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Compose Music

Musical composition is a great outlet for creative people who know or are learning to play a musical instrument. While composing music can be a self learned topic, there are many great tips and hints that can help you on your journey.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Musical Composition resources. We have a Musical Composition forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with composing how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Musical Composition books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Intro


Music is food for the soul and learning to compose music, as a hobby can be extremely satisfying no matter what type of music you are interested in. While there is no set rule about how you compose music, you nevertheless have to know how to write music and basic music theory.


Whether you dream of becoming a Beethoven or a Schubert, or composing for the movies or Television, you will need to know how it is done.




Composing Music – Do You Need An Instrument?


You can choose to learn to compose music with or without an instrument. Beethoven, for example preferred to compose at his piano while some others formed the music in their heads and found that it was more effective. Although both methods have their distinct advantages, the main issue is what suits you best.




Benefits Of Composing At An Instrument


The great thing about composing at an instrument is you are in immediate touch with the sounds, enabling you shape the sounds and tweak the style. It also helps organize the music you know right away how it sounds. With an instrument, the improvisation skills can also be greatly developed. Probably the main disadvantage of this method is when the composer cannot play the instrument - though this can be overcome by having someone play it from sheet music.




Composing Away From The Instrument


There are plenty of composers who write their music away from their instrument because they believe they will get better ideas and therefore make better music. Take Bach and Mozart for instance; these great musicians used paper to write their music and make changes. Musicians who compose away from the instrument also believe that it helps them concentrate on the music without being distracted by their customary moves on the instrument and worrying about playing it well. Also composing away from the instruments enables the composer to do it in a location of choice, which means he or she could be walking through the woods or just be watching traffic when the ideas occur to them.




The best way to find out which method works for you will come through experimenting with both. You could also choose to use both methods to compose – since there is no restriction on how you come up with your ideas!




What Do You Need To Know In Terms Of Music?


You will benefit greatly by learning music theory to compose music. There are plenty of books available that teach this. You will need to learn all about chords scales and notes so that you can get a better perception of music. It is important to practice constantly and try to compose small pieces of music and experiment with it by varying it. Here is a list of what you ought to be practicing and improvising with:




• Rhythm, rests, phrasing, note values


• Chords, arpeggios, sequences


• Techniques unique to specific instruments


• Scales – major, minor, pentatonic, diatonic, diminished


• The timber of various instruments and special qualities of each


While you don’t become an expert at all of it overnight, learning it over time will certainly help you express yourself much better through your music.




Getting Inspired To Compose Music?


That’s a question that most aspiring composers get stuck with – while the ideas flow for some, for others, it could turn out to be a minor block. So how does one look for inspiration? It is important to be sensitive to everything that is around you and find inspiration in your life. A good idea is to have your pen and paper handy and also a recording device if possible so that you can save the thought.




You will find that your own experiences and feelings often inspire you – which is why people get lyrical when they are happy and start humming. Emotions can also be a good source for musical compositions and the composer puts passion into it. Music provides a wonderful outlet for expression and emotion. Some writing skills can also help you put these feelings into words.




Ideas that appeal in general are to do with love and spirituality. Some people love soothing music that helps them relax and you could use this as the basic theme. Listening to a lot of music can help with inspiring you as well. It will also teach you various techniques that you can introduce into your composition. One way to get close to composing music is attending live concerts, discussions with musicians and being open to a variety of music. Expose yourself to the music of different nationalities as this can help you strike a chord with a particular style. Budding composers also tend to compose music around their favorite poems and artwork.




Experimenting with different types of music can also help with learning how to compose music and coming up with fresh ideas.




Composing For TV And Films


You could also be aspiring to become famous by composing music for TV and films. Experts advise a good knowledge of the keyboard or the piano since knowing to play an instrument can help in a big way since you can listen to the pitch and notes as you compose. Musical notations are another area to get familiar with and these days you have excellent software programs that will do it for you. Needless to say you will need basic harmonic knowledge so that you know all about how chord sequences sound. The unique thing about composing for films and TV is you do it based on a storyboard where you know what will happen in each scene, or by watching the film so that different ideas can be tried. You can decide on various instruments that will suit the theme and different parts of the film so that you can arrive at the orchestration. The same piece of music played on different instruments can create different moods.




What About Courses On Learning To Compose Music?


Universities have classes that help you learn to compose so that you can learn the various techniques and mistakes to avoid. You could also think of a GCSE and A level music, after which you could study music at the university or a private college. Talk to lots of people who are in the field and who knows, you might get your lucky break there.




This information is just to get you inspired to get you started on your hobby of learning to compose music. You will find more tips, instructional videos, excellent books and useful links around the web so that you can get an in depth knowledge of this subject. Composing music is quite a challenging hobby but if you put in adequate practice and become committed to it, you will be well on your way to becoming the next Vivaldi!