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Topic: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

  1. #1

    How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    Just wanted to ask how long does everyone spend composing at a time (in a day) and how often do you compose? Myself, when I am not sidetracked with the outer forces of the world :P, I usually spend at least 8 hours a day when I am not focused on my game project (LOE). During the 8 hours I just practice and listen. I have hundreds of just named files or takes of pieces which I did not use. When I find what I am wanting to do, then I will basically focus on that piece all day with repetitive listening and creation.



  2. #2

    Re: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    I usually spend anywhere from 10 minutes a day to 10 hours a day of actual composing. Really. Much of my motivation is knowing when to stop and when to police myself back to the computer/keyboard. The 10-minute deal occurs when I'm just busy with other things or I'm in a slump and feeling crummy about a piece, or ruminating on where to go with a piece I'm working on. I don't compose fast. The 10 hours a day stints usually come from my being tremendously excited about something I'm working on. More often, I spent time between those extremes.

    In a biography on Richard Rodgers (one of my idols), the author said that Hammerstein would get terribly frustrated with Rodgers. Hammerstein would slave over lyrics. He'd present them to Rodgers, and in 20 minutes, Rodgers would have the song done! Aaaaarrrrggh!

    Arthur J. Michaels

    Finale 2000 through 2014.5 (currently using 2014.5)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.2
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ellendale, ND

    Re: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    My composing is extremely varied. More often than not a musical idea forms in my head quite on its own. From that point on it takes form and by the time I am ready to get it on the staff is three to four hours. It is the orchestration with samples that drives me crazy and takes hours. I have never mastered and probably never will master the complexities of electronic renditions. Shoot, I can't even get my music into a DAW leave alone actually use it.

  4. #4

    Re: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    Just wanted to ask how long does everyone spend composing at a time (in a day) and how often do you compose?...
    It's a great topic for a thread, Richard.

    I can tell you honestly in answer to "how often do you compose"--Not nearly enough! I want to make it a meaningful New Year's Resolution to compose more. I hardly write anymore at all. But right now, how much time in a day do I spend?-- Usually none! I do have a major non-music project these days which is my full time pursuit, but even so, I want to vow to write more, because I know it's still one of my most gratifying means of expression.


  5. #5

    Re: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    It really depends.. but if I had to boil it down to something approaching an average, I'd say a couple of hours, twice a week - for myself.

    When someone calls, or there's a deadline approaching, then it's suddenly a fulltime job.

    Right now, I am working on an oratorio of sorts, but it's been one of those "when I feel inspired, have the time, and nothing else is pressing" items that I finally decided needs to be nearer the top or it will never get done! So for my New Year's resolution, I have decided that it will be at least roughed in by summer.

    That is, unless something else comes along.

    Kevin F..

    KM Frye- (SOCAN)
    Music Director- Four Seasons Musical Theatre- 2016

    Bella Vista Studios

    GPO4, JABB3, Garritan World Inst, REAPER, Roland VS2480 DAW

  6. #6

    Re: How often and how long does everyone spend composing?

    I too agree with much of what has already been said. There are times when an idea develops well in advance of actual notating it. In those rare cases, it is only a few hours from starting to compose to having an acceptable piece scored. I have even had pieces come to me in my dreams and finish them upon waking and writing the next day.

    Yet, more often than not, it is the long haul develop, listen, rework and rework again and again. This process usually takes me a week or more to get to where I will work with it in a DAW. I have had some pieces take me well into months of thought and work to develop to my satisfaction.

    I don't believe you can set a specific timeline that will work for everything you write. The best approach is much like a writer's approach to writing a novel. Take the time to write on a regular basis. Don't just write when you have the urge. Write something for practice. Take a group of notes and develop them into a motive and then a theme. Work contrapuntally on a line of music. Twist it, turn it, stretch it and whatever else you can think of and see where it takes you.

    Of course, if you are doing this for a living than you have to work every day at it and produce as much as you can. But, as for me it is a fun part of my life and creation of something no one else has heard before is awe inspiring to me. I write when I can and I take as much time as the piece will present to me in order to make sense of the sounds I have decided to work with.

    Then going to DAW and making a presentable electronic rendition of the piece is an entirely different area for discussion.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


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