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What Do You Think Is The Most Important Thing That A Composer Must Know Before Embarking On Composition?

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To answer, you can use the wisdom you have gathered from your teachers or from your own experience in composition.

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From teachers: approach towards structure and motivic work plus how to handle an orchestra for rich and exciting music.

From performers: write for instrument/voice and not against the instrument/voice.

Personal experience: experience tons of live concerts with music you don't know yet. Take time for critisism you receive and try to understand why somebody smashed your piece.

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Determine what your intention is with the piece.  

 

Know (or learn) how to accomplish it.

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To have something to say, or your music won't go beyond a few bars.

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Guest Kibbletime

perhaps knowing that the composition can be improved infinitely and shouldn't be defended with excuses and denial when it comes to rational criticism. artistic conviction is one thing, pride that is driven by delusions of grandeur is another.

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To have something to say, or your music won't go beyond a few bars.

 

I agree with the first part. In fact my own answer would probably be: To have something to express (or "He must know what he is trying to express through the piece").

 

But I don't agree with the second part, since a composer might well be able to express what he has to say or what he feels in a "few bars". Otherwise, what are miniatures and bagatelles? You can't suppose that the composer had nothing to say and therefore composed such short pieces.

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I agree with the first part. In fact my own answer would probably be: To have something to express (or "He must know what he is trying to express through the piece").

 

But I don't agree with the second part, since a composer might well be able to express what he has to say or what he feels in a "few bars". Otherwise, what are miniatures and bagatelles? You can't suppose that the composer had nothing to say and therefore composed such short pieces.

Miniatures and bagatelles are usually at least a minute-and-a-half up to three minutes long.

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And, to continue: nobody wouldn't mind all these soliloquys and inklings if there was any logical combination of form and creative musical language in them - although recent few bar pieces of yours are really terrible - sorry, I cannot tell a lie.

All miniatures, preludes, nocturnos by composers such as Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann etc. are more or less perfect in formal and tonal structure. Believe me, their focus on both terms did not affect their expression at all. How to handle a form is necessary. Imagine the architecture: what would happen if all houses were designed strictly on inner expression of builders? Believe me, you wouldn't dare to try it in person.

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And, to continue - although recent few bar pieces of yours are really terrible - sorry, I cannot tell a lie.

 

If you paid a little more attention to my recent pieces and their description, you would realize that they belong to a new type of short piece called "sententia".

 

 

 

And, to continue

 

Imagine the architecture: what would happen if all houses were designed strictly on inner expression of builders? Believe me, you wouldn't dare to try it in person.

 

The analogy does not really hold. People listen to music for pleasure. Form, therefore, is not as critical. Architecture has the considerations of safety and practicality in addition to self-expression. If the form of my music does not hold up to your standards, you can simply stop listening to it. You would not die from listening to it!!!

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If you paid a little more attention to my recent pieces and their description, you would realize that they belong to a new type of short piece called "sententia".

 

 

 

 

The analogy does not really hold. People listen to music for pleasure. Form, therefore, is not as critical. Architecture has the considerations of safety and practicality in addition to self-expression. If the form of my music does not hold up to your standards, you can simply stop listening to it. You would not die from listening to it!!!

Nothing of your Sententias, Inklings or Soliloquys holds up to my standards and, I am pretty sure, to most of people musically trained for at least a couple of years.

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I am also starting to convince myself you will never improve. So maybe you are right. Maybe I should stop wasting time with you. :closedeyes:

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Nothing of your Sententias, Inklings or Soliloquys holds up to my standards and, I am pretty sure, to most of people musically trained for at least a couple of years.

 

A lot of people who have been musically 'trained' probably don't have explicit 'standards' to which they judge music, but simply approve of music which appeals to them on some level. 

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Being able to play at least one instrument to near-professional standard. There has been no great composer who was not also a capable performer.

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Being able to play at least one instrument to near-professional standard. There has been no great composer who was not also a capable performer.

John Mackey 

ostimusic.com

one of the greatest composers in the band world, he never really played an instrument, his piano skills are pretty minimal, and I bet he won't make a great singer either. He learned composition through his uncle (?) who taught him to compose with a software, and it is through that, along with the relations he's made with excellent musicians that he went to CIM for his bachelors, then studied with John Corigliano at Julliard, and became one of the biggest names in modern Wind Ensemble music. You don't need to be a professional performer to be a great composer. 

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There has been no great composer who was not also a capable performer.

 

Berlioz?

Wagner?

 

:dunno:

 

(Otherwise I'm doomed).

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Berlioz was a guitarist. Wagner was a conductor.

 

Berlioz played the guitar (for the record, I do as well). But he did never attempt to give any public performance. (He did learn to conduct, though).

 

Wagner, of course, was a composer turned conductor (like Berlioz before him). Whether to consider the orchestra as an "instrument" is another debate.

 

But I took Siwi's post as referring to playing an actual instrument in a near-professional level as a must for any successful composer, which I doubt is entirely true, regardless of how obviously advantageous it might be.

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Berlioz?

Wagner?

 

:dunno:

 

(Otherwise I'm doomed).

Berlioz had mastered the flute whilst still a teenager and could also play the guitar reasonably well. Wagner could play the piano at least well enough to demonstrate his scores to performers, and was also a proficient conductor, something all aspiring composers should also try to get experience in.

 

John Mackay's music is reasonably proficient and well-written - clearly playable - but also rather conservative and not particularly distinctive in the way it uses the instruments deployed. His lack of performance experience in the ensembles he writes for shows somewhat: as well as demonstrating rather 'textbook' orchestration and inexperience with strings (too often 'stacked' rather than written in most advantagous registers, next-to-no bowings, assumes basses have a C extension, etc). He even admits in the blurb to one piece that he didn't realise that drumsticks shouldn't be used on timpani, something which all orchestration books point out and which the 'ear' of somebody used to hearing timpani in an orchestra would probably notice.

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