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I am a 17 year old music student from Belgium. I recently wrote a concerto for double bass, and it turned out really well in my opinion. Now that it's finished I actually really want to write a new piece, but I can't find any themes. I was wondering, for those who don't really those "Aha! I've got a theme!"-moments at random, how do you find/look for a new theme? Where do you get your inspiration from? And how do you know if you didn't steal it from an other work?


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If I don't get a theme right away(which I usually do), I will sometimes do this:

1) Figure out how many bars I want the theme to be and in what time signature

2) Plan the harmony of the theme

3) Build the melody and bass from that harmonic plan

And I usually get a pretty usable theme for a piece. Usually, I instinctually go for originality in my themes. But sometimes I will intentionally borrow from another composer. Usually when that happens, it is either a scalar transition inspired by K 545, or it is the Fate Motif from Beethoven's 5th. But the way I use for example the Fate Motif gives originality to the piece, even if I did borrow from Beethoven.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/29/2019 at 7:21 AM, OrionLM said:

Where do you get your inspiration from? And how do you know if you didn't steal it from an other work?

We're all inspired by different things; the trick is discovering what your inspirations are! Composing for other people (dedicating my works) is a huge source of inspiration to me, as is being out in nature. Sometimes attending a symphony orchestra will inspire me, if they're any good.

As to stealing from someone else's work... sorry, that's what composers do! 😉 No matter how original you may think your melody, you've subconsciously borrowed it from somewhere. Probably not the whole thing, but certainly bits and pieces. Over time, your style will develop (hopefully) and your "sound" will become your own. In these early stages of composing, though, don't worry too much about sounding like a certain composer, or about stealing from another work. (Unless you do it on purpose—that's not cool.)

Happy composing!

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