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24

As a composer, you mostly end up writing for instruments that you yourself don't play. Apart from Hindemith, it is fairly impossible to maintain a high level of proficiency on every instrument - there just isn't that much time and it is not feasible. However, that does not excuse having a working knowledge of the instrument. Though it might seem silly to ...


22

Listen to as much music as possible in as many styles as possible and force yourself to listen to music that you aren't familiar with or even don't like. You can't progress from a point of no reference. Like when you learn to speak, you learn vocabulary from practice and by emulating others. Then, after you've built up a broad vocabulary, you can start to ...


19

But there are rhythms, harmonies and melodies in nature. When you walk, you establish a nice solid beat. Two beats to the bar, at its most basic level - but by adjusting your gait or the way you count, you can think of it as four beats, or three, or as many as you like. Skipping brings in different rhythms. The musical intervals that make up melodies are ...


9

When asked about how "masterworks" are created, Nadia Boulanger, a French composition pedagogue during the 20th century, had this to say: "I can tell whether a piece is well-made or not, and I believe that there are conditions without which masterpieces cannot be achieved, but I also believe that what defines a masterpiece cannot be pinned down. I ...


8

jjmusicnotes' answer is a good answer, and I'd like to make a special plea for the percussion section. I know many musicians don't have much time for percussionists, but as a composer the section can be your ally. It can keep the ensemble together (whether there's a conductor or not); it can give you a lot of support for dynamic changes; and it can help make ...


6

Just like in the visual arts, this ability comes with development of the imagination. Imagination can work with any of the senses. Perfumers imagine scents. Chefs imagine tastes and textures and aromas. Musicians imagine music. The time element is the only real difference between audile imagination (or audiation), and these other, more static images. One ...


6

In addition to tptcat's nice answer: Besides just listening to music you could try and copy music for yourself -- record it or write it down. This will force you to observe all the details of the music you are listening to. And when you've copied a song (as best you can), think about what riffs, pieces, melodies, or ideas there are (that you could have made) ...


5

Harmony is king, learn to write music 'improvising', 'rehearsing' on a real instrument. contrary to @tptcat I don't write music on paper. And I don't think it can be easy for a drummer that don't play a multi-tonal instrument (strings or keys). Harmony is the fact of putting several notes together. For example, managing a bass line and one line of melody, ...


5

Did Xenakis compose music intended for settings where other art forms were an integral part? Certainly. Look up Polytope de Cluny and Persépolis for a start (8 track electroacoustic works with light show). The question of his intentions is thorny and I do not wish to speculate about them. However, you can find in Formalized Music a description of Duel, a ...


5

What I Think Music isn't some kind of mystical half-random thing that is beyond all understanding; it has its rules and regulations --and in some ways, more structural restrictions than other art forms. It can and usually should be somewhat predictable and, really, there are only a few combinations of rhythms out there --it's all about how you put them ...


4

As has been said, music probably originated from imitation of the rhythms of walking, breathing, the melodies of speaking, bird song, etc. etc. Nowadays a lot of music is quite far from that. It's been abstracted and certain laws of music have been found. For example notes close to each other (in any way, like by frequency, time, timbre...) sound like they ...


3

I am a computer programmer and an electronic music artist, so I have a different view of music from what everyone described here. Writing a song is a lot like writing a program for me. When writing a computer program, I start out knowing what I want the program to do and having to decide how I want to get it to do that. The best way to do this is to think ...


3

First thing I literally HAVE to say: Learning an instrument you're writing for is not just for emotional/spiritual/warm-fuzzy-feeling reasons ("eg I have learned to play flute and now my flute and I are one, wandering the earth as band geek ascetics" [I do not play flute; that was just an example]) --there are many practical and educational reasons behind ...


3

You don't have to learn to play the instrument, but you should definately learn about the instrument and it's possibilities and limitations! If you don't learn about the instrument you run the risk of writing music that is technically unnecessarily difficult, or impossible, to play. For example: making bad keys selections; writing note sequences that ...


3

I'm not sure if anyone has actually pinned down the date or composer. Searches on Google or Trombone History books don't yield very much. According to a quote from one link I found: Its first deliberate use in performance is fairly recent in the long history of the trombone, and its acceptance as a legitimate technique came somewhat later. Also: ...


