I don't know how on other SEs question-series are started, so I thought simply to ask in meta. I want to start a series . Wikipedia does not fill this gap; for example, the article on country music does not speak of the prevalence of root-fifth bass lines.

The questions will take this form:

Nth in the installment of "How do I compose in the style of," this question is meant to serve as a reference guide for how to compose in the style of x music. Answers should assume a typical band/setup [think electronic genres]. There should also be particulars on how to compose for specific instrument/role, likewise, and likewise in said genre.

For example, a non-serious example concerning country music:

...There should also be particulars on how to compose for the bass (upright or electric) part.

...Bass: For an upright, forget about the bow. It is generally good practice on electric to do away with most pedals other than compressor or EQ. For the most part, either play a quarter-note root-fifth alternating pattern ("stepping out of the way" of the snare drum) or a walking line. One common trope for leading into a section, especially in an intro, is an eighth-note walk from the fifth of the relative major scale up to the root, which can be heard here in...

  • 4
    I'm skeptical. It seems both too broad and too opinion-based. Maybe if you specified a specific example of the genre? "What attributes define country songs in the style of Waylon Jennings?"
    – Aaron
    Oct 7, 2020 at 0:55
  • @Aaron Opinion-based I don't concede, because there are definitely trends that one can point to and say "that's punk" or "that's djent." Broad, however, has a better point. What would unbroaden it? Perhaps making it per-instrument to narrow it; say, a series of "How to compose for [instrument] for country music?"? Oct 7, 2020 at 1:21
  • 4
    I'd say "in the style of band/artist" is a much better focus than "in the style of genre". Even then, my gut doesn't like feel of "how to compose" questions. Too much artistry, not enough objectivity. Oct 7, 2020 at 3:45
  • Would "idiomatically" make it better? Mandolin-style tremolo picking is not idiomatic to a pedal steel. Oct 7, 2020 at 3:46
  • And I'll try "in the style of artist." Oct 7, 2020 at 3:47
  • 1
    Stumbled onto this: Is there a formula/theory for writing country licks/riffs?
    – Aaron
    Oct 10, 2020 at 2:13
  • I found another today. So, FYI, I'll just keep updating my answer as they turn up.
    – Aaron
    Oct 11, 2020 at 3:54
  • Looks like someone beat you to it on the Country music front: Country music elements
    – Aaron
    Oct 20, 2020 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


EDIT: For Country music, a question already exists: Country music elements

There are at least a handful of questions along these lines already, or in a related vein. You might take a look at how they're written and the kinds of answers and comments they garner as a guide to how best to go about things.

NOTE: I found the first linked question while browsing, and the others subsequently by searching "[genre] is:question"

EDIT(S): Here are others you'll want to know about.


I think if the answers are done well, these kinds of questions and answers could be very informative. I don't necessarily see a problem with objectivity, as long as the 'x' you are talking about is well-defined enough for people to have a shared understanding of what you mean. For example, 'techno' to one person might mean something very different than to another person. If you can solve that problem, then shared devices and patterns should be possible to identify with as much objectivity as one can expect on a music site.

A good answer would probably have to be quite concise and pack a lot of value in an SO-length answer. I don't doubt that it's possible to do well - the question would be could people actually manage it? I'd be interested to see someone try.

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