Sounds Like Music

Blog about making digital music by Robert Dawson

Xmess album update

Updated tracks:

  1. Auld Lang Syne Wave
  2. Awake In a Manger
  3. Deck the Walls
  4. The Second Noel
  5. Go Yell It on a Mountain
  6. Harking and Heralding
  7. Jingle Swells
  8. Joy to the Worlds
  9. O Come All Ye Fateful
  10. Unholy Midnight
  11. Silent Flight
  12. We Wish You a Merry Xmess

My Xmess album

I've decided on a working title and a list of songs for my Christmas album. I'm calling it, appropriately, Xmess.

Here is the list of songs, all of which, except the first, remain to be renamed.

  1. Angels We Have Heard Are High
  2. Auld Lang Syne
  3. Away In a Manger
  4. Deck the Halls
  5. The First Noel
  6. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  7. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  8. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  9. Jingle Bells
  10. Joy to the World
  11. O Come All Ye Faithful
  12. O Holy Night
  13. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  14. Silent Night
  15. We Three Kings
  16. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Notes from Music Composition For Dummies

While in Barnes & Noble recently, I ran across a great book that intuitively organizes and easily explains music composition, appropriately entitled Music Composition For Dummies. I've looked at several books in this series and have been let down by their quality, but this one is superb, the best I've been. It covers lots about music theory and composition and brings it down to earth for those without much prior musical knowledge. Highly recommended.

It was so good that I couldn't wait to buy it before diving in and taking notes. These cover the first two chapters if I recall.


1. Choose a mood.

  • Fear
  • Anticipation
  • Sorrow
  • Anger
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Compassion
  • Surprise
  • Tenderness
  • Anxiety

2. Tell a story.

Tempo (and bpm) 

  • Largo 40-60
  • Larghetto 60-66
  • Adagio 66-76
  • Andante 76-108
  • Allegro 108-168
  • Presto 168-200


  • Beats per measure
  • Notes per beat (time signature)

Syncopation - putting strong accent on normally weak note 

Rhythmic phrases - sections of rhythm

Tip: Find rhythm in everyday language. 

Musical framework - duration of musical section; amount of time to secure listener's attention

Motif - smallest melodic idea

Melodic phrase - 4+ measures, usually with pauses 

Period - complete melodic idea; usually 4, 8, or 16 measures

Spice up phrases with:

  • Rhythmic displacement
  • Truncation
  • Expansion

Think of conflict and resolution (i.e., a story).

Parts of the story

  • Statement
  • Development
  • Departure
  • Resolution (or Recapitulation)

The scale governs tonality. Chords are made up of notes in a given scale.

Christmas album

Just in time for Christmas 2011, I'm making a Christmas album!

You will hear such songs as: 

  • Jingle Bell Punk Rock
  • Silent Night with Crickets
  • Rudolph the Wounded Reindeer
  • Frosty the Snowcone
  • Here Comes Satan Claus
  • I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus
  • The Little Dubstep Boy
  • White Hooded Christmas
  • Joy to the First World
  • The Second Noel
  • And one more!

Don't wait. Order your CD today!

I seriously have no idea what any of these will sound like. The goal is to learn how to make digital music.