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Topic: "Why Do You Compose?"

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  1. #1

    Question "Why Do You Compose?"

    So I was just wondering, "Why do you compose music, how did you get started, and as a composer, what are your goals?" Thank you for sharing.
    ~Rodney

  2. #2

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    I've been making music since I was 5 - piano lessons, singing, theory, history, ear-training, harmony (yes, my parents were rather intense), I was in a music-specialization high school. It was always my intention to become a concert pianist.

    Along the way, my piano teacher at the time, asked all of her students to write a short variation on a popular children's folksong (the same one I used in my "little sonata" for piano 4-hands). I wrote three variations. And I was hooked. I loved writing. So I found myself composition teachers. I specialized in composition in college, then university, then graduate studies. I've always found ways to have lessons with composers and conductors I admire.

    I don't know "why" I compose. I don't see a reason to find any answer to that, other than "because I like it, because I think I have something to express".

    But my whole life has lead me to 45 years of music-making, and the last 30 of those composing.

    I don't take composition "lightly". I don't think of it as a hobby. Which is probably why I spend so much time with my nose buried in theory texts, constantly "upgrading" and perfecting my craft. If I don't take it seriously, then why do it.

    I think, over time, that I've developed a musical language that is relatively unique to me, identifiable as "my music".

    I've invested the many long years learning my craft. Now I put them to use. Hopefully, along the way, performers care enough for what I do to perform my music.

  3. #3

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    Why I compose? I am too young to decompose!!! For the rest, see Gccowboy's message, just about the same biography as mine.

    Raymond

  4. #4
    Senior Member Silh's Avatar
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    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    My parents, on the other hand, were not really musical, so never got any lessons ... ended up mostly self taught, with smidgeons of theory from school choir. However, music seems to be in my blood... dad's side, I think, since he has an ear for music even if not educated in it. Always loved picking music apart, whatever scores I could get my hands on, from some really well worn hymnals, to orchestral scores from the university library when I got there.

    When inspiration comes, notes pop into my head... and I can't stop it. And when it isn't there, well... nothing happens. :/

    I know I've still got some cassette tapes stashed away somewhere with tunes I hummed or whistled as a kid...
    -- Matt Wong

  5. #5

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    Because I like putting sounds together, and to me musical instruments are sound-making things, putting them in the same category as anything else that makes a sound.

    I started "making sounds" as a pre-schooler, writing pieces on the piano. Later, piano lessons weren't of much help - my teacher just wanted to hear what I'd written that week. She would sit there, wide-eyed with enthusiasm, giving me lots of applause and praise. Well, it's nice to be appreciated, but it's not always the best motivator. I never learned to play piano music more than adequately, and was bored trying to learn anything that had already been written. I only wanted to play my own music, so that's what I did, and still do.

    In Junior High I was part of a "gifted children" group that was sent to the local University to be taught by a professor there. He listened to one of my pieces and said, "Fine, you understand Western Harmony, now let's move on." He then tried to instill in me and the rest of the small class a love for Musique Concrete. His compositions were done with a reel-to-reel tape deck and a razor blade, using bits and pieces he recorded off the radio. For me, as much as I liked "putting sounds together"--his compositions were just boring, random noise. I lost interest and stopped going to the classes.

    I've never composed a symphony, or a sonata, or anything in any of the classical forms, and probably never will. For the most part, my relationship with music has been an instinctual thing, so studiously emulating classical forms has never interested me.

    I became more "serious" about writing music ever since I had an experience early on of seeing music in the air. I saw it as dancing swatches of color, maybe something like the more abstract sections of Disney's "Fantasia." It made me realize that music is the sound of creation made audible, and as such, is just as critical to our life as the air we breathe.

    Working with music puts us in a self induced hynpotic trance, and has effects similar to taking drugs - thus one reason people inclined to write music keep doing it - the experience is just too pleasant to not return to over and over.

    A general goal is simply to write music that is generally enjoyed. I've never been interested in writing for other composers and musicians who have tastes beyond those of the general public. I feel much music is written in an ivory tower vacuum, too academic, and to me, mostly uninteresting. I don't think the audience for music needs to have any special understanding or training in music to enjoy it. And so it doesn't matter to me in the least that I work with old-fashioned concepts, and that I'm primarily melody oriented. I have no interest in emulating modern styles that I don't enjoy listening to, so I leave atonal cacophony to the small, academic group that likes that sort of thing.

    And so, like anyone who writes music, I do it because I have to.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    I guess it must be in the blood as well. I didn't really know my dad (divorced parents at 4yrs, moved to different state etc)
    It was only years later as an adult and after I was teaching piano for several years I found out my father played piano, loved jazz & blues and also his mother was a piano teacher. Must run in the genes.

    I started piano rather late I suppose, about 10. I progressed quickly though and had a great teacher who could improvise with so much skill and ease. It sparked my own love of improvisation, I can sit there and just lose myself for hours. I never thought of it as composing and never wrote anything down. It was a keyboard magazine article I read that got me thinking. The editor was talking about "noodling" at the piano and how that was actually composing and how we should capture those moments.
    That was a turning point.

    When I was the local ballet school accompanist for a few years, I got sick of playing the same few pieces for the beginners to dance to so I started composing some new ones instead. So these two events got the ball rolling and it's been that way ever since.

    These days most of my compositions are for piano students. Studies, short pieces etc and music for inclusion in piano exam syllabuses. I "dapple" in composing music across a lot of genres. Love jazz, blues, classical, film and weird sounds using VST effects. All music is a joy for me.

    I write because, like all of you, I must. It my life, it's what I do and what makes me who I am. I really can't imagine my life without music.

    Yvonne
    yjoh

    Music... A Joy For Life.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    So I was just wondering, Wife kick started me in the ACE!
    "Why do you compose music, Don't know about the rest of you but I am decomposing
    how did you get started, It's all Garritans fault!
    and as a composer, what are your goals?" my goals are to be the best goaltender in the league

    Thank you for sharing.
    ~Rodney
    Now, seriously? There are many to many great new composers on this forum for me to even think about it.
    Styxx

  8. #8

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    I am enjoying reading all of the responses. I feel as though I am truly getting to know all of you.
    ~Rodney

  9. #9

    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    I am enjoying reading all of the responses. I feel as though I am truly getting to know all of you.
    ~Rodney
    You have no idea

    Raymond

  10. #10
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: "Why Do You Compose?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    You have no idea

    Raymond
    You can say that again!

    You have no idea
    You can say that again!

    You have no idea

    THE MAN'S NUTS .... GRAB 'EM!
    Styxx

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