How to Compose Music?

Do you desire to be the next A R Rahman of the Indian music industry? Do you wish to concoct melodious symphonies out of thin air? This is not as easy a feat as it may seem. Before you reach a stage where you can just snap your fingers and mind-blowing tones will write themselves on a staff paper, you have a lot of stepping stones to pass.

If you’re a budding music composer, you should get as much training under your belt as you can. In this blog, we have briefed our young composers on how to compose music. So, grab your pencil and get ready to embark on a step-by-step guide with us.

Step 1: Go ad-lib

So how exactly should you begin the creative process of composing music? Many connoisseur composers claim that their composing drill starts with improvising. The key is to sit down at your desk and just start playing around with various instruments and notes.

It helps if you’re a virtuoso at a particular instrument. You can just play with the music, explore it, embrace it and dive deep into the sweet dawn of a unique composition. Divine inspiration may strike while you’re at it and you may happen upon the backbone of your composition.

You can even pick just one note and work on composing music only on that note. This way you filter out all the clutter in your head and get more focused. You won’t be overwhelmed with the load of ideas you have if you pick just one note to work with at a time. This will be a good way to restrict your mind while also letting it run free.

Step 2: Pick a Motif

What’s a motif? It is that recurring fragment of music in your composition that characterizes it. So what do you want your motif to be? The aforementioned step one will help you realize what your motif is going to be. Now there are two ways to go about it.

Either you have a motif in mind from the get-go and design your entire composition befitting it. Or you can just keep improvising and recording your sessions. As you listen back to them, a motif will make itself obvious and you can proceed with that.

Either way, a motif plays a crucial role in your composition. You can make your music stand out with an extraordinary motif.

Step 3: Time to arrange your composition

You’ve selected the cornerstone of what your composition is going to be about. Now, you’re met with the task of fluffing up the rest of the piece. This may seem like an astronomical job and you may be right about that.

While arranging a piece, you have to make sure that it strikes a chord with your listeners. It has to be pleasing to the ears while also being unique and extraordinary. For your composition to stand out, the way you assemble it should be remarkable. The choices of which instruments to add, where to drop out a few and where to add an extra may seem difficult and never-ending. But as a beginner, it would be unwise to spend months scratching your head over a single piece. Don’t try to attain perfection as it is impossible.

Setting a deadline for yourself would be a good way to prevent spending an eternity on the same piece. Once you hit that mark, move on to the next steps. The more music you compose, the more practice you will have. So don’t stay stuck on a piece in the hopes that it will be the next chart-topper.

Step 4: Take It Down

It’s preferable if you have some expertise in music theory for this step. If not, there are plenty of online courses available that you can opt for. Being able to read and write music is every composer’s job description.

Gone are the days when a staff paper and pencil would suffice to write music. In this digital era, music composers have embraced the technology and taken to their computers. There is plenty of software available with premium features that can help you write music. As a beginner, you may want to go with easy-to-use and free software.

Some popular software available in the market are:

  • Finale PrintMusic
  • Soundtrap by Spotify
  • Notion 6
  • MuseScore 2
  • Sibelius
  • Noteflight

Some free software options rated as the best ones in 2022 are:

  • GarageBand
  • Waveform Free
  • AmpliTube Custom Shop
  • SyndtSphere

These have enabled the composers to create music with great ease. The tediousness of jotting down music on a staff paper is replaced by simply pressing keys. With such software, you can create, edit, print, share and even shuffle the sections around as you wish.

You may want to google them and find the one that is best suited to your requirements.

Step 5: Get it Reviewed

Be it a teacher, an expert friend/relative or even an audience on platforms like YouTube or SoundCloud. Collect valuable feedback and ponder over the opinions you receive. Chances are you may feel like your work isn’t ready to be reviewed yet. Give it up for reviewing anyway because you’re never going to feel like it is ready.

After receiving feedback, make the necessary changes that you feel will uplift your piece. Go on tinkering with your piece until you are satisfied with the end product. This is the step where you can attempt to get as close to perfection as you can. If you wish, you can also take a break and then revisit your piece. This may help gain you some more clarity about its weaknesses.

Voila! You have a brand new composition in your hand, ready to be showcased to the world.

If you’re a budding music composer looking to get some training and polish your skills, we have just the thing for you. Unlu Singing Fellowship is a 3-month multi teacher program where you get to learn from experts like Monali Thakur, ShivamKatoch, Jishan Ali, ShibaniKashyap and the likes. Moreover, you will be able to collaborate with talented fellow music composers, singers, lyricists etc. What more does an aspiring composer want? So sign up for our Singing Fellowship now!

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