Jump to content
luderart

Is Formal Training In Composition Necessary ?

Recommended Posts

I'd rather say: "Be yourself - say what you really want instead of what others expect you to say".

There is nothing unexpected about music that belongs in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing unexpected about music that belongs in the past.

Stereotyping also belongs in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being yourself: Not being like someone else

Quite a negative definition of being oneself! I think as long as you are putting the emphasis on others, even though in order to try not to be like them, you are not genuinely being yourself. I think one should not go out of one's way to try not to sound like others, but rather try to positively write what one is genuinely inspired to, what one's inner psyche dictates. In this sense, listening to others' music as a source for compositional ideas (let alone trying to consciously follow their lead or avoid doing so) can possibly even act as a deterrent to originality or being oneself. As a concrete personal example of this, I used to listen to music a lot more before I became more active as a composer.

My own definition of "being yourself" would be the following (as already hinted at in the paragraph above): listening to one's own inner voice and trying to compose what it dictates, in the final analysis regardless of one's potential audience's perceived or anticipated reactions, and without any attempt to please or earn their praise. I believe that genius and originality are never (and ought never be) about seeking one's audience's approval or praise, or the reward that would accompany such approval and/or praise. While approval and praise could serve as objective indications or objective criteria of one's success as a composer, they are only the indirect outcome of true originality and the true discovery of one's voice as a composer, never the aim themselves. Should they become the aim (or the conscious aim at least), the music becomes reduced into a mere means to garner praise and social approval and, in my opinion, falls short of the requirements for being characterized as original!

"Being oneself" would also mean to compose music related to one's experience and being, and somehow expressing them; not trying to imitate others (whose original music would have come from their own unique experience which one does not and cannot share).

I think being original is a challenge in the sense that one has to be oneself in a context of others. Hence one has also to relate to others; to take others' (and humanity's in general) being, experience, and behaviour into consideration (in going about being oneself); to find an ideal balance between these two (being oneself and taking others into consideration) such that one's being oneself (precisely as a composer, insofar as one is composing for any audience, even oneself - in the sense that one exists in a social context and hence becomes oneself FROM it or proceeding from it) is meaningful to others also, communicates something of relevance to others also, and yet such that one's attempts to be meaningful to others and to address others do not get in the way of one's self-fulfilment, self-realization and self-expression as a composer. After all, one has to fulfill oneself and be oneself among other people, unless one plans to live in solitude (but even solitude proceeds from and is a getting away from - and hence takes for granted being in - a society). But composition, to me at least, is a social act. It is the distillation of social experience through the unconscious and the psyche. Even personhood is to some extent socially created. To me composition is not only an act, but a process of active becoming. Perhaps composition is one form of self-creation.

Finally, I think being original is often more about saying the same things (others have said before one) in new ways, than about saying something new in the same way (others have said before one).

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I'm sure everyone is enjoying such awe-inspiring perspicacity about the obvious, the boring, and, especially, the stupid, most of this is almost completely irrelevant to the topic at hand; take it somewhere else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... all over-sentimental romanticists at points in time when romanticism was irrelevant...

All the great Romantic music is still with us, it hasn't gone anywhere. We certainly don't need any second rate copies of it.

... dismissing music without first attempting to understand it? That sounds rather ignorant and closed-minded to me.

I just think that you need to earn your right to have an opinion about ANYTHING by first learning to understand it. (not just attempting to understand. Doing that and then stopping because you don't think you can understand is perhaps even more ignorant than not trying to understand in the first place)

... the contemporary crowd does have the monopoly on authenticity since you can't possibly be authentic to your time if you are composing music that was contemporary 150 years ago...

Being yourself: Not being like someone else.

... pandering to society,

Phillip Glass ... writes classical pastiche and misguidedly tries to call it minimalism

I feel like I'm arguing with a child.

Above: a collection of stereotypes and buzzwords. Again, I added nothing.

