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#1149766 - 01/02/06 06:00 AM How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
hanna2222 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 78
Loc: Northeast Ohio
I find I fall into a lot of musical cliches
when I write stuff...
I think this is where those of you with
better technique, stronger musical backgrounds
may have the advantage.
But it could be lazy thinking on my part too.
Any thoughts on this?
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#1149767 - 01/02/06 03:55 PM Re: How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
kcoul058 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 972
Loc: UBC, Vancouver, Canada
Very hard at first... but you can't worry about that at first... alot of people agree that you kind of have to imitate other composers, songwriters, and the cliches that come from them, until your own voice emerges. One should never worry about this during their "student" period. IMO, the only thing one should worry about at first, is to avoid being "cheesy", shallow, or superficial in their music, unless they are trying to write background music of some kind, in which case it doesn't matter.

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#1149768 - 01/02/06 05:17 PM Re: How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
It is very easy for me, but I do not think it a good idea to worry about how original you are. For instance, if something comes out sounding a lot like Chopin or Waller or somebody else then just let it. Your own voices have to evolve naturally. Indeed, in many people they do not emerge until quite late in life. I cannot see any sense in striving for originality per se. But neither ought we to adoringly emulate the masters or rope in our creations with theories based on what they did.
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#1149769 - 01/02/06 05:41 PM Re: How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
matthewpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 303
Loc: North West United Kingdom
I think the key thing is experience. Experience of life and experience of music.

Alongside my classical piano studies, I have always written songs in a more popular/rock music style but it is only now, at the age of 27 (with about 50 years of life crammed in) that I am starting to feel confident about my product. Life experience informs interesting and original creativity better than anything.

I think my 'sponge' repsonse to a huge range of music has helped as well. I soak up everything I can. As an illustration the list of performers I have seen includes, Alfred Brendel; Kissin; John Lill; several operas (La Traviata, Tosca, Ascanio in Alba, Carmen etc.); several musicals (Les Mis; Phantom; Evita; Guys & Dolls; JCS etc.); most of the great British orchestras; Fleetwood Mac; Elton John; Battlefield BAnd; Ralph McTell; Phats & Small; Animals; Steeleye Span; BJH; Acoustic Strawbs; Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band; Julian Bream; BBC Big BAnd; Jethro Tull; the Lindsay Quartet.

In addition to the classical, rock/pop, folk, theatre etc. I also love jazz and have particular affection for Louis Armstrong, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

I have performed (as pianist, singer or clarinettist) in classical music (including Rach 2, Grieg A Minor, and Beethoven 'Emperor'); theatre music; jazz (including solo and Big Band); opera (as repetiteur); choral (Bach B Minor Mass and St. Matt Passion as repetiteur) etc. etc.

I live and breathe music and this is what is slowly developing my compositional skills. I believe its the only way.
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#1149770 - 01/03/06 12:24 AM Re: How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
The saying comes to mind,

"There's nothing new under the sun."

But along the same lines as matthewpiano listening to a huge variety of styles, I think, keeps the creative juices flowing.

Maybe the key is to not try so hard or make such a conscious effort to be original. I've never put too much thought into purposely setting out to be original nor do I go around purposely trying to duplicate what I hear in music. I just go with whatever idea comes out. To me it all seems original because if I made up something I hadn't heard elsewhere before, it's original.

I do get stuck in one "form" mostly though - question/answer type phrases with song-like tunes. I attribute that to absorbing like a sponge listening as a kid to so much children's and folk songs and other little song tunes that style just naturally comes out whenever I write almost like writing rhyming poetry. For me the music almost has to "rhyme" and I am not original from the standpoint of trying to break out of that style.

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#1149771 - 01/03/06 05:34 AM Re: How hard is it for you to be original in your compositions?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by kcoul058:
Very hard at first... but you can't worry about that at first... alot of people agree that you kind of have to imitate other composers, songwriters, and the cliches that come from them, until your own voice emerges. One should never worry about this during their "student" period. IMO, the only thing one should worry about at first, is to avoid being "cheesy", shallow, or superficial in their music, unless they are trying to write background music of some kind, in which case it doesn't matter. [/b]
I have to agree with everything except the "cheesy" line. ;\) The best student learns to immediately imitate their teacher. After all, it is the quickest way to learn anything. "Do what I do." And after the student learns what the teacher has to teach, the student can progress and further the art itself, but not until the student has learned a substantial amount can this actually take place. ;\)
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