Music Tips

Composition

Music Tips: The Basic Process of Music Composition & Songwriting

As a composer and arranger in the Philippines for over 20 years now, I can confidently say that I have mastered the basic process of composing music. They say that with the advent of the digital age, anyone can now compose music because of readily available home recording tools. While I definitely agree with this statement, yes, anyone can make music, BUT not everyone can make it brilliant and long lasting. Using loops over and over again gets old fast and won’t advance your technique and skill. Not to mention talent, not everyone has this as well.

With that said, I will now discuss three basic steps in creating your own piece of music.

Conceptualization
This is the part where you dream about your music. You don’t need to be consciously doing this. You can do your daily chores, walk around the park, or simply stare into nothingness, all the while, you’re subconsciously cooking up melodies and harmonies in your head. I’ve done this countless times, especially when accepting a fresh project. After knowing the project details and requirements, I immediately condition my brain to think of sounds related to the needed concept.

You may also have your musical instrument at hand and just play some melodies that you think about. One of those melodies may be the one you’re looking for. It may take seconds, minutes, days or maybe weeks but you will eventually have a “eureka” moment. Congratulations, you have done the first step in composing.

Documentation
This is very important. After getting that brilliant musical idea, you must document it immediately. In my early days, I’ve always thought up beautiful melodies in my head without documenting them right away, thinking that I would remember them. Sometimes I do, but most of the time I don’t, and so the melodies are lost forever. Record it, notate it, or write down the chords. Whichever process or training you use, just do it right away.

Execution
Finally, this is where you arrange your musical ideas into a formalized song or instrumental music. You may record live at your home recording studio, or use the extensive number of digital audio workstations for PC, Mac or both at your disposal. Either way, you’ve just learned a very simple but important process in composing music.

The road to become a composer or songwriter is an exciting one, I hope these very basic steps can help you improve along the way.

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