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Have you ever composed music?
#2687697 11/06/17 09:05 PM
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Have you ever composed a piece of music? For the piano? How did it turn out? Did you write it down (notate it) or did you compose at the piano and memorize at the same time?



I took a shot a while back, using MuseScore for notating, but it was before I took music theory classes so I didn't have much of a framework (except for my ear) for the composition. I kept changing things so that it sounded better. If I did it again, now, I'd be more mindful of chord progressions and things of that sort.


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687710 11/06/17 10:44 PM
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I'd guess that most classical pianists have composed piano music at some time, and written it down. Some even dare to play one or two of their own pieces in concert, though they may not regard themselves as composers. More likely, they'll only perform their own arrangements of existing music (songs etc), usually as encores, like Horowitz, Volodos etc.

I started composing in my mid teens (when I was fluent in harmony, counterpoint etc), and have a stack of my own music, all written in pencil, on manuscript paper. Mostly solo piano music, but also a few pieces for violin & piano, cello & piano, and clarinet & piano and songs (voice & piano). I don't compose at the piano (I 'hear' it in my head and write it down), but I do try the music out on the piano after I've finished it, and sometimes change a few things then. Only one or two people have ever heard my music.

I've also made my own piano transcriptions of orchestral music, songs etc, which I've performed in my recitals.

Some of the greatest pianists in history - like Artur Schnabel and Dinu Lipatti - have composed a lot of music which only recently have been performed & recorded by other people. For classical pianists, the main problem is that they realize their own music cannot bear comparison with those by great composers, so they never dare to play it in public.


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687758 11/07/17 03:59 AM
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If solo improvs also count as "composing" then yes, although to a very limited extent. My theory isn't yet that great.

Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687761 11/07/17 04:58 AM
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Sure, I compose all the time. I use Sibelius for writing out notation. It's all too easy, when using software away from the keyboard, to write something that can only be played by a three-armed pianist. However, I don't like working things out in front of the piano and then transcribing them -- I often forget what I played before I can write it down. So in practice I have to go through several revisions, writing out notation and then playing it (hopefully), then amending it to get what seems to be the best compromise between playability and musicality. I'm sure other people have other methods. I did once attend a composition course where we had to write everything out on manuscript paper, with no opportunity to hear it played except in our own heads, until the work was complete. This was a harrowing experience for me, and I admire people who can work that way.

Re: Have you ever composed music?
bennevis #2687762 11/07/17 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

Some of the greatest pianists in history - like Artur Schnabel and Dinu Lipatti - have composed a lot of music which only recently have been performed & recorded by other people. For classical pianists, the main problem is that they realize their own music cannot bear comparison with those by great composers, so they never dare to play it in public.


This is, indeed, a problem. Happily, my limited compositional skills are a match for my limited performance skills. My murdering my own work probably doesn't sound much worse than my murdering of Chopin or Bach.

Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687779 11/07/17 06:40 AM
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When I started improvising on the piano in second year of music school, I simultaneously started drawing my notes on paper, which replaced my complete lack of talent for drawing. In the end, I prefer to improvise; but for definitely set goals (music to the television series, a project for jazz festival or an ensemble of students), I just sit down and write music.

Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687816 11/07/17 11:51 AM
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Yes -- I've written one and a third songs. I even spent the $35 to register the finished one with the copyright office. The other one has the best chorus, I still need a bridge and verse for it. I didn't intend to write them, it just sort of happened while I was sitting at the piano pressing some keys.


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687820 11/07/17 12:03 PM
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Yes. About two years ago I wrote my first piece kind of by accident. As of now I have composed 12 original pieces of different styles and length. About half of them have been performed in public so far.

The process always starts off as me playing around my piano either looking for ideas or transcribing a melody that just came to me. I write down the notes on a yellow ledger pad, and then use Sibelius to officially transcribe the piece. Please note that 100% of all my pieces were written by me; no computer-generated stuff.

About half of the pieces I have copyrighted. This all came out of the blue; I had never composed anything until after my 60th birthday. Go figure....


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687882 11/07/17 06:24 PM
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I have not.

But, I have great admiration for those who have or can. I will love to compose once I reach the point that I am comfortable enough at the piano that playing doesn't occupy the entirety of my mental capacity. blush Right now, playing is still a struggle, and I do not yet have good understanding of keys, chords, etc., to put ideas down on paper. I do have the capacity to imagine melodies and harmonies in an auditory manner, and enjoy creating and playing little melodies in my head.

One day, I will compose! smile


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687897 11/07/17 07:46 PM
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I have and am currently on a hiatus from working on an oratorio (I am half a movement from being done, I think). Surprisingly, most of what I've composed is for choir, but perhaps that was more necessity, but honestly, I find it more inspiring than solo piano to compose. I've written a handful of solo piano works, and song cycle, a piece for organ (which was to go with a video about a dog - wish I could find that video! - quite comical) and some random orchestral pieces.

I would love to compose more seriously, but I am a VERY slow composer, so I'd need to devote hours each day just to get a simple melody. But I have so many other interests and diversions right now. I do plan on getting back to at least finish the oratorio, and maybe beg some contacts to get it performed. wink

My process is generally I have Finale open, and then I improvise for a while to come up with ideas. Usually I have a vague sense of what affect I'm trying to achieve. Once I was in a long car ride (18 hours?) and composed a complete movement of my oratorio in my head. That was pretty cool, until I got to Finale and realized that the modulations in my head didn't really work on paper. Still, I had the bones of it, and it's my favorite composition thus far.


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687913 11/07/17 09:22 PM
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I've done one piano piece so far and started it back in May and finished it towards the end of June then comes the struggle with dynamics. I have the music where I want it but I need to just play it and not screw it up. As far as writing it down I either write it down in a notebook that's on my music stand or on blank staff paper then I take it into Musescore and try to get it to sound how I play them. Getting the notes to the program has been the biggest learning curve for me.

The other stuff that I write uses four instruments (bass guitar, guitar, drums, keyboard) usually start with me fiddling around on my bass. I'd input that into a program called LMMS then figure out drums, guitar and keys digitally. I finally got one of those this morning into Musescore and plan on doing that for the rest of my full band compositions as well as my piano one.


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Re: Have you ever composed music?
Stubbie #2687948 11/08/17 02:32 AM
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Not in a classical type of style for solo piano, but have for other genres using many other instruments/sounds.


Czerny's Piano School Vol. 1, now at #77 and giving it a break.

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