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Topic: How many composers

  1. #1

    Question How many composers

    question??? How many people write music for someone else to play as a percentage of all musicians?

  2. #2

    Re: How many composers

    Quote Originally Posted by taylorchandler
    question??? How many people write music for someone else to play as a percentage of all musicians?
    I'm not sure I quite understand the essence of your question. The ratio of composers to musicians is already a very, very small number.

    Tell us a bit more about what you're thinking -- you might be onto something.

  3. #3

    Re: How many composers

    If you mean do I write music to give to other musicians as opposed to playing it myself, I certainly do that.

    I try to avoid subjecting people to my awful performing "abilities." It just rude.


  4. #4

    Re: How many composers

    Just curious about what the percentage of musicians would be that compose music for someone else to play. My performance abilities were ok until I broke both wrists in a fall. Now with the associated arthritis as a performer I am hopeless.
    I have failed so far in my research to find out how many composers to players there are as an average in western tonal music. In Africa there aren't any composers that write it down,,,,oral tradition,,,,same in other cultures, India, Polynesian, American Indian.....
    I have posed this question to ASCAP they answered vaguely due to their charter is only for members in the U.S. and put the number at around 3% +/- 5%. with active composers even less. I guess I don't know where to look next. Any Ideas would be helpful.

  5. #5

    Re: How many composers

    I never heard of John Williams or Leonard Bernstein performing. Perhaps they were able to, but that's not what they did. They composed and conducted. It seems to me there are gobs and gobs of good musicians around and very few good composers. I wouldn't think a composer would need to be able to perform.

    Aren't most pop songs written by songwriters who are not performers?

    --gary shannon
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  6. #6

    Re: How many composers

    Quote Originally Posted by fiziwig
    I never heard of John Williams or Leonard Bernstein performing.
    I remember watching a concert in the Vienna Konzerthaus where he played a Beethoven piano trio before conducting a Bruckner symphony.

    I think it helps for composing to at last have been very good on an instrument since this can take people to another state of musicianship in general. But of course it is no must, just can be helpful.
    All your strings belong to me!

  7. #7

    Re: How many composers

    Pretty much everything I write is for other people to perform.

    I hate performing.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  8. #8

    Re: How many composers

    Composers that are not performers is a relatively new phenomenon. Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, and just about everyone until the very recent 20th century were well-respected performers and often premiered their own works on their instrument.

    Conducting is actually considered performing.

    On the flip side some composers probably shouldn't have performed. I have heard Debussy was not a very good pianist, on the flip side Ravel is considered one of the greatest pianists ever. Rachmaninoff could certainly play the hell out of his own stuff, but he himself noted that Horowitz played it best.

    A lot of Universities and almost all conservatories require composers to be proficient performers with their degree... both undergrad and masters. I don't think doctorate it is focused on as much, but always recommended.

    John Williams first major job was pianist in either the NBC or CBS orchestra. I can't remember which. Plus he was a noted conductor when he still did it.

    Do YOU have to be able to perform to be a great composer? Not at all. Will you get more performances if you can play your own stuff? Absolutely.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: How many composers

    The more experience and knowledge you have about all aspects of music, the better a composer you'll be. This includes performance (both as a soloist, in ensembles, and conducting) - but it's not a requirement.

    Being the world's greatest pianist, flautist, or tuba player doesn't help you that much if you're writing a piece for viola and percussion ensemble.

    Berlioz was a guitarist. Hindemith, a violist. They certainly didn't limit themselves to writing only for their own instruments.

    Write music that people want to hear, performers want to play, and conductors want to conduct, and you'll be fine.

    What were you concerned about that caused you to ask the question in the first place?

    - k
    "An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them."

    - Andy Warhol

  10. #10

    Re: How many composers

    well, I have consciously decided that I will not perform any of my own works.
    I don't mind performing someone else's, but my preference is to NOT perform my own music.. unless it's as a conductor.

    I'm a rather more-than-fair pianist, so it's not a lack of ability.
    I'd just rather sit back and enjoy the performance, listening to someone else play my music.

    Of course, this could ALSO be why I hate writing for the piano.

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