PD. This is relevant to see why is formal training so necessary. Learn to dismiss what you don't like in a sophisticated-sounding way :thumbsup: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite a negative definition of being oneself! I think as long as you are putting the emphasis on others, even though in order to try not to be like them, you are not genuinely being yourself. I think one should not go out of one's way to try not to sound like others, but rather try to positively write what one is genuinely inspired to, what one's inner psyche dictates. In this sense, listening to others' music as a source for compositional ideas (let alone trying to consciously follow their lead or avoid doing so) can possibly even act as a deterrent to originality or being oneself. As a concrete personal example of this, I used to listen to music a lot more before I became more active as a composer.

My own definition of "being yourself" would be the following (as already hinted at in the paragraph above): listening to one's own inner voice and trying to compose what it dictates, in the final analysis regardless of one's potential audience's perceived or anticipated reactions, and without any attempt to please or earn their praise. I believe that genius and originality are never (and ought never be) about seeking one's audience's approval or praise, or the reward that would accompany such approval and/or praise. While approval and praise could serve as objective indications or objective criteria of one's success as a composer, they are only the indirect outcome of true originality and the true discovery of one's voice as a composer, never the aim themselves. Should they become the aim (or the conscious aim at least), the music become reduced into a mere means to garner praise and social approval and, in my opinion, falls short of the requirements for being characterized as original!

"Being oneself" would also mean to compose music related to one's experience and being, and somehow expressing them; not trying to imitate others (whose original music would have come from their own unique experience which one does not and cannot share).

And whilst "being oneself" your inner self would just happen to dictate music in a Romantic style?

I agree that being oneself would mean "to compose music related to one's experience and being, and somehow expressing them; not trying to imitate others (whose original music would have come from their own unique experience which one does not and cannot share)."

This then raises the question: Why would you compose in the Romantic style when you are not a European in the 19th century? If one isn't a European in the 19th century then there is no reason for that style to be related to one's experience and being and consequently, no valid reason to compose using that style.

Also, what is with this idea that what I'm suggesting here is that you should seek some sort of societal approval. That's not what I am saying at all. I'm saying that you should not copy the styles that have gone before you. What you write could be absolutely anything and in my opinion it would be perfectly valid as long as it isn't blatantly copying something that has gone before. As I have stated, I haven't achieved this personally but I am at least working towards it unlike many people.

Above: a collection of stereotypes and buzzwords. Again, I added nothing.

PD. This is relevant to see why is formal training so necessary. Learn to dismiss what you don't like in a sophisticated-sounding way :thumbsup: .

I could do exactly the same thing with your posts, I just can't be bothered going back through them. Half of the things mentioned here aren't stereotypical and aren't buzzwords. (Buzzword: that's kind of a "buzzword" itself isn't it, hmmm)

As much as I'm sure everyone is enjoying such awe-inspiring perspicacity about the obvious, the boring, and, especially, the stupid, most of this is almost completely irrelevant to the topic at hand; take it somewhere else.

If you don't like it don't read it. There is a debate going on here. Why would you want to stifle it just because you don't find it interesting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Half of the things mentioned here aren't stereotypical and aren't buzzwords.

So much for arguing that someone's placing words on your mouth. Someone actually did - yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So much for arguing that someone's placing words on your mouth. Someone actually did - yourself.

I stand by absolutely everything I said in every one of those quotes you've just posted and I never once implied otherwise. The reason I said you were putting words in my mouth was because of this:

New motto: "Be yourself - do it my way".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And whilst "being oneself" your inner self would just happen to dictate music in a Romantic style?

I agree that being oneself would mean "to compose music related to one's experience and being, and somehow expressing them; not trying to imitate others (whose original music would have come from their own unique experience which one does not and cannot share)."

This then raises the question: Why would you compose in the Romantic style when you are not a European in the 19th century? If one isn't a European in the 19th century then there is no reason for that style to be related to one's experience and being and consequently, no valid reason to compose using that style.

