Hello Composers, Mike here! Do you want to learn how to compose romantic music? Music that has a character of: Beauty, Love, Arousing and Heartwarming. Music suitable for a romantic scene in a movie, TV series, or video game.
I have made a list of practical tips which I consider to be some of the most important aspects of romantic music. Let’s listen to some live examples first. Get ready for some sweet romance! =)
Mikael Baggström – Gentle Wind of Hearts
I imaged a young man who is finally getting his chance to show his love for the women of his dreams. Meeting her on a picnic in a beautiful forest in the glorious evening daylight. The grass is soft, the wind is gentle, and the light dances around the beautiful woman in a perfect romantic atmosphere.
The main instruments I focused on were a lush string arrangement, soft gentle oboe and flute, and extra shimmer from harp, pizzicato strings, rhythmic short strings and glockenspiel. The composition is a fairly slow and gentle piece in 90 BPM. And I wrote it in A major, because I wanted that blissful, delightful tone.
David Olofson – Meditation By The Lake
This piece has a very lovely, soft and intimate atmosphere. The focus on woodwinds, lots of strong vibrato, and sweeping arcs in dynamics truly bring out the passion in the music. It even has a sense of mystery and wonder.
David’s description: A lake in the forest, surface still like a mirror. Someone is meditating over lost love and events in the past, and eventually finds some insight and new hope. A simple piece for a few violins and violas, cello, double bass, flute, alto flute, clarinet, oboe, and a touch of english horn, bassoon, and glockenspiel.
Eric Tynan Young – A Country Courtship
A very down to earth and sweet composition, taking you back to a calmer way of life. Like a light breeze in the wind, this music truly creates the perfect atmosphere to a romantic setting.
Eric’s description: 19th Century English Countryside. A shy young farmer attends a spring festival where he meets a woman who he can only dream of attracting. Terrified but determined, he asks if he might be included on her dance card. She accepts.
David Michael Tardy – Dear Beloved
A beautiful and intimate composition with lush moving string harmonies, supported by a very emotional and passionate melody. I also enjoyed the backing choirs and light rhythm coming in halfway into the piece.
David’s description: My intention for this piece was to capture the emotion of hand writing a letter to the love of your life, expressing your deepest feeling for that person. The notes and chords being the words of the letter.
How to write Romantic Music
I want to give you my personal practical tips for writing romantic music, regardless of style. These are, what I consider, fundamental guidelines.
Tip 1 – Gentle Sounds
What do I mean by gentle sounds? Well, to me these are sounds that are rich in tone and texture, but that sweep gently over you. Delicate strings, and dreamy woodwinds come to mind.
Avoid sharp, piercing sounds, and make sure you play your instruments in a gentler way. Don’t jump around with intervals and harmonies. In fact, try to keep the voice leading very smooth to keep to romantic flow.
Tip 2 – Romantic Vibrato
Romantic vibrato is in fact a term using in music. Because using a strong vibrato truly adds passion and emotion into your music. And it’s basically mandatory to use vibrato in romantic music.
Romantic music will not only have stronger vibrato, but also vibrato present during more parts of the music. Instead of only choosing strong vibrato on a few selected sustained notes, you can often go between medium and string vibrato, and rarely have no vibrato.
Tip 3 – Passionate Sounds
A lush string arrangement is a foundation of romantic music. And if you want a more classic romantic vibe, you can’t beat a saxophone. A soft piano is also excellent for setting the mood in romantic music.
The kind of sounds you use of course depends on what kind of romantic setting you compose music for. But as a general guidelines, any instruments you use will mainly play longer notes, with smooth legato transitions.
Tip 4 – Shimmering & Dreamy
Romantic music can also have a sense of happiness and joy. Like the uplifting energy you get in movies when the camera slowly moves up in perspective, and the strings crescendo into a sense of “happily ever after”.
There is this light aspect of love, a feeling of being on clouds. You can use dreamy sounds like pads, sordino strings etc. to accent this feeling.
You can also add shimmering sounds in the high range such as pizzicatos, harp, mallets, glockenspiel, high violins etc. to add even more light and uplifting emotion.
Tip 5 – Legato over Rhythm
While arpeggios and plucky sounds can be used to add that light, shimmering aspect of romantic music. Rhythm and percussion is generally very minimal.
Instead your focus will mainly be longer notes with smooth transitions. Playing most notes as legato, and keeping the intervals for the leading melody and voice leading for chords and harmonies closer. Your aim is a more lyrical sound, which is basically like singing. Your music, even though it is instrumental, should sing of passion. That to me, is romantic music.
Now take Action!
Compose Romantic Music
I always recommend you to take action, to learn from doing, experimenting, and creating. So go ahead and compose a new track in the style of “Romantic Music”. Good luck, and have fun composing music with a focus on Beauty, Love, Arousing and Heartwarming! =)
My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist, video creator, coffee lover, and true nerd…
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