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#1671228 - 05/04/11 09:33 AM Composing with an instrument?
thared33 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/09/09
Posts: 14
Did classical composers often compose for orchestra with only pencil and paper, writing the notes directly onto a score? Is this method still used by any of you? It seems rather difficult since you can't check what's going on, but I think I might try it.

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#1671231 - 05/04/11 09:37 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
Saul Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 743
Loc: Banned
I believe most great composers composed from the piano.
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#1671234 - 05/04/11 09:44 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
Yes, except Beethoven. xD

As a composer, and a musician, you should be able to, to some degree, be able to look at a score and hear it in your head. Obviously some are better at this than others (Beethoven...)and its obsolete to some to waste time at the piano or violin, or whatever.
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Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#1671243 - 05/04/11 10:05 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: Jolteon]
Saul Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 743
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
Yes, except Beethoven. xD

As a composer, and a musician, you should be able to, to some degree, be able to look at a score and hear it in your head. Obviously some are better at this than others (Beethoven...)and its obsolete to some to waste time at the piano or violin, or whatever.


Mendelssohn at age 21 wrote and composed his entire first piano concerto in G minor while traveling on a train from Italy to Munich. The whole trip in the train was 3 days.
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#1671262 - 05/04/11 10:32 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
Beethoven was deaf.


/thread
_________________________

Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#1671264 - 05/04/11 10:33 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: Jolteon]
Saul Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 743
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
Beethoven was deaf.


/thread


Well, in this case, it doesnt matter does it?
_________________________
http://www.musicalpaintings.net

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#1671265 - 05/04/11 10:34 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
No, and that is my point.
_________________________

Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#1671267 - 05/04/11 10:41 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: Jolteon]
Saul Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 743
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
No, and that is my point.


Cool...
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http://www.musicalpaintings.net

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#1671277 - 05/04/11 10:59 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: Jolteon]
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
Beethoven was deaf.


/thread


Yes, but not until the end of his life. Even when his hearing started to go, he still composed at the piano, and certainly it was no foreign tool in his youth.
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Sam

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#1671356 - 05/04/11 12:45 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: pianojerome]
Saul Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 743
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: pianojerome
Originally Posted By: Jolteon
Beethoven was deaf.


/thread


Yes, but not until the end of his life. Even when his hearing started to go, he still composed at the piano, and certainly it was no foreign tool in his youth.


That's right!
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http://www.musicalpaintings.net

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#1672120 - 05/05/11 04:43 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
Unless you have perfect pitch, it's going to be hard to write with just pen and paper. I use the piano as a tool, make notes with pen and paper, then expand on Sibelius. So, I ping back and forth between them. I don't have perfect pitch like Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schönberg etc.
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#1672174 - 05/05/11 06:25 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I usually compose going back and forth between a piano and Finale, or, if I don't have a piano, just Finale.

For me, as I suspect for many other composers, composing is more than just "what sounds good". There's an expressive side to composition that requires theoretical thought, planning, and development. It's much the same way that poetry, in addition to "sounding good", should still have logic and meaning and requires thought and planning. I find that this is much easier to do on paper (or computer) than at a piano. But, I do think there should be some way to have instant feedback, whether that is at a piano or on the computer, because sometimes what is theoretically interesting does not come across well in performance (just like with literature - you can have a great idea but when you read what you've written, it sounds bad.)
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Sam

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#1672180 - 05/05/11 06:34 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: AnonymousInvention]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: AnonymousInvention
Unless you have perfect pitch, it's going to be hard to write with just pen and paper. I use the piano as a tool, make notes with pen and paper, then expand on Sibelius. So, I ping back and forth between them. I don't have perfect pitch like Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schönberg etc.
Not sure if the composers you mention had actual perfect pitch (nor I care actually. I do fine without perfect pitch! :D).

I have a pretty good sense of relative pitch and that's all I need. I don't need to know 'exactly' where the middle C is, but the relavence of what I write.

And, yes, I do write with pencil and manuscript alone. Extremely rarely I'll compose into Finale (or Sibelius, or Musescore, or Notion, or other scoring software). But I do compose on the piano as well, and on Cubase, depending on the style.

*I THINK* (and I believe so, but anyhow that's just me) that composing with an instrument provides a hurdle in the end of the day: We are creatures of habit and our hands and even our ears grow accustomed to what we play and what we hear. The only way to escape that, should we wish to do such a thing, is to work with our brains.
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http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1672386 - 05/06/11 06:45 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
The Trinity-Guildhall AMus exam requires candidates to write a short section of orchestral music in the classical style, on paper, in exam conditions, in forty minutes or so.

So, yes, such skills do exist and are still practiced and highly regarded.

Personally I find this mode of working very difficult, and I wouldn't attempt it other than for an exam.

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#1672465 - 05/06/11 10:11 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: kevinb]
Jolteon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Perth, Australia
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Personally I find this mode of working very difficult, and I wouldn't attempt it other than for an exam.


Then should you not practice doing it if it would help for an exam? smile
_________________________

Algernon: I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.

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#1672484 - 05/06/11 10:56 AM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
I do think that Kevin, has left the exams far behind...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1672518 - 05/06/11 12:32 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: thared33]
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1315
Loc: Switzerland
I usually write a kind of short score (black ballpen on paper, I find that more easy on the eyes; of course I can't erase which means I occasionally produce sketches which look more like modern art than anything else) on as many systems as necessary to fit the basic outline of a piece, then I usually do the full score directly on Sibelius.

I never use the piano to compose. Not enough keys per octave, and the piano timbre would hinder my composing, especially when I'm not composing for the piano.
_________________________
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.

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#1673034 - 05/07/11 12:22 PM Re: Composing with an instrument? [Re: Nikolas]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I do think that Kevin, has left the exams far behind...


It would be nice to think so, at my time of life smile

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