This is a good question to ask. The answers to it (and the explanations) may be many. One explanation I would think of would be that the Romantic style was ahead of its time, or succeeded in creating a universally valid human aesthetic ideal of musical self-expression to which everyone can relate (and which modern music so far hasn't been able to create). The same can be said of the Baroque and Classical periods.

Another way to look at it could be that the particular person who chooses to compose in a Romantic style, hasn't caught up with modern music, his/her musical development is still in the stage of Romantic music (or maybe his psyche is experiencing an acceptable form of musical regression). This explanation would be looking at music, and the various styles that have up till now been used in its composition, as a process of human development. I favour this explanation. I think that the Classical and Romantic style certainly present a developmental line. Perhaps hundreds of years later, the music that has come after them will itself represent another, or several such "universally valid human aesthetic ideal(s) of musical self-expression" in the developmental line of music to which future generations might well relate and prefer to adopt (at the cost of the styles pursued at their own time or at the cost of the attempt to forge a new and original style).

In a sense what you say is right, and one should not revert to past styles when one lives in the present. But to quote myself in my previous post, "I think being original is a challenge in the sense that one has to be oneself in a context of others. Hence one has also to relate to others; to take others' (and humanity's in general) being, experience, and behaviour into consideration (in going about being oneself); to find an ideal balance between these two (being oneself and taking others into consideration) such that one's being oneself (precisely as a composer, insofar as one is composing for any audience, even oneself - in the sense that one exists in a social context and hence becomes oneself FROM it or proceeding from it) is meaningful to others also, communicates something of relevance to others also...". And this includes the past also. One may hence legitimately choose to relate to past forms of musical self-expression as one's context (of others, and other music) to be (and compose) originally in.

To return to the original topic of the thread (and to link all this discussion to it), I think that formal training is useful in this "relating to one's context" aspect. A good composition teacher would provide a great means of relating to the "other composers" as a context to be original in. Hence the benefit may not be so much in the actual teaching, but in this very provision of a context - to relate to and be original in proceeding from.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the Classical and Romantic style certainly present a developmental line. Perhaps hundreds of years later, the music that has come after them will itself represent another, or several such "universally valid human aesthetic ideal(s) of musical self-expression" in the developmental line of music to which future generations might well relate.

I agree and I think that what is now contemporary will come to be accepted on that developmental line. However, I'm cautious to call it "developmental" in case this implies some kind of musical superiority as time progresses. I think the masterpieces of each period are all equally great: there is great Baroque music and awful Baroque music, great Romantic music and awful Romantic music, great serial music and awful serial music.

I suppose I believe, rightly or wrongly, that if the music we create is to be a reflection of our experience and being then it should also reflect the musical language and practices of the point in history which we are experiencing rather than those of a bygone age.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree and I think that what is now contemporary will come to be accepted on that developmental line. However, I'm cautious to call it "developmental" in case this implies some kind of musical superiority as time progresses. I think the masterpieces of each period are all equally great: there is great Baroque music and awful Baroque music, great Romantic music and awful Romantic music, great serial music and awful serial music.

I suppose I believe, rightly or wrongly, that if the music we create is to be a reflection of our experience and being then it should also reflect the musical language and practices of the point in history which we are experiencing rather than those of a bygone age.

Despite the appearances, I actually agree with most of what you just said. There's only one point on which I don't. I don't feel bonded to any musical language just because it was fashionable or in vogue when I came of age, or just because it's what I'm expected to do. That would be as much of pandering as it would be to write Romantic or Classicist music to gain popularity with some audiences - and neither way fits the bill for being true to oneself.

(After all, many guys have raged against the "establishment" only to become themselves the new "establishment" a few years later...)

Formal training, I believe, should give a composer the technical tools to develop and grow - but at the same time respecting the composer's freedom to choose his own aesthetic path, whether Baroque, Romantic, aleatoric, serial or whatever is the current trend (BTW, is there any trend in 21st century music?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Formal training, I believe, should give a composer the technical tools to develop and grow - but at the same time respecting the composer's freedom to choose his own aesthetic path, whether Baroque, Romantic, aleatoric, serial or whatever is the current trend (BTW, is there any trend in 21st century music?).

