How to be a good composer?

Hey! :) I compose music, but I'm too ametaur. How can I master at it? Can listening different kinds of music help me about it?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Have a diverse background. I know I've talked about him a lot, but one reason why I like Mark Tremonti a lot is because of that. His main focus is hard rock and heavy metal, but he's talked in interviews about the 1960s and 70s soft/pop rock that his mother used to listen to. As for me, my main focus is also heavier rock, but I also incorporate elements of classical music and soft rock.

    Listen to/hang out with other musicians. You can gain insights from them, get ideas, learn stuff, write stuff with them, etc.

    Spend some time away from music once every now and then. I don't mean take a month off at a time, but if you play your instrument 24-7 and you're always trying to come up with new stuff, sometimes you need to take a break. Sometimes, that means just taking an hour or two or an entire day.

    You also need to have a good ear. You might play a chord, but you could hear another note that you need to add or change the chord shape in some way. You need to listen for that additional layer that might just distinguish the sound you're going for.

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What Guys Said 4

  • Get lots of feedback. As a brass player and classical music enthusiast, I love hearing new stuff. In my university's music program, the wind ensemble actually spent a week playing through the composition students' pieces. Some of them worked, a lot of them didn't. I feel like working by yourself can have an echo-chamber effect, where it's the same ideas going around and around. So if you can get input once in a while from others (not that you have to take it on board) I think that might open up your thinking to new ideas.

    Also, don't get sucked into being too cerebral. Counterpoint and Fugues are awesome, while simple melodies are catchy. Try finding a balance between interesting and enjoyable listening.

    Lastly, if you are writing for live band / orchestra, do think of the musicians. Time and time again I've seen awful, droning parts in the low brass paired with repetitive shrill flurries in the upper winds. Use the ranges and flavours of the group. Low clarinet and flute can sound soulful, while high trombone are joyful, and french horn are regal.

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  • Generally that's what music composers do... They rip off small portions of other composers work until they become confident enough to find their own style.

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  • You should get an instructor and focus on one instrument. Take some classes too.

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  • Beethoven was deaf, so maybe that the secret.

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What Girls Said 2

  • Write more music. Try to write every day, if you can, or try to devote at least a couple of hours a day, four to five days a week, to composition. This is basically an extension or reinforcement of the previous point; when you play music, or hear it, or look at scores, ask yourself questions: What makes this work, or not work? How does it work? What makes audiences respond (positively or negatively) to this music? How do you respond to the music, and what is it about the music that elicits that response? How is a particular sonic colour created? How detailed is the score? What notation conventions are used, and are there any there that you could use, or even be inspired by?

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  • Try listening to different musics.

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