I was just curious about what you all think about composers as in those who study music, theory, play an instrument, have experience in music etc. compared to "composers", or those who go out, buy a computer, midi keyboard and some samples and call themselves composers.

*NOTE: I am not intending any disrespect or offense to those in or outside of this forum who are "composers". I use the quotation marks as a way of distinguishing between the two types this post is about.

Recently, a young 18 year-oldish "composer" in my area emailed me out of the blue and stated that they liked my music on my website. They liked the style and asked me questions about harmony and things specific to how I compose music. They attached YouTube links to their stuff. Well, I go to their YouTube pages and am blown away by the quality of the samples they use, and the music sounds pretty damn good, better than my sample libraries! Under the description they state "This was made in an hour, unmastered" yadda yadda. This person also had won a scoring award from some film festival.

I'm jealous obviously, and a little upset. It took me five years of music school and about five more years of scoring experience to get to where I'm at today, and I'm not even doing this for a living yet-Heck, I've never even received an award for composing! I started with REASON 2.0 and worked up to Logic Pro 9. Within the past year I finally saved enough to get a nicer sound sampler for strings and brass, along with a faster computer but I'm still nowhere near the specs this person has. Anyways, I called the "composer" up and we chatted. I was very interested to see how they started, and to find out about what samples they used, and about their studio.

They stated that they had about $5K and just got a really nice computer, sound samples that were top shelf right now, and a midi keyboard. They had only been composing for maybe a month or so. The reason they got in touch with me was to see if I could collaborate by teaching some scales and some basic theory, keyboarding skills, etc. in return for "playing around with my samples". Let's just say we haven't been in touch but I keep tabs on this person and they are continuing scoring projects. They are doing in no time what I have tried to be doing for over 5+ years.

Am I a bad person to have somewhat of a loathing towards this "composer"? I mean, we are all striving for success in this world, we all want to be heard, we're all in the same boat if you will. I'm happy for what this person has accomplished and am so jealous at the ear he has for writing music, but it seems like anyone nowadays can just buy a bunch of equipment and call themselves a composer without an ounce of musical/orchestral/etc knowledge. To me, that's unfair, then again, I have a computer and a keyboard and sound samples. That's how I make my music. But I spent years playing in ensembles, studying theory and starting my studio from scratch. No wonder this industry is tough - There's so many people who can just do it right off the bat, get inspired by the latest Hans Zimmer-scored movie, purchase equipment and then boom! They are now "composers".

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  • Dimitri that is because they know the quality they can achieve from their piano, so they know when it is not the best possible-however, do they know the quality they can achieve with a hi-fi system? Most cannot realise that even positioning your low end speakers right can make a huge difference to the sound and stereo image. This reminds me of people that ask "what's wrong with the electric piano", while they have never listened to a piano live. If they did they would know better ;)

  • Hey Spiros, that's weird don't you think? So they never wonder on how to achieve that quality sound with a hi-fi system? Do you really believe that? Hmm, maybe you are right, I would even know how my piano was built from the inside to the outside, I'd know how to tune it and how I want it to sound...it might take some time to learn this, but I'm sure i'd be able to do that. And I'd get the best orchestral sound out of my speakers too (out of my budget I mean :-))

    Would they move the piano around in the study room to get the best sound? I would have thought this is a fundamental thing when creating/playing music, but it is not it seems. Maybe i'm naive when I think composers/artists are all "audiophiles" :-)

  • Composers with a formal or informal education via an public education, private education, or self-education are composers whilst those that don't aren't. The following are additional titles of respect who aren't composers but who write: copyist, editor, orchestrator, arranger, media writer, and song writer.

    No matter our title of respect, we can't all write the same quality of music and quantity of music. If we elect to write for people, then it matters not the greatness of our tools; the greatness of our ideas do matter. If we elect to write for computers, then it matters a great deal what tools we utilize: our ideas also matter a great deal.

    We all have good feelings towards some writers and bad feelings towards some writers. What we do with our feelings is the most important. We should take the writer we have bad feelings towards and resolve the issues within; the problem is us not them. We should take the writer we have good feelings towards and integrate their style into our own.

    I've found, for me, that I also have bad feelings towards some writers (in particular --- being envious). I, however, find that being envious doesn't help me progress. I've also found that these writers are often envious of me for one reason or another.

    Consider: "The grass appears greener on the other side of the lake".

  • > Composers with a formal or informal education via an public education, private education, or self-education are composers whilst those that don't aren't. The following are additional titles of respect who aren't composers but who write: copyist, editor, orchestrator, arranger, media writer, and song writer.

    Clarification: "There is no rule that we cannot be more than one type of writer".

    Clarification: "There is no rule that a composer cannot use from other writing disciplines to enhance their work".

