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how much music have you writen in your lifetime?

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I haven't written very much, but am only 15 so here goes:

Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor (only the first movement was finished out of a planned 2)

Unfinished Sonata for piano in F minor (only the first three movements were completed out of a planned 4).

Three Reveries for Piano

Fugue in Ab Major

Rhapsody in D minor (This was my earliest work that I really laboured on. I played it in a local competition).

Grande Sonata for Piano in C# minor (I'm working on this now and I really like it. I've finished the Scherzo and am almost done the first movement. I've also almost completed sketching the third movement (slow)).

I love modern music, but don't know enough to write atonally. My most advanced works use a lot of heavy chromaticism akin to early Schoenberg which I have studied (Violin Sonata in Eminor and Fugue in Ab Major).

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Well, I've written less then thirty works which I've kept.

My most favorite of them are....

Adagio for string orchestra in D major, op. 3

'Summer' (a little piece for violin and piano,) op. 4

Prelude for solo violia, op. 19

'Musings' for solo violin, op. 20

Newer pieces that I haven't figured out there opus numbers because I'm lazy....

Adagio 'Love Song' for string trio

Wow, I've written a decent amount of stuff this year, and it is getting better, I'll go figure out what I've written and the opus numbers, and then I'll post again.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest QcCowboy

if you want an amusing comparison:

Compare the total number of works that Samuel Barber wrote in his life time with the complete catalogues of either Alan Hovhaness or Heitor Villa Lobos. The former has a catalogue where the opus numbers end in the 40's. The latter both have works listed as being in the hundreds (Hovhaness hs a symphony listed as "opus 360").

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I have done a lot of motives, that have not been actually put together for creating a piece.

I have done a small ensemble piece [Woodwinds and Strings] - it was really very bad, so Juji recommened me to re-write it for piano, which I have.

I have written a Concert Band piece.

too many unfinished pieces and that is about it.

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Hmmm... Solo Violin Partita, Little Adagio for Violin, Violin Sonata (one movement), Piano Sonata (two movements), short Orchestral Tone Poem, A set of short pieces for piano, an Adagio for Strings (incomplete) and an Orchestral Overture (Incomplete, and I'm going to throw it away anyway.)

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I'm almost 16, and here's what I've got :

about 5 peices for various jazz ensembles

2 orchestral overtures

5 or so overtures for concert band

about 10-15 short (2-3 minute) fugues for violin/ clarinet quartet

2 piano impromptus

the beginning of 2 different symphonies.

lots of various rock/pop songs that I have done when I was bored.

and so, so, so many ideas, unfinished works, 1 minute melodies, you wouldn't believe.

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As yet... nothing completed. I haven't actually received much tuition on composition, but that will change this coming year, and GCSE coursework will have to be done.

Though I am working on quite a lot (but as I say, nothing completed).

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  • 1 year later...

I could have sworn there was a different thread to address this, but... here goes:

Last November I started a project to catalogue all my works. I knew it was a daunting prospect - I'd tried many times in the past and failed - but I had no idea it was going to be so horrendous. By the time I got about halfway through, I became dismayed with the large volume of juvenilia, curiosities and incomplete works I encountered, and as is my wont I started getting really emotional and fearful about it; fearful that I was not as capable and prolific as I thought I was, and fearful that once I knew what I had, I would finally have to do something with it all. I procrastinated and delayed for nearly a year, and finally this week I managed to get over the hump and finish it.

Summary of 37 years of work -

Completed Works: 74

Viable Incomplete Works: 53

Juvenilia and Curiosities (Complete and Incomplete): 151

Total: 278 Titles

Unassignable Sketches and Fragments: 10 pounds (4.55 kg) in a stack 7 inches (17.78 cm) tall

All in all, not as bad a turnout as I thought. This is a body of work to be proud of, I think, if I do say so - particularly considering that for most of the last 25 years I've worked both a day job and a career in music 6 to 7 days a week. The question still remains, though: what do I do now? I hope it won't take another year to figure that out.

Without further ado...

Catalogue of Completed Works:

Chamber Music


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if you want an amusing comparison:

Compare the total number of works that Samuel Barber wrote in his life time with the complete catalogues of either Alan Hovhaness or Heitor Villa Lobos. The former has a catalogue where the opus numbers end in the 40's. The latter both have works listed as being in the hundreds (Hovhaness hs a symphony listed as "opus 360").

Hell, what about Milhaud? His opus numbers end somewhere around 442. :blink:

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I've set myself the goal of composing 30 minutes' worth of music per year.

So far, I'm on schedule, although most of this year's work I haven't yet posted on YC.

I've only included 2007 and 2008 in this catalogue, as 2006 is full of rather more immature stuff (maybe excepting the Konzertstuk).

Music Written Annually.

Goal: 30 minutes of finished pieces per year.


Violin concerto first movement. 12:30

'To Autumn' song on Keats. ~6 minutes

Brass Overture. 7:30

March in A (Piccolo trumpet (A) & pianoforte). 1:20

Music for two cornets & pianoforte duo. ~6 minutes

[sonatine for bass trombone & pianoforte – several minutes.]

Various composition homeworks.

Rough total: 33 minutes.


Piano sonata slow movement. 2:30

Mirage for violoncello solo. ~4 minutes

Overture for piano. 2 minutes


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I have a catologue of about 20 pieces I actually admit to writing and that are a good representation of myself. Recently, I have considered cutting that down to fewer as it includes pieces that while are complete, I wouldn't consider a good representation of where my music is going. Interesting point, though, one of my earliest pieces written is included in this current catalogue.

But in all, I have hundreds of completed pieces and hundreds more of exercises and uncompleted pieces. I have been composing legitimately since 3rd grade, so that is a long time to build a library (and I still have those earliest pieces with teachers' remarks!). I have binders and binders and folders of completed pieces and sketches. Often, I will go back to these sketches written a decade or more ago and make a new piece out of it in my current way of writing.