3

The two best-known and oft-performed works by Smetana: My Country (cz: Má Vlast): it is really a suite of tone poems which can themselves be performed independently. Of these, the most well-known is The Moldau, which is a pictorial description of the Moldau river (cz: Vltava) that runs through Prague. The only other of them with which I have familiarity is ...


2

It's easier to identify Chopin, since he developed a very personal style. For example, if there is strong chromaticism, it's probably Chopin. But it should be noted that, toward the end of his life, Beethoven too started composing in a more chromatic manner. Listen to the Adagio of op. 106 or the Arioso in op. 110. It doesn't seem like Beethoven at all: it's ...


2

Another potentially helpful way to compose: Take a look at different forms that are used in classical music, and use those as a guide for your own music. For example, take ternary form: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ternary_form where the pattern is A-B-A. Create an interesting melody A, then maybe perform a key change to a new melody B, then come back to ...


2

In Germany, typically GEMA https://www.gema.de/en/ collects and distributes the fees. Rules and regulations are rather complicated. If you perform and it's typically a good idea to have a contract with the venue and to make sure the contract clearly states who is on the hook for that type of thing.


2

In UK there are two bodies that collect on behalf of musicians - PRS - performing rights society, and PPL- phonographic perfomance limited.Both have pretty complex remits, too much so for revealing here, but have the power to charge people for performing songs , or playing songs, e.g. on radios, in public.In 2009 a shelf-stacker was pursued because she was ...


2

I believe compositions are generated out of the experiences of one's life. Live you life to the fullest, rest will come chasing you. Let your feeling guide you for a while you will see the difference. Importantly always appreciate your composition if it comes out of your life experiences and the feeling that came within you going through that. Finally, ...


2

Try to sing one of your favourite songs out of key. Then sing it in key. Ask yourself - what makes it work. Change a few bars of your favorite song and see what you get. Dont worry if you destroy it in the process. Just add on a few bars of your own and keep going. Try to learn how to improvise? Ask yourself what works for you (not me)? Try this ...


2

It's thought that Beethoven would think up a sentence or phrase, write notes that matched the rhythm and inflection, and use that as a motif for a piece. He never told anyone what the phrase was, with two exceptions where he printed it in the published music: "Le - be - wohl" in the sonata for piano opus 81a, and "Muss es sein? Es muss sein!" in a string ...


2

The music is from the overture of The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini.


2

I don't have enough rep to write a comment. These are very subjective questions that you are asking. Composers will very from one to the next. When I write music or mess around I don't worry about picking an easy or hard key (especially because transposing instruments may get a messy key even if I pick a nice one for C instruments). I play around in a key ...


2

Most pieces will have a 'home key' or 'home chord'. It's often the first one that's heard, and usually the last, too.This establishes a place where the listener seems to understand is 'home'.Each key has a certain number of sharps OR flats - rarely not both - so this establishes the key of the piece. As one learns scales, one realises that certain notes fit ...


1

In the days of the Brill Building there was a phrase "writing sideways" That was, starting with an existing song / melody / theme and changing it piece by piece until it was something new. Sometimes when I'm stuck I'll go to a period that isn't related to what I'm trying to write - for modern pop music I'll listen to Debussy / Ravel. For more "formal" art ...


1

Speech is made up of two parts: words, that contain the logical content, and melody, that contains the emotional content. Consider any spoken phrase; by changing the melody, the infliction and stress, the meaning changes, just as it can be changed by changing the words. Thus music is relevant to us in our speech, and we are exposed to this music every day.


1

This quote is attributed to at least half a dozen people and I really believe answers your question for 90% of the cases. "Good artists borrow; great artists steal." In the case of music, to me this means that musicians get their ideas by starting with something they heard from other musicians. In music, this is definately true because you hear the same ...


1

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I am not giving legal advice. These matters are generally covered by international laws and treaties that go back 100 years or so, but laws vary in different nations and locations. My comments are based on what I know about the music business in the USA. Answer: Musicians are generally not responsible for paying license ...



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