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5) Composing at the instrument or away from it

[Post # 5] Probably many persons may find even the title of this post very strange. Composing away from the instrument? How is it possible? However, there is nothing improbable in this statement . Most of the composers alternates the composition at the instrument to the composition away from the instrument, even if everyone prefers one of the two possibilities, or create his own custom mix.

Composing at the instrument is the most common way of composing. You sit at the piano or take the guitar and start to try something, to improvise, or to play at the instrument what you have created in your head. And here you find the composition away from the instrument: you had the notes in mind.

How they came there, is another story. We could have heard the notes on the street or on the radio, and we could have edited them and customized until we saved them in mind. We could have created a melody while strumming something around. There are many possibilities.

Let's imagine these two typical situations. We composed at the instrument a short piece of our next song. Away from the instrument we repeat the melody in our head, looking for some changes, trying to explore alternatives, trying to develop it. When we return to the instrument we try to put all of this into practice, to test what we created far from the real notes.

The opposite is also possible. We compose a melody in our mind and we repeat it in our head, trying variations, trying to explore alternatives, trying to develop it. At the instrument we try to put all of this into practice, to test what we created far from the real notes.

If I am writing now TA - TA - TI - TU - TA - TA - TA everyone would read it differently. Everyone would give his rhythm, time, name and duration to this syllables that will became notes on the staff. This is a primitive form of composition away from the instrument.

Composing at the instrument has the advantage of giving us a direct contact with the sound. We can then immediately test our ideas and our composition material. We can immediately verify its feasibility and acceptance. But this kind of composition collides with our technical limitations. We may not be able to play what we want to compose. 

Composing away from the instrument can be a way to extend our musical imagination, going out from the instrument, allowing us to create a mix between what we create when we are at our instrument and the emotions we feel in life when we are far from it.


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Learn To Compose And Notate Music - Beginning LevelLook InsideLearn To Compose And Notate Music - Beginning Level (By Lee Evans and Martha Baker). Evans Piano Education. 24 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.9072)
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Complete IdiotLook InsideComplete Idiot"s Guide to Music Composition For composers. Reference Textbooks; Textbook - General. Complete Idiot"s Guide. Instructional and Composition. Instructional book. 264 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.74-1592574033)
...more info
5) Composing at the instrument or away from it Reviewed by Satin Beaus on Saturday, March 12, 2011 Rating: 5

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