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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  • So do you think that composers may tend to be more obsessive and compulsive, or OCD, as they call it?

  • Yes, in a word.

  • Great questions, Adrian.

    I can only speak from experience.  I write piano solos, and my inspiration simply comes from wanting to write songs.  Period.  Sorry it's not sexy, but this is the way it's been for me. 


    I will say, though that many lyricists I've read about say lyric writing does often come from pain.  Love and loss, etc., etc.  I guess you have to go through something deep in order for it to manifest itself in art, whether it be music, painting, etc.  While I have experienced as much loss as anyone my age, and have had ups and downs just like anybody, I am thankful to have never experienced profound suffering.  I guess that's why I've never felt (yet) the muse to write lyrics.


    Hope this helps.


    Great topic!!!!




  • I quite frequently have music playing in my head.  It plays things I've written (not very often), things I want to write, and things already written by others.  Perhaps immortalizing those pieces by transcribing them and sharing them with others keeps my head from getting cluttered.  I heard a quote once - "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."


    As for my mental health, there was a period of about 3 years in which I was depressed most of the time.  This time was before I got into composing though, so while I can't speak to its effects on my composing, I was listening to music EXTREMELY frequently during this time.

  • I was a trained percussionist when young, and older I played drums naturally. I got out of it... I was always "drawn" to pitched music, but, drummers dont really make heads nor tails out of pitched instruents, LMAO

    I finally played around with it in my spare time when older (I'm 44) one time too many, lol... I got hooked.

    Its sort of like some kind of "ultimate crossword puzzle" to me somehow,

    ALso, at some point, the old lady and me split up for about a year... I needed something extra to throw myself into, something I couldnt possibly "master" and get bored with... Ka-boom... delving into music.

    I have done music when in good moods, or, fell and fey moods. many times when i think I CAN make something, nothing of any not happens... other times, I am just piddling around, not epecting anything, and i get a small piece out i like. Theres never any telling.

    I am definitely drawn towards "heavy" pieces, and i like the "intense, scary" pieces... but i quickly came to appreciate delicate beauty, too.

    though i am not "good" at composing, it DOES give me some measure of satisfaction somehow, similar to other difficult hobbies.

    traditionally, i was a math and science type of thinker... I used to be into writing a ways back, and now i realize that was "art" and "creativity"....  I never knew I had any "artist" in me, its sometimes still quite a shock.

    I am not what one would call "gifted" at this hobby, LMAO... its all personal satisfaction.

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