This is what I've been trying to say, there is no current trend. The closest thing to a trend that I hear at the moment is a sort of eclecticism with composers trying to draw from as many different influences as possible with the view to creating something new. I'm not trying to follow any fashionable language, my aim is just to avoid copying those that have gone before.

I think formal training does respect the composer's decision to follow whatever aesthetic they please. For example, there were 6 of us on the composition course in my final year and we all had completely different aesthetics. I had my Lutoslaski/Carter/Bartok thing, another used a lot of aleatoric techniques in a sort of post-minimalist style, another was writing similar music to Rachmaninov. another was writing in a tintinnabulation style similar to Arvo Part, someone else was heavily influenced by the pointillism of the 50s and another was influenced heavily by both Ligeti and Steve Reich.

Nobody was discouraged from writing in whichever style they wished. All were provided with equal opportunities for performance/reading. What is interesting is that all 6 of us had completely changed our styles over the course of the degree. As you can see, there was no one style that was pushed on us, we were just exposed and made to analyse and understand a lot of music that we hadn't heard before and we each seemed to latch on to whatever we liked and develop in that direction, regardless of where anyone else was heading. It certainly wasn't some sort of indoctrination camp like some would like to believe although maybe I was just lucky at my university, I can't speak for everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Formal training is a valid aspect of becoming a better composer in my opinion. I am assuming that by formal training the question is asking if one should study in a university or under a professor.

I just graduated from college and I don't think I would have been able to advance as far if I didn't have a professor pointing me in composition directions I might have otherwise ignored. When I started off, I was writing simply melodic tunes and convinced that I would only write Broadway music. This led me to be sort of close minded to any type of music that wasn't Sondheim or anything related to what's on Broadway in NY. However, my first semester I was pushed to listen to the basics of the basics (like Chopin and at the same time exploring modern music) and attend all the concerts that went on at my university. However, if I had not have had formal training, I would not have chosen to expand my brain in terms of what's out there. It was then when I could apply what I was learning into my own music. Lastly, any questions I have ever had regarding writing for instruments was easily answered instead of having to delve into a thousand books and websites to find the answer. That's not laziness, it's time efficiency with the addition of hearing personal experience writing for said instruments.

My personal experience aside, I think composition professors have the potential to make or break a student. I've heard students say they lost their passion, but then when I listen to their music I see no growth or no willing to grow. That's not to say what they are doing is bad, but instead that it grows stale and all sounds the same. What if Chopin wrote 20 piano mazurkas that all had the same emotion and same theme? I am sure everyone would think he's a joke. This is what formal training does - it gives you options and expands your mind. However, if a professor isn't working for you, then you should simply switch or take the solo route; there's no real true answer on how to get better at composing or what is 'necessary' to become a proficient composer, but the number one thing that I feel is necessary is being open-minded which would make formal training a much more rewarding process.

That's just my two cents.

Also, style is a largely overrated aspect that I really learned I did not want to use when defining my own music. If my music sounds romantic, atonal, impressionistic, stupid-onal, etc. then that's up to the opinion of the listener. I write what I feel is vital to represent the music as music, not as something that suits a generalized genre. I understand why each specific style is important for history's sake, but I think professors want to tell their students that they should not be thinking 'style' when they write. I think every style is acceptable, but to be able to write in each style in order to mold a composer's own skillset is a skill that truly defines a composer's voice from someone who "wants to be a romantic composer."

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guyz, I saw this topic but just now I had time to actually withstand the 11 pages of nonsense. So let's get to it.

I think the entire problem lies in that the answer to the thread's question is a question, "For what?" And also, of course, what the definition of "training" can be. Training can mean anything you do that relates to composition. Going to a concert is part of "training," for example, as it exposes you to the medium and gives you a chance to experience things first hand. Learning technical knowledge is also a type of training, as is learning to talk about your music and/or listening to others do it.

