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The power of repetition

Repetition is powerful. Especially when it comes to musical composition. In a previous article on how to compose music randomly, we created a short musical phrase. We were using a randomly generated sequence of notes. This melody line was created with the help of a random number generator. As you could see, that method worked rather easily and effectively. But where to go from there? The answer is obvious: repeat it!

Repeat your stuff

repeated bird pattern
Now if we simply repeat this below phrase, our piece will look like this:
the power of repetition - melody part 01
repeated melody part 02
However, if we do so, we end up with an untied end. It’s what people usually call a musical question. And it’s a question both in the melody line and in the chord progression. What can we do with it, to make it more pleasant and resolved to listen to? Well, we can do as little as changing one note and one chord. Here’s how it looks like after we make those changes:
repetition - melody resolved - part 01
repetition - melody resolved - part 02
Now it sounds better already, doesn’t it? Yup. But why stop there? Especially when we can really tailor it to our taste. Let’s change the entire last bar, and add one more chord, so we get this:
repetition - last bar changed - part 01
repetition - last bar changed - part 02
If you would like to play these chords on your guitar, I encourage you to do so. What?! Ahh, you need the grips, hey? Well, I used the same shapes I did in the previous article, with the additional G11/F:
repetition - chord shapes
G11/F guitar chord

It works like a charm

As you can see, repetition is a very powerful musical device. With it you can finish whatever incomplete idea you have come up with. But (and there’s always a “but”) you’re not supposed to use it passively. Never forget that you are the creator. You are the composer who chooses what to do and when to do it. You also choose the amount of freedom you give yourself, whenever you attempt to create something new.

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