Composition has always been a part of my musical explorations. I have been composing solo piano works since I was a child but really began to get serious about my work in high school. Generally the writing process takes me quite a bit of time. I spend days pouring over a melody and toiling with harmonies. This piece was a totally new challenge for me.
This piece was composed as a soundtrack to a wedding video shot by my photographer. The idea was that it would have elements that were romantic and peculiar. The piece was intended to have moments of eye-raising dissonance dueling with fragile affectionate melodies. The main melody came to me as I sat down and dreamed into the vision for the piece. The interior sections that break up the “A” sections melody were completely led by my ear.
I am in every definition possible a night owl and teeter on the line of insomnia due to a flurry of thoughts that barrage my mind. One of these developing thoughts was this piece, and I worked on it into the early hours of the morning. While I do not recommend this for everyone this leads me into one of my points regarding, “Writing a Composition Over Night.” Inspiration comes at all times of the day!
In order to write a piece you must first accept, understand and translate the moment of inspiration. Maybe you are in class supposed to be learning about the 5 vital organs in the human body, or at work in office wide meeting to discuss the new spending policy for 2016. Wherever you may be you must first accept that creativity and inspiration may approach your brains door and knock. You must understand what it is you are being inspired to. Is it a funeral march or the next top 40 hit? Try to get a general idea for the inspirations mission. It is up to you then what you do with this inspiration. I would encourage all of you who compose music to have a way to jot down these moments of inspiration. A small pad of staff paper, sing it into your phones recording app, or write it in a way that makes sense to you on the napkin from your coffee that morning. Your decision to use roman numerals, solfege, musical notation, the nashville number system, or the thousands of other methods is entirely up to you. Translate it in a way that you will understand for later and then make it happen!
It is impossible to craft a list of steps for how to write a composition as everyone creates in their own ways and at their own paces. I will simply attempt to give you some ideas for the composition of a piece in a time crunch.
- Accept, understand and translate your inspiration
- Write, write and write until you cannot write anymore
- Review your work and find which elements worked and which need more attention
- Be gracious enough to yourself to understand that you will make mistakes
- Do not force something that is not there
I challenge you all to find your moment of inspiration this week, even if you are not musically inclined! Take that moment and capture it in some way; you never know where your inspiration can take you.
I hope you all enjoy my track, “Spellbound.” Listen and download for FREE here.