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Is Formal Training In Composition Necessary ?

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I'm going to bge honest and admit I didn't read the last 12 pages... that's a lot to read when you're busy.

Formal training in composition is not necessary, but it will make things a great deal easier to understand.

With how much there is to the theory of composing music, it can be quite a daunting and imposing task to take on by one's self.

Yet at the same time, most of the information (if not all) is available for free on-line. If you are bright enough and devote enough time, I'm sure you can extract a lot of stuff on your own just by playing or looking at written music (assuming you know how to read it), but this would be tedius and time consuming, even for a savant. However, it wouldn't be impossible, though it would be impossible to know specifics of the terminology.

Even then, there are differen aspects from which to study the theory of musical composition. You could view/learn it from a historical and/or academic perspective (commonly taught in bachelor's level music theory/composition courses); you could also learn musical composition from an aesthetic/aesthetic theory view.

It also depends a lot on how you learn best.

Either way, understanding how to compose music TYPICALLY leads to better musical composition, so I would recommend above all else to learn to compose, even informally. The only thing is that informal training a HIGH PROBABILITY of leading to misinformation.

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It's also not necessary if you're Philip Glass.

Or Andrew Lloyd Weber.

What? Glass studied at Juilliard and later in Paris with Boulanger. And Weber studied at the Royal College of Music (though I can't say what good that did him).

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If you're already under formal training, say YES. It must suck to spend so many years in a music school and have textbook after textbook shoved down your throat, only to get your donkey kicked off your body by a talented amateur.

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Say what you like about Lloyd Webber, but nobody else copies Mendelssohn and Puccini quite as well...

I'd also like to add that training as a performer (ie learning an instrument) is one of the most valuable composition lessons you can take.

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Sarcasm man!

Oh. I would have gotten it if you said Chuck Norris. Maybe.

Say what you like about Lloyd Webber, but nobody else copies Mendelssohn and Puccini quite as well...

I'd also like to add that training as a performer (ie learning an instrument) is one of the most valuable composition lessons you can take.

This, on both counts, though I can't help but feel like Weber is to classical music what Nickelback is to rock.

Wow, off topic sorry about this but... I had no idea it displayed practically your whole profile in the side bar... O_o

Yeah, it's been like that for a long time. The side bar is ugly.

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My God, these forums have a habit of asking impossible questions, don't they? :)

If I assume that the complete question is: Is formal training necessary to write good music? then we need to first come up with a way of deciding what good music is. And I'm afraid humanity has yet to come up with a clear, single answer to that one. And once you've picked some definition of "good", the answer will more or less imply itself, though it may not be a simple answer, because it can be difficult to isolate precisely what formal training gives you that no mode of self-study, no matter how disciplined, can.

What music do I like? (I'm answering a different but related question to the one which was asked, but at least it's one that admits of a clear answer.) Well, I like it well-organized, very colourful, texturally dense (generalizing) and fairly harmonically complex. Medner/Prokofiev/Rach. So I'd say nearly every piece on this site that I really like has been written by someone with formal training. I *think* the reason for this correspondence is that formal training gives you the ability to work through very knotty musical problems in an organized way, so that you don't feel the need to take shortcuts around them. Maybe it also makes a person more daring? Maybe I'm wrong -- who knows? But for me, at least, formal training helped a lot. (Counterpoint!) Also, when you play pieces you inevitably pick up the tricks those pieces use. (Unless you're a particularly uninteresting performer who barely pays attention to the meaning of the notes on the page.)This was part of my formal instrumental training, though, so I'm not sure if that counts.

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Guest monique.bliss10

Music composition is a skill, just like learning to play an instrument. A successful composer will have spent many hours studying the work of other composers, practicing her composing skills, completing technical exercises and working to have her compositions performed, workshop and recorded. Completing one or more degrees in music composition is one way to improve your skills and professional standing as a composer.

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I have found that my formal training in composition has helped me through difficult times when a major composition has 'stalled'. Technical expertise is certainly an asset.

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