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Hi All,

I was thinking about whether I had a compositional technique or not. I think it's OK and maybe normal for most composers to not have a compositional technique, because if they do, most don't talk about it.

I was reading Lutoslawski on music, and he says something like "I worked out a technique suitable for my music". I'd guess that most of us composers do that. But I'd be interested to know if you had a specific compositional technique, and what it is and how you came about it?

Cheers,

Rob

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Not really. If I think of an idea I jot it down in whatever way I can - awkward if I'm driving! - then wonder later on if it's worth developing. Sometimes if I feel like playing piano for something to do I record the session on my little Tascam thing just in case something turns up. I'm not one to think 'I ought to compose something...' get a manuscript pad out and stare at it waiting for inspiration to strike and getting frustrated if it doesn't.

The big change was the arrival of the daw. There was also notation software which I quickly realised would be unusable in the initial sketching stages. Looking at a blank sheet with pre-set barlines and bars filled with rests was like looking out of a prison cell! You can't set it just to 'blank' and work without bar lines. These days my ms sketches are pretty rough and I sort them out in the daw. I hope, sooner or later, to be able to export midi files to notation software and edit them there.  I sometimes sketch something out in coloured pastels on black paper. 

However, a daw threatens to make me lazy. Formerly I'd orchestrate a piece as part of the composing stage even if abbreviations on a short score then transcribe it to the daw. Now it's too easy to try things out in the daw rather than just correct the original idea. I don't cheat in the daw. I try to get the instrumental dynamics as I'd expect an orchestra to play.

So there it is.....!

I hate anything which gets in the way of putting notes down, so I just start putting notes down and then the next notes, and then the next, until it's done

To quote Clint Eastwood: "Whatever Which Way You Can."

I kind of figured it would be different for most composers. I think there would be benefits to writing to a technique that you've figured out, or even another's technique. That would give you a starting point at least, but these things are probable already internalized.

I usually try to find a melody first, and things unfold from there. But, for large orchestral pieces that process does not work. 

That said, I guess the days of music like Beethoven's are over, just not in the concert hall, so most of us do not write out our music in sketch form and then test to see what works best and join it all together. 

Universities do not really teach the way of Beethoven's form of construction either, so, I guess it's left to us to figure out what works best.



Dane Aubrun said:

Not really. If I think of an idea I jot it down in whatever way I can - awkward if I'm driving! - then wonder later on if it's worth developing. Sometimes if I feel like playing piano for something to do I record the session on my little Tascam thing just in case something turns up. I'm not one to think 'I ought to compose something...' get a manuscript pad out and stare at it waiting for inspiration to strike and getting frustrated if it doesn't.

The big change was the arrival of the daw. There was also notation software which I quickly realised would be unusable in the initial sketching stages. Looking at a blank sheet with pre-set barlines and bars filled with rests was like looking out of a prison cell! You can't set it just to 'blank' and work without bar lines. These days my ms sketches are pretty rough and I sort them out in the daw. I hope, sooner or later, to be able to export midi files to notation software and edit them there.  I sometimes sketch something out in coloured pastels on black paper. 

However, a daw threatens to make me lazy. Formerly I'd orchestrate a piece as part of the composing stage even if abbreviations on a short score then transcribe it to the daw. Now it's too easy to try things out in the daw rather than just correct the original idea. I don't cheat in the daw. I try to get the instrumental dynamics as I'd expect an orchestra to play.

So there it is.....!

I fool around with the notes until they sound right.

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