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1 year, 11 months ago
As musicians compose music: Whether they hear music in the head

I know a little about music, but, say that musicians hear and compose music in the head. They really hear all these fast transitions, difficult accords and sounds which are in Liszt's music?

For example, very fast tune in rhapsodies No. 2 or sounds from the rhapsody No. 6 (it is impossible to believe that they are given birth by a grand piano), or a fine ending of the rhapsody No. 12.


Anonymous author: I have a music education, and I practised music many years (approximately from 6 to 23 years). I will note that now I work as the programmer and I will not dare to call myself the professional composer, however I am a quite good musician, I can appear on stage, conduct an orchestra, act with an orchestra, teach children, compose short works, etc.

If you have ear for music, and it absolute, then can "hear" music in the head, reading notes. Looking at the score, you can provide as it will sound (with a pinpoint accuracy).

Now we will talk about the composition.

As far as I know, there are at least three main methods of creation of music.

Intuitive method or method on the basis of inspiration

In the head the whole work is born. At first you hear it, and then write. It just appears in your head from nowhere. I wrote one work in such a way, and it was strange experience. While I was inspired, I was not abandoned by feeling that I "borrowed" the hands, and "something" played them composition, and I wrote it on paper.

Actually, it occurred at examination in composition: I did not prepare, came for an hour before examination, wrote work and successfully handed over it (however I recommend to prepare). The lack of this method is that if you have no inspiration, then the magic will not occur – there will be no music.

Possibly, music is born in your subconsciousness or somewhere else. I think that the idea gradually forms in the depth of your reason and, eventually, turns into result. Then you hear it and write. Sometimes you have no choice because the idea "demands" that it was written. Not to confuse this feeling with anything.

Methodological method or approach on the basis of knowledge

If you well know the theory of music (very much well), then will be able to create composition as it is created by computer programs: you select the main motive, and then you compose music on paper according to rules of harmony and other ideas which you want to realize. At such approach you create music "from scratch", adjusting its sounding at each stage.

The music created in such a way can seem boring, unemotional or predictable. I heard one work which is obviously created by such method, and it was the most boring. For writing of worthy music you need a lot of theoretical knowledge.

Combination of two methods

It is difficult to receive all tune entirely only on the basis of inspiration. It is also difficult to create the whole tune, being based only on theoretical knowledge. Therefore you can mix two of these methods. You thought up motive which is pleasant to you (inspiration), and then, using knowledge, you turn it into full-fledged composition (harmony). During game the inspiration can return to you and bring with itself the tune rest.

Use of mix two the technician – is probable, the best idea. The matter is that when the tune "appeared at you in the head", you will not be able to write it completely – one minute at most. It is not enough for full work.

What I told above will be suitable for writing of music with use of real musical instruments.

For electronic music there is one more method – a trial and error method. At first you start the musical program with an empty template, then begin to repeat some musical drawing and gradually add audio effects, watching changes. If you like what you hear, then the project remains, and process of imposing of effects continues.

Change a rhythm, listen – change clock period, add bit. Lose again. Impose other templates and so on. This process absolutely differs from a methodological method and is suitable for electronic or non-standard music more. It is possible to give the child playing cubes as analogy. The understanding of the changes happening when adding this or that effect is necessary.



Curtice Lindsey (Curtis Lindsay): When we listen to "The Hungarian rhapsodies" of Liszt, we listen to music which, most likely, was given rise during improvisation.

Liszt, as well as many other great musicians of that time, was incredibly experienced improvisator and exceeded in it many composers. Possibly, not all "The Hungarian rhapsodies" were given rise equally, however improvisation became a key to their creation. After the tune was ready, it was just improved and ground.

Other explanation – at composers is different methods of work, but almost all of them are connected with reproduction and processing of music "in the head". Nobody sits down to compose music by formal rules of the theory. The theory of music is an analytical method, it is not intended for its creation.

As a rule, the majority of compositions are created by means of musical instruments, is more often by means of keyboard, for example, pianos. But sometimes composers prefer to work without them, using only the reason and paper.



Dennis Hoffmann (Dennis Hoffmann): Personally I, especially in recent years, always submit the new song at myself in the head. Or at least its part. Usually while something arises in my head, I get phone and I sing a tune on a dictophone not to forget.

If the motive turns out very good, then I can begin to compose the song entirely. I am an awful drummer, but I can provide as drums … a bass batch … a guitar batch … will sound as the guitar has to sound.

My strength is a writing of lyrics. When I was younger, at first wrote words, and then imposed music. But over the years changed the opinion – now I at first compose music, and then I write lyrics, reducing or extending some parts of composition to find room for everything that it is necessary for me.

However in many cases the structure of a song can change. Now I mostly work one and I write several tracks, I create a drum rhythm, I add a synthesizer, I write guitar parts and bass guitars, etc. In the course of creation (especially when I program synthesizers) I can change something because found a sound which initially was not going to use, but which well approaches. Certainly, there is a lot of freedom of action.

Sometimes I write live game of musicians, but I do not create synthetic sounds therefore changes – to all by fault style of game of the contractor can be made to final composition. I consider that it is not the most pleasant method of creation of music.

The song is pleasant to me such what I it wrote, and I do not love when someone spoils it the game. But sometimes this necessary evil – I can not always receive a sound necessary to me artificially therefore I employ the person who will be able to play it.

If in brief, then, really, everything begins in my head.

P.S. It is more than materials on musical creativity, acoustic nuances and a sound in our blog and podcasts.

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