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#1151449 - 08/08/07 09:11 PM What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Composers, What inspires you to compose? Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151450 - 08/08/07 09:42 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Jimmo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 67
Loc: United Kingdom
That's actually not an easy question to answer...

Sometimes something just "pops out" while improvising. I have a whole load of musical "sketches" that end up inserted into some other work later.

Sometimes it's translation of my mood at the time, sometimes it's a deliberate decision to try and capture an emotion.

Sometimes it's just plain fun! At this moment, I'm working on a combination of polka and good ol' red neck banjo...for no better reason than it makes me laugh! \:\)
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#1151451 - 08/08/07 10:18 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Jimmo...Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading your post. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151452 - 08/08/07 10:24 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Easy, I don't have a choice. I'm an unhappy person when I'm not writing.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#1151453 - 08/08/07 10:37 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Dan M. Good for you as this is your gift. You sound like my brother. Retired from being a pro for many years. He told me the same thing you stated. My belief is that when musicians share music ideas, etc. they inspire and learn from each. This forum inspires me to work harder in piano. Thank you for sharing with us Dan. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151454 - 08/09/07 02:33 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2628
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Ned Rorem used to answer the "why do you compose?" question with, "Because no one else writes music I enjoy listening to."

However, you've asked what inspires me. I could answer "to give myself music to learn," but that would be just a little disingenuous. I compose when I have an idea or concept I wish to explore and/or express.

Of course a real commission can be very inspiring!

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#1151455 - 08/09/07 06:08 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
superlocrian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Dallas, TX
Why do I compose?

1) inspiration 2) boredom 3) necessity

although an examination of the end product will usually yield a clear distinction between the three.

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#1151456 - 08/11/07 02:27 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Sometimes it's something as simple as the sound of a certain key. For instance, I might be playing a song in f# minor and I think....hmmm..I need to write a song in that key......maybe a particular meter as well.

rada
www.pianopassions.com

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#1151457 - 08/11/07 03:33 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by superlocrian:
Why do I compose?

1) inspiration 2) boredom 3) necessity

although an examination of the end product will usually yield a clear distinction between the three. [/b]
Exactly the same for me.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1151458 - 08/11/07 09:08 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Has anyone composed to express sorrow? My sister died, no warning of her illness, I was so very sad.... for 2 years. I then decided to write a song, compose just for her. Now when I miss her I play her song. It consoles me right away. People tell me it is so beautiful to them and they do not hear the sadness for some reason. It is New Age in my mind, not as much structure as classical...Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151459 - 08/17/07 05:01 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Bkek Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Berlin
I hadn't written for many years. After travelling around the world a couple of times and working in culture alien to my own, I found myself with something.

Something to say, to describe, to express. I'm not sure. But now I can think of a memory and picture it as a score. I remember a person, a place or event and notes come to mind.

Sandy - I did once write a piece when a friend of the family died. It reminds me of him and his life. I don't think anyone else relates it to him, but as I thought of him as I wrote it I do. Memories of life are many things.
_________________________
"Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music." Rand

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#1151460 - 08/17/07 07:29 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Bkek, Thank you for sharing... You are gifted... I wonder if you come for a musical family too? Inherited talent? My much younger, 16 years, brother, John Pineau, during the 70's and 80's was a music pro with his Starfire Band, he sang, composed,arranged,sold at least one compostion to TV for a race track commercial. Good money for that one... I do what you do and I create a canvas in my mind, or a setting, and, then the music I want to create comes to me. I still study composition now for fun, a hobby. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151461 - 09/04/07 09:04 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Bkek Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Berlin
Sorry it's taken a while to reply. I've been busy moving house.

Thank you for the compliment, I always take as many as I can. I hope you feel the same way when I finally put my work out there.
_________________________
"Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music." Rand

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#1151462 - 09/04/07 10:38 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
You alone earned my compliment with your wonderful music. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1151463 - 09/05/07 01:12 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
thepianist2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 191
Loc: NY
I wouldn't say it's called inspiration. It's just something you do. Sometimes you write crap. But you keep writing, and eventually you get something that sounds "inspired". I think it was Einstein who said genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. You make your own inspiration, and if you don't have it when you start, what the heck, you keep going anyways. It'll come somewhere. Read What To Listen For In Music by Aaron Copland. He's got a short passage on it in there, and I'd post it, but there are so many other benefits to reading the book that you might as well read all of it. One thing he did say is that for a composer, composing is like breathing. You don't need to be inspired to breath, in fact, you have to do it, whether you're inspired or not. It's gut instinct.
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#1151464 - 09/05/07 01:16 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I don't have piano lessons during the summer.