For the question to be meaningful it's necessary to narrow down exactly what the person wants to do, before any kind of method can be looked into. For example, if someone wants to write symphonies in style of X composer, it's advisable then that the person seek out these compositions and study them (how is a different question altogether.) However it's only because there's already a set goal with defined parameters and stylistic guidelines that this is necessary. If the objective was something more abstract like "Write something that sounds good," as is more typical, it's possible that direct experimentation rather than specific technique study is much more valuable as a type of training.

As this is a pedagogic question, it should be clear that different people require different methods and a single didactic approach can't hope to fit even a small minority of people, specially when it comes to something as vague as "teaching art." For this reason, then, let's look at the first post and formulate an answer that would fit the more exact parameters defined within the overall question:

I have scarcely gotten any training and compose as an amateur. I am wondering how far I can go like this. Will I find my way to composing even symphonies, or would that necessitate some formal training? I know that Elgar became a composer through self-study.

It's impossible to give a proper answer when it concerns potential, as it depends on too many factors that are unpredictable. Also, "formal training" is indistinguishable from simply knowing what you want to do and finding a method of accomplishing it, as I stated previously different objectives can be accomplished in different ways and it depends on the person what kind of approach works best.

The importance of so-called "Formal" training here is the aspect of guidance, such as what I'm doing now, in terms of what methods the person may find useful in reaching their artistic objectives. It should be clear such guidance doesn't necessarily have to come from a teacher figure or an academic institution, it could be even a random suggestion on an internet forum (or reading history books, like he did when he cited Elgar's example.)

As a closing thought, I think it goes without saying that none of this should concern itself with "quality" of whatever it is the person is trying to produce, but simply with the method by which they can reach a result they're happy with regardless of what it is.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, style is a largely overrated aspect that I really learned I did not want to use when defining my own music. If my music sounds romantic, atonal, impressionistic, stupid-onal, etc. then that's up to the opinion of the listener. I write what I feel is vital to represent the music as music, not as something that suits a generalized genre. I understand why each specific style is important for history's sake, but I think professors want to tell their students that they should not be thinking 'style' when they write. I think every style is acceptable, but to be able to write in each style in order to mold a composer's own skillset is a skill that truly defines a composer's voice from someone who "wants to be a romantic composer."

I couldn't agree more. Far too much aesthetic emphasis is given to elevating the surface style of music - or indeed any other narrative artform; cinema, literature, even painting - above other deeper elements that are often more fundamental to making music music. Specifically, what a piece sounds like has only a limited role in defining its worldview and aesthetics, and often has the irritating side-effect of pigeon-holing it under some vague term as 'classical', 'romantic' and so forth. I've said this before but there are certain deep aspects of music that are common to almost all works even beyond the western classical tradition. Obviously we are writing in precisely this tradition and so can widen our aesthetic Venn diagram to include only things fundamental to it alone, but the point remains. What this means is that whilst they may sound very different, that squeaky modern piece you heard last week might actually have a lot in common with a Mozart quartet. It's of limited use to seperate the two in terms of compositional tecniques just because one is atonal and composed on a computer program and the other is based on decorating a functional harmonic pattern with a melody (if this is even how we should analyse Mozart). Perhaps finer study might reveal structural similarities, or that certain devices both composers use are intended to have the same effect or the same function, or even that the 'intensity curve', the narrative of the piece, is very similar. Another way to think of it is with a diverse group of dogs. They may all look very different - big, small, hairy, cute, aggressive - but they have a common ancestor and over 99% of their genes will be identical. So it is with music. Fundamentally, the elements that affect the listening experience are the same. What varies is the composer's choices regarding the deployment of these elements, for which there is great scope.

