Best Ways to Compose music


Steal / Take Inspiration

Before you start calling me out for suggesting to steal, hear me out. 'Stealing' isn't even acknowledged as a bad thing in the world of composing. Composers, even some of the famous ones, are seen to be copying tunes more often than not. It's not a crime to take inspiration from other talented folks if you're willing to put your own spin on it. If you simply copy paste the work of others, you are morally and, at times, legally responsible for plagiarism. But, the best way to learn and improve is to copy others and improve on their tunes.

Written by Marcus Collins
2 months ago

Strike a balance between predictability and unpredictability

If you are playing a common tune that everyone knows, then they think 'Yes, I know this', and get bored and zone out. If you are playing something entirely new and unpredictable, they think 'I have no idea what is happening' and zone out again. So, create a balance and to keep your audience's attention on the music, mix predictability with unpredictability. When you are trying to figure out whether your music works or not, think it like this - "Did I get lost or bored while listening to this?" If you did, do it again till you find the balance.

Written by Penny Gaines
1 month ago

The creative cycle

Composing music takes a lot of time when you are a beginner and when you are working on the same piece for a long time, it becomes difficult to keep tabs on what it is going to be and what you will achieve from it. To create something out of nothing, you need a plan of attack and the creative cycle is that plan.

The Creative Cycle

1.    Plan - Set your parameters

2.    Create - Start working on it

3.    Reflect - How did you do and what will you change next time?

4.    Repeat! - Do it again.

Every time you sit to compose music, take a moment to plan what you are going to compose today. Write it down in your journal to keep track of the progress. Then do it. Once, you are done, do not see it for at least a day. Review what you have made after a while and based on that, make a new plan for the next day.

Written by Karen Williamson
8 months ago

Don't get stuck in major and minor tonalities

We culturally agree that major tones are always “happy” while minor tones are “sad.” But if this was the case, then they would evoke different emotional responses when you hear them. Setting a box on tonalities just oversimplifies the idea and is rather widely flexible in practice. So, set your own tonality and think of it as composing your own scales that you have created for a specific purpose.

Written by Maxwell Hudson
8 months ago

There is a time to create, and a time to criticize

Most of the time you are not able to create something new is because you are criticizing what you came up with while you are creating it. Give yourself some time to think of nice and new ideas. You cannot create anything while continuously criticizing it. So, do it in parts. When you are creating something, shut your critical brain off and work on just composing. Now, take a break and then start editing and criticizing. Be the most ruthless criticizer and learn what you can do right. Now, that you know what needs to be changed, do it.

Written by Curtis Zimmerman
8 months ago

Explore extremes

All instruments have extreme sides, but they are not meant to be used every day. If you want to create drama and tension, ditch the middle ground and explore the extremes. Try something that goes really quietly and really slowly and then moves to the other extreme and explode. Keep tension and release a constant part of the music if you are composing something long.

Written by Ricardo Hickman
6 months ago

Don't let bar lines push you around

It is common for freshers to dive right into composing through programs like Finale or Sibelius. These programs provide many free features to jump start your process, but it also makes you rigid in your creativity. A blank page on these programs has bars or measure lines. They serve a purpose and you need to fit your composition in those lines. But as a beginner, that kills your creativity.

Instead, use a pen and paper and compose with your hand. Forget about bar lines and strict rhythms and just get the free-flowing music idea down to the paper. Do this exercise for some time and then move to computers and bar lines.

Written by Linda Mckinney
6 months ago

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