Author Topic: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?  (Read 1573 times)

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July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« on: July 08, 2020, 03:29:10 AM »
I thought it would be interesting to find out what role composition plays for each member of the forum. I know there are some who compose for a living, some might be hobbyists, and for others composition might be part of another musical career. So, why do you compose?


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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 07:15:41 AM »
Composition for me is an adjunct to my Oboe playing. 

I find a synergy between the two.  When I sit in the orchestra I have the luxury of hearing the different orchestration(s) in real time as well as the different sonorities within the performance.

So I consider myself an accomplished amateur oboist and a novice composer.  In both roles it is done for pleasure as well as for the hope of a performance. (It has happened).

I don't know if I could compose on demand. 



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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 05:25:37 PM »
Composition for me is a way to exorcise the harmonies, rhythms, and melodies from my brain that would otherwise drive me completely crazy.

I could and would not compose for a living; it's too personal to me and I cannot separate myself from the art. I've taken exactly one paid commission and I hated every moment of it. I have gotten paid after the fact as a prize reward, but it was not the impetus for the composition itself.

I would classify myself primarily as a part-time professional musician (I perform concerts and have enough paid gigs to really mess up my taxes) and an experienced composer. I have a day job that keeps me comfortable (and insured) and I have the luxury of taking gigs when it suits my availability.
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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2020, 06:43:08 PM »
It is a means of expressing/translating what remains etched from a lifetime exposure to a unique set of musical experiences. In that sense it is a means of knowing myself, perhaps.

I don't have a music related career or job.


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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2020, 02:24:58 PM »
Interesting question. For me, composing is a natural behavior, ever since I started composing at age 13. Ever since then, composing has seemed as natural as eating and sleeping. It's been something that I just do. Through good times and bad, music-related jobs or not, composing has always been there.

I think often about why I started composing, and what caused me to do so. I can't figure that out. Makes one think about cosmic forces, destiny, and other unfathomable thoughts.

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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2020, 04:25:31 PM »
Once upon a time (the early 1970s) I was music director for a theatre company, where I wrote incidental music and music for songs that were used in plays. So I guess that made me for a while a "professional composer."
Since then I write for fun. It's satisfying to start from nothing and create something that sounds like music.
And as I'm a jazz pianist, every solo is a new composition.
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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 03:26:34 AM »
For me, composition is something of a hobby. But I like to think of it as a lot more. I hope one day that what I write will be sung and enjoyed in congregations, and that some of my other music might be performed. I don't know why I started composing at around 10 years old. At the time, I had received no formal instruction in music. I thought it might be interesting to share something I began about then and never finished. There's no need to say that there's everything wrong with it. But when I dug it up, I was pleasantly surprised that I like some of the ideas.

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Re: July, 2020: What is Composition to You?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2020, 12:45:37 PM »
Hmm.  Thought provoking.  I'm not a musician - I'm a retired computer programmer/analyst - but as far back as middle school (called "jr. high school" back then) I was trying to scribble down musical ideas that came to me.  Fast-forward 50-some years, I retired from IT, discovered notation software, and then had assistance in my scribbling.  After another year or two (with the prompting / insistence of members of this forum) I found a teacher / tutor to help instill some music theory, and have been working with him for the past 10 years or so.

At one level, I compose because I get musical ideas and want to do something with them.  That's for composing in general.  That drive has been with me all my life.   But it's not limited to music.  It had a parallel in my IT career, too.  Regardless of what official work I was given, I would see something that needed to be done and would work on it (usually) in my spare time until I had a solution to whatever was bugging me.  I seem to have a creative urge.

At another level, my teacher asks "What do you want to do next?" or suggests "Maybe it's time to try a fugue again".  That's for composing a specific piece.   But it my creative urge doesn't necessarily obey orders well.  Given "write a fugue", out comes "Little Suite for Wind Quintet".   So a piece gets written because I'm wasting my teacher's time if I'm not working on something.   A specific piece gets written because it wants to be written (or so it seems to me).