What does this have to do with formal training? Firstly, it should be the responsibility of every composition pedagogue to emphasise this more fundamental aspect of musical creation and to regard surface style as being only of arbitrary interest. It is also as bad to only study the most modern avant-garde music as it is to ignore it completely. I remeber putting my hand up in a composition seminar entirely devoted to contemporary works and asking 'Is there anything we can learn from Haydn?' and getting a funny look and some dismissive answer from the lecturer. (Luckily my next teacher was more broad-minded). Teachers should ensire students see and understand as diverse a range of music as possible and most importantly introduce the idea that the vast majority of it is still relevant to the contemporary composer. Secondly, avoid labelling more than is neccessary as it will comporomise this view and encourage the student only to write in a 'contemporary' idiom (for which read a contemporary surface style). If I write a completely atonal piece using electro-accoustic overtone analysis but arranged the material in prototypical sonata form, is it a 'classical' or 'modernist' work?

To ask the question 'why do all modern composers write is a modern style' is disingenuous: the answer is, they don't. What they do do is write using ideas and techniques borrowed from other musicians according to their own aesthetic choices, the end result of which eventually is labelled 'modern'. That should be your training.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh.

Specifically, what a piece sounds like has only a limited role in defining its worldview and aesthetics, and often has the irritating side-effect of pigeon-holing it under some vague term as 'classical', 'romantic' and so forth. I've said this before but there are certain deep aspects of music that are common to almost all works even beyond the western classical tradition.

... Uh? This is like an extreme theorist approach where the actual sound of the piece is second to the theoretical "principles" whichever they may be. This is not going to end well.

They may all look very different - big, small, hairy, cute, aggressive - but they have a common ancestor and over 99% of their genes will be identical. So it is with music. Fundamentally, the elements that affect the listening experience are the same. What varies is the composer's choices regarding the deployment of these elements, for which there is great scope.

Before I need to go into cognitive science territory, it's clear to note that there are parameters that are subjective in perception only. That music "may seem the same in the end" despite sounding harshly different is an abstraction that can only be made if you're willing to ignore the actual music itself for what it is: sound.

Compare Metastasis from Xenakis with a Haydn string quartet and I assure differences will be much more "surface obvious" as you're implying. They simply sound nothing alike. Compare something like Ligeti's articulations to a non-electronic piece and you'll already have an entire different sound. scraggy is not 99% identical, sorry.

I remeber putting my hand up in a composition seminar entirely devoted to contemporary works and asking 'Is there anything we can learn from Haydn?' and getting a funny look and some dismissive answer from the lecturer.

What else were you expecting? Discourse on aesthetic is not necessarily having something "nice" to say about older composers, it's about an aesthetic being relevant or interesting to someone. Haydn's clearly isn't interesting enough in your example, or relevant, therefore ignored. It's quite simple really, it's like colors. No matter the arrangement, disposition, perspective or composition, if you simply don't like the color red that much a painting that uses it will look "meh" to you, despite the above being "good enough."

Likewise, if you simply don't like clusters, you can structure your pieces just like Haydn or whoever you think is great but if you're using clusters it'll sound off, regardless of other parameters. This is the same thing for every single "superficial" sound characteristic. They're colors, and you can like or not like them.

As for the "listening experience," the cognitive auditory syntax varies depending on knowledge of the style of music and expectations built on it. What dictates what this is is what you're calling "superficial," the actual colors of the music in terms of what the sounds are and where they are. Haydn has an extremely different syntax (think musical grammar) than John Cage's music, or even Stravinsky, or many others, just by virtue of what colors they use. This should not be ignored.

Also:

Teachers should ensire students see and understand as diverse a range of music as possible and most importantly introduce the idea that the vast majority of it is still relevant to the contemporary composer. Secondly, avoid labelling more than is neccessary as it will comporomise this view and encourage the student only to write in a 'contemporary' idiom (for which read a contemporary surface style).

What the hell does "contemporary surface style" mean? What it sounds like? What you think it sounds like? I suspect this runs into the same abstraction/perception trap I mentioned above, most likely. Also, if "the vast majority of music is still relevant" then it's easy to infer that the vast majority also includes the vast majority of "modern" music, so I don't understand the implication later stated with the labeling. Honestly the entire paragraph there is a disaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know this may sound off-topic but it isn't.