I have so many 90-minute cassette tapes of myself playing my own music that I have lost track (and they are out of date anyway).

I have three current 80-minute CDs full of my own music, too, that I give to people who are curious.

There are a few videos of myself and orchestras playing my music on a shelf somewhere, and a few performances that were never recorded, which all I have is my memory.

My output has slowed tremendously, but the output is much better and more mature, too.

I try to write two pieces at a time, never more, and never one piece at a time. This results in about two completed pieces per year in decent length.

Now, if I could just have an excuse to write moreand do more with it again, but life has taken over briefly and I have made some curious decisions, so it's only my own fault.

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if you want an amusing comparison:

Compare the total number of works that Samuel Barber wrote in his life time with the complete catalogues of either Alan Hovhaness or Heitor Villa Lobos. The former has a catalogue where the opus numbers end in the 40's. The latter both have works listed as being in the hundreds (Hovhaness hs a symphony listed as "opus 360").

Or take Var

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Graham - compared to you the size of my output sofar is Webernian (or even varese-like).

Completed acceptable works to date-


Volcano for organ (just under 4')

Mozart Variation ( 30- 40")


"Sail On" - Soprano and piano, text adapted from British Isle folksong

"Kyrie" - baritone solo and choir.

SOLO (non keyboard)

"Intro and Variations for Clarinet" (oohh a whopping 6')

"Wraithes for Clarinet" (2')


"Patter(n) Recognition" - duo for violins (2')


Fugue in F minor (in progress)

Oh, I have tons of sketches or incomplete works - piano and harp duo, an adaption of some of the text for Pierrot poem for mezzo and soprano (this piece I'd love to rework when I have time), a movement of a woodwind quintet, a large scale 2 movement piano work which sorely needs to be recycled or revised, and a ton of other chamber music stuff and a little juvenalia ( I threw out most of the stuff several years ago).

Right now my goal is simple - to convincely produce a beginning, middle and end with just the right amount of ideas -- even IF thre result is only a sketch. In the past many of my sketches would be motivic and developmental material for 3 - 6 pieces!

PS. I will also add not so much a work but a pedagogical project - teaching and promoting the value and beauty of 16th century counterpoint. I have said it ad nauseum but this skill has been one of the biggest aides in improving my craft. And I can always use the 'exercises" as warm-ups or alternates to composition.

Also, I am learning figured bass systemically - using Handel's exercises - plus all the organ study and piano accompanying.

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Theme and Oscillations for Brass, Percussion, and Organ - 8'

Children's Games and the Loss of Naivete for Woodwind Sextet - 6'30''

Battle for Bloody Marsh (not yet orchestrated) - 7'

Insights into Transience for Clarinet, Strings, and Percussion - 15'

Insights into Transience for Trumpet and Piano - 9'

Almost Like the Rain for Vibraphone - 8'

Concerto for Tambourine and Percussion Ensemble - 11'

Solo for Flute - 3'

So about an hour and ten minutes. I have some other stuff, but this is stuff that has been performed (minus Battle for Bloody Marsh)

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Wow... no idea where to begin on this. Like J. Lee, there's just too much to go through... I've got 3 large plastic bins in my storage full of manuscript, both finished and unfinished. Since I did a lot of arranging before officially becoming a "composer", I'm sure some of those works are only arrangements (not knocking it... I wouldn't want to learn orchestration any other way!). I'd say I've got a stack about 4-5 feet high of music, with probably 3 feet of that being my original music.

As for finished music... I've got about 45 minutes that I'd admit to. I've withdrawn lots of stuff, and I've got a ton of uncompleted works (that I really should complete!).

Since most of my work is for large ensembles, it's really quite difficult to go from start to completion in one go... that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. ;)

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Guest QcCowboy

Well, after close to 30 years of composing, I have... ummm...


1 set of songs (numbering 7)

1 mass (men's voices)

1 set of choral songs (three of them)


3 sonatas (one complete, one as yet incomplete, and one existing in versions for two different instruments - which sort of means 4 sonatas, but anyways)

1 little sonatina for piano 4-hands

2 suites of chamber music (very brief movements, 5-6 movements)


2 concerti (one chamber, the other symphonic)

2 symphonies (one as yet incomplete)

a few various works for orchestra, which are neither catalogued, nor given opus numbers.

incidental music

3 film scores

I have trashed a couple of hundred works which had been composed over the last 30 years. The earliest of my surviving works is one of those instrumental suites, which dates from (IIRC) almost 20 years ago.

I work VERY slowly, often spending years revising a single work.

Trashed works included: an hour-long requiem mass, a mass for chorus and chamber orchestra, 3 symphonies, various sonatas and chamber pieces, a whole slew of orchestral works.

Even had I kept all the "trashed" works, I'd still only be at around opus 40 or so.

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Guest VisitingCellist

I am mainly a student cellist looking towards a career as an orchestral musician. As a result, I have very little, for I just started composing a year and a half ago (something I was very reticent to attempt).

-two hymn settings for cello and piano

-one cello sonata (unfinished)

-one string quartet (unfinished)

-one 3-part invention for piano (unfinished)

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Not much. Let's see...

A wind quartet (thrown away)

A suite for viola (mostly thrown away)

Two short pieces for piano

A fugue-ish-not-really piece for string quartet and half of another

Half of two pieces for string orchestra (very weird pieces)

Part of a fantasia for viola and piano

A canon in unison for two violas

A movement and a half of a short viola sonata (using only open strings)

A whole ton of random sketches and unfinished stuff

So far, nothing over six minutes long. If I catalogued my own works, I wouldn't yet be done with Op. 1.

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