School started this week, and my first lesson is next Monday. I've been working on writing a theme and variation set all summer, and I really want to play it for my teacher at my first lesson next week -- but it's not finished yet!

I've already learned how to "play" everything I've written so far (except for the last variation which I'm not entirely happy with), so that leaves me 5 days to finish writing / practicing before I want to play it for my piano teacher!

(I'm taking a break from practicing now to write more -- but sadly, the library computers have an older version of Finale that won't open my file! Back to pen and paper, I suppose!)
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Sam

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#1151465 - 09/05/07 01:41 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2628
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I wrote a piece inspired by the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. The death of a beloved character, Dumbledore, reminded me of when I was young and JFK, RFK and MLK were assassinated. Sometimes the emotions are too strong to allow cogent thinking on a matter. I have yet to write anything about the death of my mother 30+ years ago.

BTW, the New Music Box has an interesting article about Jennifer Higdon. Here's a link.

http://www.newmusicbox.org/article.nmbx?id=5218

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#1151466 - 12/04/07 10:24 AM Re: What inspires you to compose?
emopiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Botswana
i dont think its easy to say that one thing inspires one...i think its always different things because one is in different places all the time and different situations...
sometimes i find a tune by just messing around and improvising and the other night i was outside and there was lighting and it looked so beautiful and i thought of not a tune but of the feeling of the piece...
anyway...i dont have te technical ability to carry it out and i couldnt find a suitable dramatic tune so it didnt really come out.. \:\)
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Play piano
hail chopin and liszt
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#1151467 - 12/05/07 03:08 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Part of my inspiration is that I see a hole in the repertoire -- where's the Jewish piano music? Certainly, there is music out there, and it's not well-known, for whatever reasons. At the same time, there is *plenty* of room for more, and I'd like to help make that hole a little smaller.

It's been very frustrating for me, as a young nationalist, to seek and not find these kinds of music that I want to play! So I write my own, and maybe others will enjoy it, too.
_________________________
Sam

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#1151468 - 12/09/07 04:49 AM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4992
Loc: Europe
Many reasons really...

1. I'm a "trained" composer. I studied (and still do) composition. This is my "job".
2. That said, I get paid to compose (which is always a nice initiative \:D )
3. I also compose because I need to. My life revolves around ideas that evolve into music/form/compositions.
4. I compose because I want to help someone, in a computer game (for free, in freeware cases).
5. Commissions
6. I started composing, and I guess have never quit, because I was missing something. I was stuck for many many years, until the age of 16 or so, to grade 2 or 3, with Czerny 100 and then Czerny 40 and then Czerny 30 (or 30 first and 40 then, don't remember). Hated every bit! So I started what I wanted to play and hear. Trying (without knowing anything really) to stretch the piano repertoire, as I knew it (which then didn't include even Bartok, or Prokofiev). So simmilarly to Sam.
7. To communicate. Although I write music for music's shake, especially in more commercial venues, still I find that I need to have 1-2-3 central ideas as the cores of my pieces. I don't fancy writing "only music", no matter how bizzare it may sound. An excuse like... "Because it sounds good", is not good enough for me. I prefer to state a few reasons that spine the whole work, and emerge and blah blah... (PhD at fault probably here).
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#1151469 - 12/16/07 11:11 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
CPKM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/07
Posts: 12
Loc: California, USA
To paraphrase the words of my teacher's teacher, Nadia Boulanger: "Composers don't choose to compose, 'it' chooses them."

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#1151470 - 12/17/07 10:03 AM Re: What inspires you to compose?
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Nadia Boulager's quote definitely captures the feeling I have about composing.
rada
www.pianopassions.com

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#1151471 - 12/19/07 07:08 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
MissT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/20/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Quebec, Quebec
It's surprising how strong emotions help us create. It's not an essential, I can compose on demand, often for movie scores, or just out of boredom (I give myself objective and it works pretty well, stuff like a tonality, a mood or a technique). But it's never as good, as strong, as when I composed when really bad stuff just happened to me, and it's such a good pain reliver.
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#1151472 - 12/22/07 05:41 PM Re: What inspires you to compose?
Kage Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 74
Its weird you know, but I tend to create the best pieces when somethings bothering me or if somethings happened to me thats bad, but these tend to produce more moody songs as a result.

I am also very unhappy when I don't use my creative side of my brain, and dare I say depressed. Abeit, making a song, creating a 3D model, drawing, etc. Its something that I can't live without.

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