How to compose using other techniques

  • Record a short musical phrase or spoken word extract - use the software programme to repeat the phrase many times. Copy the original phrase onto a second track. Make this second phrase slightly longer or shorter, using the software’s time stretching tools or delete a tiny portion of the second track. Copy this track many times. Listen to how this track, along with the original, 'go in and out of' phase with each other. Modify and edit the tracks until you arrive at a composition that you are happy with.
  • Reversing sounds – most sequencing and audio editing software offers the capability to reverse sounds. Reversing vocal and guitar sounds can be effective starting points. Use these to add layers of texture to a composition.
  • Collage – even before the Beatles were collaging snippets of fairground organ for their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album (1967), composers such as Charles Ives and Igor Stravinsky were creating similar effects using standard orchestral procedures. Listening to the works of Aphex Twin or Radio Boy shows how these techniques have been used more recently. Musicians take a collection of sounds on a theme and weave these sounds together in musically satisfying and interesting combinations.