Compose yourself, boyo!


I’ve never understood the composing process! The idea of constructing a tune, and then developing it into an interesting, challenging, and (importantly) original piece of music is still daunting. I was brought up in a household where music was part of the furniture, and I have played, listened to, and sung music since a child. So my brain was always full of tunes and harmonies. This is probably the greatest legacy I received from my parents and the rest of the family.

So what has this to do with understanding composition? Well, I loved whistling or humming tunes when walking or working, and I was sometimes not sure if the tune was original or one from ‘way back’. The problem got worse as I learned more music!

I wrote my first piano piece at about 13, and am still proud of it! Writing for organ came later, and was followed by choral writing. The opportunity of hearing pieces performed only came much later and was quite interesting with performers being involved, and adding their skill to the overall performance.

One problem is that it is easy to continually want to change the details of a piece, after every performance, but it’s not really practical, one has to be realistic, and leave it alone. 

I enjoy writing a piece with no real idea of where it may end, but am much happier writing for a reason. This is especially-important where words have been specially-produced, and I am just now working on a choral setting of wonderful original words just recently written by a good friend, F.C.

But whence cometh the theme I do not know, how interesting it is I must leave to the performers, and how much of it is original I must leave to those who listen.

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