32

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 ...


29

In short, the German musical tradition (largely based upon Beethoven's towering presence) is one that prioritizes thematic development. Beethoven was known, for instances, for sometimes introducing and developing new themes in his codas! This propensity for thematic development was not necessarily shared by the composers in the Italian and French traditions....


28

A piano/keyboard with its usual 88 notes covers the range of most other instruments put together. A lot of instruments have a range of two or three octaves only. A lot of instruments can (usually) only play one note at a time, whereas keys are capable of many. So, someone who is writing music for several instruments has it all covered with piano/keyboard. ...


27

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 ...


26

I'd say 2. is likely the closest, but it may just be as simple as personal taste. You're just not that used to hearing it and as you say, there's no emotion associated with it. I doubt I'd be capable of appreciating the subtle nuances and emotions in Indian Raga and I can't imagine such a melody stirring any great emotion in me. We have sounds and ...


22

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 ...


16

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 ...


16

The list above is a great start. I'll add a few names below, but first let me speak to the technical question. There are a few basic techniques that characterize so-called minimalism in music. Not every minimalist or post-minimalist uses all these, and a number of composers who used to be called minimalists have changed style dramatically over the years, but ...


12

There are a lot of different kinds of Minimalisms, so my first suggestion would be to explore a bunch of different composers with extremely open ears: Philip Glass - Personally, my favorite work is his opera Einstein on the Beach, but his string quartets are also great, and the piano etudes can be a nice introduction. His work tends to still operate within ...


12

One situation where you might have to be careful from a legal point of view is when the piece of music you're copying has already been released under some legal agreement with one organisation, and you're writing music to be released under a different agreement with a different organisation. There's no point going into specifics, as laws vary by territory, ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


11

I write rock music, but I also write classical music. One set of techniques that classical composers use to create better melodies also allows you to start with a simple idea and create something much larger. I use these techniques to write rock music. This set of techniques is called motive development. This is a long list, but you can chose just a couple ...


11

As a composer myself, I tell non-musicians that I'm a Professional Composer, it's just the easiest way to describe it. Here's the thing, very, very few composers throughout history were able to make a living solely off writing music. Even now, there are a only a handful of composers in the US who are able to do this. JS Bach worked for 4 different churches,...


10

For some reason, Bach is better appreciated by learned musicians. Talking to any well-trained musician who plays a lot of Bach, you will realize that it is fully possible to make an emotional connection with the music. In fact, I would argue that Bach alone has written the very most inspirational music, ever. Here's why: Bach was a genius. As user Widor (...


10

Yes. The term for such music is polytonality. Keep in mind that polytonality may not necessarily apply to the entire composition. It would not be un-common for a composition to have only parts which are polytonal. Many polytonal works will be from the early 20th century. You will see some of the composer names in the wiki article: Stravinsky, Bartok, ...


8

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

This is indeed a very itchy question: It is obviously quite difficult for contemporaries to compose like Haydn or Mozart without appearing to be mere imitators - or worse: just nasty forgers! Unfortunately, there are indeed quite a lot of strange examples for the latter: Remember the counterfeits made by the famous violonist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) who ...


8

Yes, this is a common phenomenon. I think this happens to everyone who writes music, regardless of style. If you're writing in Common Practice style specifically, then I think you'll find it very hard to come up with a theme that doesn't sound like you're ripping off some other composer. That's because Common Practice rules are very restrictive and ...


7

Question: Would Beethoven and Chopin sound as good played on guitar? Answer: Probably not. I think this captures what is going on - J.S. Bach wrote his keyboard pieces primarily for the harpsichord. I have heard Bach played on the harpsichord many times and it's absolutely wonderful. Last week I heard a skillful pianist play one Bach's pieces on the ...


7

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) ...


7

Composers may use a dashed/dotted/broken slur or phrase mark when it's optional (for example, when lyrics are irregular, as user25358 attests). It may also be used to indicate a hemiola, for example where a 3/4 bar should be treated as 6/8. That could be the case in bars 2-3 of your excerpt. Editors may use a dashed/dotted/broken slur to indicate editorial ...


7

Because on a piano you can try out single-note melodies, block chords, broken chords, polyphonic musical lines... and all at once, over a wide range. A composer CAN get along without keyboard skills, but it's hard work. Particularly if he's composing the sort of music that will end up on paper as notation for other musicians to play.


6

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, ...


6

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 ...


6

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 ...


6

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 ...


6

Hmmm. I think maybe you're over complicating things. I would just call them a composer, and that is how I've seen it written for every professional, whether it's on a website or a piece of sheet music or a news article. I would think their resume and biography would be the context clues to impart your meaning. Though if someone else has a better name I'd ...


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