Composing Articles

Composing music – How to unfocus

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  • Composing Articles
  • composing music
  • composition
  • focus
  • music
  • Music Composition
Composing Music with meaning - Unfocused

There are times that call for focus.
This is not one one of them.

I suggest having a bit of focus when you drive your car down the highway, or when you operate heavy machinery. Perhaps even when negotiating Christmas dinner social conventions with the inlaws.
It’s really common for us to think that it’s only these times that really matter.
Silly when you think about it but it’s so true.

But there are many other times that call for unfocusing. Seeing the big picture in a big blurry soup of lovelyness. (Yep, I meant to spell that wrong. It just seems to express it better with a ‘Y’)

Music demonstrates this beautifully.
I’ll go into deeper further on in this article but for up here, just be aware of the ability music has to highlight the beauty and individuality of a solo instrument and also express an entire soundscape from an 80 piece orchestra as one expressive and emotive sound, where every instrument plays an equal role and there is no focus on any particular instrument.

First, because music always relates to life and our experiences, lets look at how this unfocussing principle plays out in, well, life. Continue Reading >>

Composing Music – Don’t tell me what to do!

  • composing music
  • music
  • music composing
  • Music Composition
Compose music with meaning - Dont tell me what to do

Here’s something I’ve learned

It’s not really kosher to go around telling people how to do things.

I mean,

who wants to go and do what someone else tells them to do?

It’s not enough for me to know some things and then tell everyone about how to go and do those same clever things.
Heres why: (and you can apply them to yourself as well, if you like.) Continue Reading >>

8 Steps toward improving your music composing skills

  • Composing Articles
  • composing music
  • music
  • Music Composition
Composing music with meaning - asleep at piano

What a massive challenge to continue every day composing music with meaning.

I’m sure you’ll agree.

I stumbled across this article yesterday and thought you really need to read this.
Either read it below or click here to go straight to the source.

Some people have the discipline to get in and do everything in this article every day, like it says, but my experience is that Muso’s are creative people. Ok, so a no brainer there, but, creative people, without putting us all in to small a box, are often rather disorganised and live on the spur of the moment, making an everyday discipline very difficult, if not impossible and at worst, uninspiring.

With this in mind, there is massive advantages in pushing through this barrier and keeping on keeping on every day.

Composing is more than creativity.
Composing must have a fairly large element of discipline so it can be practical and useable by the rest of the world.

Have a read of this amazing article, and be inspired. Continue Reading >>

Good music or polished turd? Definitive guidelines for composing music

  • compose music
  • composing music
  • music
  • Music Composition
Composing Music with Meaning - Turd Polisher

What makes good music good?

Today I read an article by Mickie Willis from the “Unconservatory”


Mickie talks about a book by John Winsor called “Breaking the Sound Barrier” in which he suggests that there are some universal guidelines that we can use to tell if a piece of music is good or bad.

You’ve probably heard the term “You can polish a turd as much as you like but at the end of the day it will still just be a polished turd”.

I’m sure your music isn’t in this category, but just to be sure that when you’re composing music, it turns out great, you may want to read this. Continue Reading >>

Composing Music with Meaning – Whats the go with Hare Krishna chanting?

  • composing music
  • composition
  • Music Composition
Composing music with meaning - Krishna chanting

There are some types of music that just go deeper. This is one of them

I just spent the morning working in a house where the cleaner scurried around from room to room trailing a very unique sound emanating from her phone wherever she went.
It happened to be a recording of a Hare Krishna Kirtan. This is where Krishna devotees get together and chant to music. It can’t be mistaken for any other type of music, it’s so unique.

Such a simple form and instrumentation, and yet, after listening for only a short time, this simplistic music seems to drill down into your very soul. You can’t get it out of your head.

What’s with that?

Let’s have a closer look at this ancient chanting music.

continue reading >>

Composing Music with Meaning: Fear

composing music with meaning - Fear

How to compose music to elicit different emotions in our listeners?
This is something that’s crucial for a screen composer to know and master.

This week, in theme with Halloween we’ll be looking at how to compose FEAR.

Compoising music with meaning - Fear

If you want to make this more real, listen to this while you read. You will feel totally freaked out by the end of it.

First we’re going to look at fear itself,
then we’ll explore what it does to us physically,
and finally we’ll look at how to emulate those physical attributes through composing music.

Are you that person who loves to watch scary movies in the dark or play creepy games that frighten the crap out of you like Slenderman?

Lets make this more real –

Continue Reading >>

Creating meaning in music: Sadness

composing music with meaning - sadness

It’s well understood that we can express meaning by combining emotions with information, (see my last article about more on this) but lets break it down a bit. We’re going to look at different emotions individually and explore how these emotions effect us, what meaning they bring to our lives and how we compose to ring across that meaning.

Lets start with one of the most common emotions used in composition:


Continue Reading

Composing is not what you think it is

  • Music Composition
Music Composing


Let me talk a little while about my take on the reason we compose music.

Why compose?

Composing music is something that people have used throughout all of history to communicate.

What are we communicating?

It’s emotions.
Its feelings.
Its ideas without words.

Words can be very clunky and cumbersome to get our ideas around, but with music we can express feelings and emotions freely, completely bypassing the frontal cortex of our minds and going directly to the heart.
This is a privilege that we have been given and something that is so often missed.

Why is it missed?

Let me fill you in …

continue reading -›