0 Can anyone do this? Posted by Lori Sweeney on November 26, 2008 at 4:42am in The Business of Composing So what makes a composer a composer? I mean when are you entitled? Does a composer need a music degree? A contract? A gig? I write music. Can I still be called a composer without any of that, music good or bad? Just curious. Views: 3 You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments! Join Composers' Forum Email me when people reply – Follow
Both can be art. both can be ridiculous.
Today the word 'composer' is stretched across much of the grey area that used to be so very obvious to those writing symphonies vs the Bob Dylan's of the world.
Music is about expression of emotion with notes. Art is about truth. I hope to attain truth and acumen of emotion both in my music with a reverence for tradition and hi level of craft, and to explore new places yet to be discovered as a scientist, yet still being accessible to the lay-man who lives in popular music. I dont expect it is achievable, but that is my personal goal :-)
I consider myself an intellectual, a musician, a philosopher, a listener, a lover. To me to know my art and myself is to have a balanced intonation with the intellect, the emotional being, and the soul. To me, the pursuit must be whole and pure, and therefore I hold just as high to read music and understand theory and harmony, as I do to feel the emotion and simplistic beauty of a single note and a pulse. I hear often polyphonic counterpoint that gets insanely complex, but I try and spend the time to filter it down to the root of the message I am trying to hear. I hold in my heart to be a composer on par with being a doctor or a dedicated public servant of peace, or anything else that takes a lifetime of love and devotion to unfurl all the lovely details :-)
I also think that while there are many levels of intellect on this planet (not all brains are equal!) I feel that every soul is 100% equal and every soul has a real and valid message to speak about in this world. So here is how I judge music:
1. it must not sound synthetically wrong (i.e. bad performances with bad samples leaving a message not intended by the composer)
2. it must speak of truth to the composer (i.e. if a song speaks of truth on some level it is valid, no matter how intellectual or cheesy, but Kenny G with his facade of .... something... needs to be incinerated haha)
3. there is a certain amount of dues that must be paid by the composer to have my full respect. Dues can be found in many ways, it generally comes from someone REALLY trying hard, so very hard, for an extended time, to understand the world around them enough to have something prophetic to say about existence or the human condition
After that, to me, all music is valid and there is no style or complexity requirements to make good music in my book ;-)
At the end of the day, if you feel music and you write it and it speaks truth to you, you are a composer
There's a great quote in "On the Track" (I think) where some great composer says that they all have spent time under the piano feeling sick because they're not good enough. This quote has really helped me whenever I begin to doubt myself. I hope it helps others on here.
They may get a philosophical enlightening, a political motivation or de-motivation, beautiful fairy-tale images, empty-mindness of dull rhythms or song words, joy and desire to dance and sing, beautiful nature images, strong and painful emotions etc. A composer, just like a writer, reflects his (her) own world and feelings of this kind.
So I think a composer should:
a) Well understand what is the thing he (she) is inventing. This can be a new harmony, a writing technique, new instrument combination, new form etc, no matter what is the level of education.
b) Be astonished (inspired and affected) by his (her) own music.
In this case there is a chance to feel oneself a composer and to attract the listeners.
Andrew Gleibman said: