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Ever composed an epic?

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(@azraeldrah)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Topic starter  

Just wondering if anyone here has written a rock epic? You know the type of song i mean, at least 6 minutes long with a whole array of rhythm changes and probably three instrumental breaks?

I ask because i've been given a challenge to turn the legacy of kain series of games into 5 epic songs (been told they have to be at least 9mins each). if anyone's written a piece like that can you tell me how you managed to stay sane... and how you managed to, safely, controll the shear amount of ideas streaming into your head?

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(@undercat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Well, I'd say you probably should record all of those ideas; and then really think critically about both the larger, overall structure, and then how to intelligently break it down to see if you can use those ideas.

Keep in mind both the interest of the individual parts and the arc of the whole piece. Vary all instruments quite a bit. There should be parts with both clean and dirty guitar parts, places where the drums cut out or do simple percussion as well as places where things are getting extremely intense.

Focus on melody, as no single rhythm lick has the potential to fuel a song for that length of time, organize it into themes, etc.

It might also help to beef up your own listening too, spend some time both with classical symphonies and modern rock epics to see what separates the songs that are just long, from the ones that take you on an emotional journey.

Good luck.

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(@shinzou)
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I think a good example would be the song "Art of Life" composed by the legendary japanese band X Japan. Its 28 minutes long! It mixes together different emotions and styles to create a rock epic/opera feel. With styles like heavy metal, classical and pop all in one. It may be to intense and different for American listeners but, i recomend listening to that song. Other examples from the same band can be, Kurenai or Silent Jealousy which are much shorter in length.

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(@sweet-chan)
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Shinzou - that was the first song that came to my mind too ^-^


   
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(@noteboat)
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The number of ideas might be a problem rather than a solution - most long pieces don't really have much thematic material; they get the length by variation and contrast. Instead of your typical AABA form, you've got A1-A2-A1-B1-A3-B2-A1-C-A2 etc.

I'd pull apart a symphonic work or two. You'll find plenty of study material, and single movements - akin to epic rock tunes - are often in the time range you need.

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(@azraeldrah)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Topic starter  

thanks for the help guys. i was thinkin about studying a few sypmhonies and things really hard. wasnt sure whether it would actually help or not, i like classical music alot, i've just not actually studied it... off i go to listen to some bach and beethoven! :P

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(@dsparling)
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The number of ideas might be a problem rather than a solution - most long pieces don't really have much thematic material; they get the length by variation and contrast. Instead of your typical AABA form, you've got A1-A2-A1-B1-A3-B2-A1-C-A2 etc.

I'd pull apart a symphonic work or two. You'll find plenty of study material, and single movements - akin to epic rock tunes - are often in the time range you need.

That's a great idea. You might also pick up a book on music "Form and Analysis" and/or "Sonata form" (or google it).

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(@crank-n-jam)
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Doesn't Rush also have some of those very long songs? More recently, I believe Tool also has some songs which seem to go on for ages. :wink:

Neat stuff though. Good luck!

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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(@steve-0)
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I've always considered Stairway to Heaven and November Rain to be "epics" because of the length and texture of the songs.

I don't have much experience but contrast is the key: you can take one melody and change rhythm, dynamics, add harmonies switch instruments, etc and you have lots of options so don't think you have to compose a million ideas to put in one song, you can start with a small idea and go with it.

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(@azraeldrah)
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Topic starter  

i know variety would be the key... im more concerned with stayin at a relative level of sanity.

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(@demoetc)
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Listen to Close To The Edge; that's pretty epic.

And You And I is pretty long too, broken up into, I guess, 'movements.' Both of them are.


   
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(@metaellihead)
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I've composed this 8 minute wank fest of a guitar peice that sounds middle easternish. It's incredibly easy, I just play it really fast.

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(@paul-donnelly)
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"Eruption", by Focus, is a sort of an instrumental epic (around twenty minutes long), and Coheed and Cambria's "2113" always sounds epic to me (~10 minutes).


   
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(@scrogdog)
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Doesn't Rush also have some of those very long songs?

Um... yes. 8)

The whole first side of 2112. End even better.. at the end of Farewell to Kings there was a song called Cygnus X-1. It's about a guy who escapes the problems of his planet in a space ship, but then gets captured by a black hole. Then end of the song has Geddy screaming "my mind is torn apart!" - and the words on the album simply say "continued next album".

Heh. My friends and I were blown away. lol.

The first side of the next album "Hemispheres" tells what happens. I'd say that's fairly epic. :)

On second thought, that was the old days of concept albums and those examples probably don't qualify as a single song. They still had some long ones though... By-Tor and the Snow Dog, Xanadu and Natural Science come to mind.


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
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One of the great epics: Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding) by Elton John.

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