The composer's state of mind

I think it is time we discussed this important topic.

Are most composers driven by some sort of inner insecurity that makes them want to "prove" themselves or "better" themselves with each new piece? Is there a tendency for all artists to suffer from various episodes of depression through their lives?

What in the first place drives the composer (you) to take part in an activity that is painstakingly challenging and offers little guarantee of economic reward or recognition? Do you have unresolved childhood issues? Did other great composers?

Can you write music best when you are deliriously happy, or is a little melancholy good for the creative process?

So just what is the connection between mood and mental health and the process of composition?

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  • While I can't speak too deeply on the psychological and emotional aspects of what drives composers I can tell you that I've written music when I've been both extremely happy/positive and manically depressed. Is insecurity involved? Possibly. I think everyone feels the need to prove their own worthiness to be in the world, even if it's just to themselves and this can be through art, making a family and a home or any sort of career really. I think humans most of the time just feel a need to validate their own existence one way or another.

    I can't say the need in me to write music has come from any childhood/family issues I've had, in fact I had a very stable and loving family home to grow up in, so that can't be it. All, I know is that when my writing is going well and especially when I finish a piece and I'm happy with the way it has turned out there is no "high" that feels better. In a lot of ways it's like a drug and feedback from other people afterwards also helps amplify and confirm that feeling. Conversely when it isn't going so well it can be the most frustrating and depressing thing ever.

    Most of the artists I've known personally tend to have quite varied states of mind and mood swings depending on how a project is going, although some of them are better at hiding it than others and you'd probably never know it unless they confided in you about it. In my opinion learning to handle these "swings", dealing with them and getting on with the job is part of what separates an amateur from a  professional most of the time.

  • I think it's worse for a performer - imagine having to perform and really not being in the mood to make music.

    Composers can take a rest for a night.

  • I have no insecurity, at least nothing fundamental (we can all have moments of doubt). Yes, I've had down moments, as I think every person (not just composers) has had. Why do I compose? because I must. I must because there is an elemental need in me to do so.

  • umm... as far as i can sense, music makes me satisfied, physically

    i enjoy hearing a certain pattern of sound, and endless variations

    also we improve our consciousness by being aware of pulse

    i cant write music as often as i would want to... the creativity is there, but the working brain isnt back from vacation yet
    , which happens all the time lol

  • When the human mind enters into a creative state, his brain wave patterns change. I think it's called Thetawave state when you are the most creative and imaginative. It's the same principle as falling into a deep sleep or meditative trance; it's all about changing brain waves, changing gears, etc.

    Remember to exercise your brain by changing brain waves actively. That's how you stay sharp. ;)

  • I write music for the sae reason I cook. I enjoy the proccess and the result. I love tasting (or listening) a recipe (a piece), but I like observing the deeper relations in ingredients (music). maybe I come up with something that appeals to someone else, maybe not. I sure enjoy myself.

    As for the state of mind, I am not sure. I do not find a certain emotion to be needed to write music. Although I find deeper ideas are darker in mood. maybe because joy and happiness is a simpler feeling than sadness. for me at least.

    I sometimes find myself caught into writting. those times I may sit there for 3 or 4 hours, preferably with smoke and coffee, and not realise how quick time passes. That's my closest to the trance noah talks about.

  • I am involved in music (whether performing or writing) for the love of beauty, of sound, of pattern and of challenge.  Music exercises the furthest reaches of my abilities and then stretches my capacity, pushes my boundaries, expands my understanding, disciplines my thought processes.  In fact it is just the opposite of depression.  "Not being in the mood." is not functional (for a performer especially) so it demands of me the self discipline to grow, to get out of a mood that is incapacitating and to step up to a new level of achievement.  These are all personally satisfying.  The rest -- living in the world, paying the bills, meeting the demands of daily life -- are what can lead to the ups and downs.  

    I do not share the psycho-analytic view of music, nor the "hollywood" (dramatic angst) version.   Mood and emotions are only one part of what is expressed in art.  I am equally inspired by the physical, mental and spiritual aspects.  So music, for me, is a full-on life-expanding challenge and joy.  It is only when I get tired, bored, moody, or negative that this joy slips away.   I was inspired to see my 93 year old composing teacher, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, take the score he was working on to the hospital and continue to his last moments.  He didn't do it out of some competitive or masochistic or psychological need to seek aproval! Not at that point in his life.  He did it because it was what comforted him and gave him joy and a sense of continuity.

  • I once read a book by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which had a painter in it. AS said that the secret of every artist is that they always feel like the piece they are working on *right now* is the best thing they have ever done. I've had this feeling! As far as whether mood affects things, of course!

  • 1.Insecurity is part of the emotions that drive composers, like any other creative mind!!!!Apart from a few "Lost case's"  every human being wants to "prove"him/herself.In case of composers,composing provides the window for that!!

    Same goes for the "better"-ing process!!It is part proving process!!

    The moment the artist-1.Can not achieve what he wants to create

                                     2.Can satisfy himself but others are not interested

    the depression creeps in!!

    3.Driving force, in the first place, comes from the satisfaction of creating something which is uniquely yours!!

    Then there is the added incentive of getting that ever alluring immortality and fame from your compositions!!

    Not to mention other earthly rewards(money,adulation........)

    4.I feel if the creation is original then-the mood of the creator is bound to be reflected in his/her work be it painting/song/poem/music!!!

    Normally mood of the composition varies directly with mood of the creator(of course there are some exceptions which are wonder full).

    What do you think?!!

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  • Composers write or don't write as well as develop or don't develop for a plethora internal and external reasons on physiological, psychological, and metaphysical levels. I've got physiological, psychological, and or metaphysical issues on an internal and an external plane from my past and my present that create an obsession and a compulsion to write and to develop. I write well when I'm given guidelines and a deadline, regardless of state of being, as it feeds the obsession and the compulsion.

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