68

There are composers like Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart out there today--you just haven't looked hard enough. On YouTube, I've found Shuwen Zhang, who has some Asiatic and ragtime influences in his music but otherwise composes somewhat like Chopin. He nails the classical musical forms, and he's written some of the most memorable scherzos I've ever heard. On ...


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 ...


30

There are. Beethoven pushed musical boundaries a bit in his later career, but mostly he wrote accessible music that people enjoyed listening to - he HAD to, in order to make a living! Today's musical craftsmen feed the film and TV markets more than the concert hall perhaps, but their job is not to challenge or disturb TOO much (and many of them COULD turn ...


30

I believe two factors are at play here: The democratisation of music The proliferation of genre The Democratisation of Music In its day, classical music was tied in to the main influence structures of society: nobility, and the church. This meant that classical composers who made it in the day were akin to Michael Jackson or The Beatles today. Becoming a ...


28

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. ...


23

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 ...


20

Out with the old, in with the new. Seeing just how huge the amount of progress of each of the schools of western music has had, you as a 21-century composer are not going to compose contrapuntal piano music to the standard that Bach or Handel did. You may, on the other hand, become a master in a new modern style that has not yet have three-and-a-half ...


17

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 ...


16

Define "like classical music"... Classical music itself has moved on, via Stravinsky, Debussy, Britten, Glass and so on. There are wider influences available today than Beethoven had, partly by virtue of wider cultural range, but also simply by the passage of time and the work done by successive composers. Even your examples show the history involved. ...


15

Many composers have modified their works. A few selected examples (an exhaustive list would fill a book): Bach often re-used his own pieces Mozart also re-used his own pieces, for example turning his oboe concerto (K314) into an flute concerto by transposing it up a whole tone. Bruckner modified several of his symphonies after the first performances ...


14

These are great questions. BIG questions, but great nonetheless. How so works get performed? There is an old composition adage: first you write for yourself, then you write for your friends, then you write for others. This basically sums it up. If your friends trust you and you do a good job, they'll keep playing your stuff. If you're lucky enough, ...


13

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 motif development. This is a long list, but you can chose just a couple ...


13

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 ...


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

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 (...


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

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 ...


10

Because they need to make money. There are a lot of people who compose music like that, they just can't make as prolific a career out of it as those from the past. There are many studios who hire people to compose cinematic music for movies, games, commercials, etcetera. They are studios such as Two Steps From Hell, Epic Scores, City of the Fallen, X-...


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, ...


9

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 ...


8

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


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.


7

I'd like to expand a bit on guidot's point. That answer points out that publication was not historically a major goal for many major composers, particularly before ca. 1800. However, if we look to this part of the question: after their works are already openly performed in public concert halls or theaters? As long as we allow typical performance venues ...


6

If you are an Indian and want to appreciate Bach's works, an Indian composer called Ilaiyaraja has drawn a parallel between Preludium in E by Bach and a carnatic raga in his composition "I met Bach in my house" from the album How to Name It. This should give you a new direction to think and understand them from your cultural background. Update: The whole ...


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