Writing music is oft times like the motivation and how we visit a sick person we know and, possibly, care about in the hospital. Despite all the noble altruistic reasons or how wonderful we are adhering to social convention by buying a card, flowers or some inspirational text or music, you are doing really for yourself. In the best case, it is done without insecurity or guilt and just because you love the person and enjoy the positive feelings you get from being there and "supporting" them - even though your visit could have the same effect as a dog trained to comfort patients in a hospital. At worst, you are doing out of duty or to emulate what your peers and family are doing because it is the right thing or to reinforce how great and valuable you are to the universe.

So you can approach the computer or paper with a dutiful adherence to your models - those you were drawn to or inculcated in you - or you could approach it as an activity you enjoy very much and not get too caught up in what historical figures or contemporaries have done and avoid unnecessary anxiety and insecurity. The best you can hope for is some people like it and even better some people want to perform it.

In sum, that is all artistic creation is - a visitation and possible communing with other people , beings, and/ or things and the intangible (and sometimes tangible) rewards you get. It will be brief, less than the time you blink an eye in the context of time, but I guess it is up to you if that moment truly, continually sucks or is quite often wonderful and engaging.

Formal training in itself has little bearing - rather it is the person's attitude and how they handle whatever training they receive as well as pursue. It can either aggravate or enhance the composition process.

BTW - The science of music is quite in its infancy - most music theory is just botanical classifications and descriptions of style divorced completely from significant socio-economic influences ( I am not a fan of the separation of musicology and music theory, but then again my knowledge of musicology is very little, please correct me if I err.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Uh? This is like an extreme theorist approach where the actual sound of the piece is second to the theoretical "principles" whichever they may be. This is not going to end well.

That's not what I said. You seem to think I am trying to dismiss 'surface style' as trivial and distracting from deeper levels in the composition. I'm not. In fact I am strongly opposed to over-analysis of music and the idea that it could be taught and appreciated via an analytical approach that ignores the emotive aspects of a composition. The surface 'sound' of the piece is in no way a trivial aspect of the composition and composers should not expect to produce an original and coherant creation simply by conforming to some meta-structural theory. I resolutely don't hold that 'the actual sound of the piece is second to the theoretical principles'. My point was that too much emphasis is placed on dividing up works based on the surface style without appreciating that they may have other aspects in common.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You mean like taking "Composing 101"?

No.

Ear training, theory, rhythmic notation and orchestration: These are the things to develop and study.

These are the disciplines that will help you become a composer. But finding your own voice as a composer is entirely up to you.

Listening to everything that you can get your hands on doesn't hurt either!

Don't put too much worry about developing a certain "style" or "having an identity", in terms of composing. Style is something that is inherent in you already-it's simply the way you approach or do things-that's your style, which will naturally carry over into your music.

Study as much as you can, listen often and ask questions.

And when anything starts coming into your head, write it down! Believe it or not, these opportunities don't hit you 7 days a week!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to say, in my opinion. Not every composer in the world had formal training, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing to have. You can compose without much formal training, but when you want to reach out to a certain demographic with your music, it helps to know some of the science behind the popular music and their respective composers in that category. It's also nice to have some theory under the belt and ear training; it's not like they'll change your whole perspective on how you wish to approach composing. If they do, then you just move along with that feeling. There's no downside to it.

Honestly, I would say it's important to at least learn how each of the instruments work; imperative if you're planning to have your stuff performed by a live orchestra, etc. Any composer should know the limitations of an instrument when they plan to write music involving it, lest they create something inconceivable to a performer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on what you want out of composition. If you're writing for your own enjoyment as a hobby, then you don't need formal training. Training might make some aspects of the composition process easier, but it's certainly not necessary, especially if you already play an instrument. If you want to make a living as a composer, then formal training is pretty much mandatory, unless maybe you perform in and write music for a specific ensemble to develop your chops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...