    > No matter our title of respect, we can't all write the same quality of music and quantity of music. If we elect to write for people, then it matters not the greatness of our tools; the greatness of our ideas do matter. If we elect to write for computers, then it matters a great deal what tools we utilize: our ideas also matter a great 

    Clarification: "No clarification needed thus far".

    > We all have good feelings towards some writers and bad feelings towards some writers. What we do with our feelings is the most important. We should take the writer we have bad feelings towards and resolve the issues within; the problem is us not them. We should take the writer we have good feelings towards and integrate their style into our own.

    > I've found, for me, that I also have bad feelings towards some writers (in particular --- being envious). I, however, find that being envious doesn't help me progress. I've also found that these writers are often envious of me for one reason or another.

    Clarification: "We resolve via obtaining knowledge, wisdom, and competence about a person or people, place(s), thing(s), or idea(s)" as well as acknowledging and accepting that whatever negative thoughts and feelings we harbor effect us in a negative manner and do not allow us to evolve towards enlightenment.

    > Consider: "The grass appears greener on the other side of the lake".

    Clarification: "No clarification needed thus far"

    > Gordon, I fear you are going to anger a great many song writers. By your definition, any great composer who used a folk > song in their work, is not a composer at all, but an arranger.

    I don't make it an appoint to be an arrogant ignorant provocative being, as had been such in college, ergo please read reread the above if needed.

    > I have "bad feelings" toward Mozart. I understand his work. I have studied it, transcribed it. But I'd rather listen to           > something else. I don't need to resolve anything.

    I addressed this issue in the above. I, however, will address what has been typed and directed at me. Whatever ill feelings you have for the man and or the musician hamper your progress as a composer, but I do consider time, space, and resources to gaining knowledge, wisdom, and competence about him to be partial resolution, yet you're correct in that one has the right to choose to resolve or not to resolve, ergo you don't "need" to resolve whatever you don't "want" to resolve.

    > I think you may be too young to have so many ideas that you hold as "absolutes". There are few absolutes in this life.   > Mostly gray areas.

    Despite being a pedantic academic, I believe in infinite diversity in infinite combinations, which means: "I don't believe in rules and guidelines with absolutes. It's offensive to be told what I believe and what I don't believe as well as being told that I'm not old enough to form enlightened thoughts".

    > By the way, we need one more composer for the fanfare contest by today. I'd be interested in hearing something you    > wrote. A jazz fanfare could be fun.

    I'd love to write something but I've got a gig and a girlfriend I must tend to.

  • I didn't find music to be a challenge before or during an undergraduate education. I found the administration to offer themselves as a damn for people like me via a political agenda. I found the staff to offer a microscopic escape from the impositions of the administration. I found the faculty to be intolerable via their sense of fairness and justice to the mission and vision of the administration rather than the honorable duties of instructing in the fine art of composition. I found follow students to be unwilling and unable to engage in musical conversations.

    I, in truth, happen to be an emotional man and an emotional musician. I, in truth, happen not to be an apathetic intellectual maverick. With intellect on a sojourn to distant places unknown to those unwilling or unable to enter a creative universe, I've got emotions erupting from a galactic center.

    I come here to this forum to discuss what I know and what I don't know. I come here to learn. I come seeking and finding seasoned individuals, like you, that I view as mentors, because said individuals, including you, have experienced more life than I have. I'm sure that your statements were directed at me --- in hopes that I rethink life on life's terms. If so, then rest easier, as I'm not as logical, rational, and dogmatic as I seem to be.

  • I'm often a misunderstood individual. I don't believe communicating in a verbal manner would have altered your perception of me. I do believe communicating in a written manner might augment your distorted perception of me. I'll attempt to provide a final clarification.

    Our individual physiology creates our individual perception. Our universe contains fallacies that are perceived as truths, truths that are perceived as fallacies, truths that are perceived as truths, and fallacies that are perceived as fallacies.

    Our perception is our reality alone. We're limited beings with a limited perception. We're not limitless beings with limitless perception. We don't have the ability to perceive absolutes. We do have the ability to create an individual or shared illusion thereof and believe in such. We don't share the exact experience, even if we believe such --- speaking to the concern of the conflict between the previous sentence and the topic sentence.

    Our existence being a unique experience doesn't mean we can't interact with people, places, things, and ideas. We, however, might be wise to question the universe until we cease to perceive. We, in addition, might be wise, in vain, to struggle to understand each individual's perception.

    I'll conclude with that I personally believe in "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations". I, however, use absolutes as a preventive measure from insanity. The contemplation of a system without absolutes and without limit for too long a period drove me near insanity.

    I'll note that I've got a BM in Composition from Berklee College of Music, which doesn't make me more or less qualified than anyone to be a mentor or protege. We all have something unique to offer to one another, and therefore are all mentors. We all have something unique to receive from one another, and therefore are all proteges.

    I hope this has been most enlightening.

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