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On the Creation of Musical Compositions

- PART I -

by Lee Duane FitzSimmons

When creating a new composition, there are many things to consider, but there is usually one aspect that comes to the forefront each and every time the process begins. That one thing is divine inspiration. When this fundamental spark of inspirational energy hits the mind of the composer, a sort of whimsical playfulness begins to sing and make its wonderful presence known. It is this inspirational energy that fuels the composer's efforts to begin and complete the process that often requires hours and hours of hard work. This inspiration must be strong and sure, or the entire process might never be completed and remain in creative limbo for the rest of its existence.

Therefore, once the process begins, the composer must now be very diligent so that the process is completed. Far too often, the initial burst of creative energy quickly subsides, and the fire fueling the process burns out far too quickly. Such situations are encountered frequently when the composer has not received a true injection of creative spirit and is merely grasping at creative phantasms that only wish to delude the composer and squander her/his time. In order to overcome these sorts of false inspirations, it is necessary for the composer to have a balanced mind and spirit.

Music by Thomas Eakins (1904)

If an individual attempts to create a new work, then all of the basic techniques required to complete such a work must be completely understood. The essential techniques required for any composition will vary depending on the idiom and genre of the piece. If the piece is to be a hybrid of two or more musical styles, then mastery of all of the techniques of each of the genres should be complete. One of the biggest downfalls of most composers is not possessing all of the technical knowledge necessary to complete the process. Therefore, the process stalls at the point where proper technique becomes an issue, and the entire creative process usually grinds to a halt.

Composing music requires strict discipline and a great deal of knowledge. Just because an idiom might have simple theoretical techniques does not mean that there are not subtle nuances used elsewhere that make the genre difficult to master. Oftentimes, the simpler genres are the most difficult to create because the composer cannot hide behind complex technique. Technique must be used over and over to the point where it becomes repetitive before the creator is truly ready to create great masterpieces.

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Copyright 2014 by Lee Fitzsimmons