with MIDI.

Dissecting others:
I don’t. I just listen to all the entries a few times in row imagining the scenes and make my decisions based on how well it connected to the original theme in my mind. Everyone has their own approaches and tools, and there are plenty of things I can find to improve in my workflow, composing and playing while analyzing my own stuff.

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