If you’ve ever wanted to compose music for games, films or other media, you have probably thought about learning more about writing for film and video games. However, if you’re already experienced in composition and/or arranging, it can be difficult to know where to start!
In this blog post I will cover four traditional skills that are essential for music composers, regardless of whether they are composing for film or games.
1. Basic Music Theory
2. The Ability to Read Sheet Music
3. An Understanding Of How Sounds Are Created
4. Ear Training
This article is for composers who wish to make a living writing music, as well as for those who are already doing so. In particular it focuses on four traditional skills that are essential for music composers today.
The first of these skills is the ability to write music to a brief.
There are many different scenarios in which a composer may be called upon to write music to a brief. These range from composing the score for a film or TV programme, through writing jingles or corporate music and advertising music, to writing pop songs or pieces on commission. All of these situations involve the creation of music that fulfils certain requirements, and all entail an element of uncertainty about exactly how the resulting work will turn out. As a composer you will need not just the technical skills necessary to create your music, but also skills of communication and negotiation in order to ensure that you fulfil your client’s requirements.
There are many different types of music composer, including the songwriter, orchestral composer, film composer, electronic music composer and more.
For this article we’re looking at a few traditional skills that all composers need to master regardless of their specialism. We’ll be focusing on composition and arrangement as opposed to production.
If you’re a budding composer who is starting out in your career, these 4 skills will help you to move forward in your career and are essential for any musician seeking work in the industry:
I remember the first time I tried my hand at composing. I was in university and our classical guitar class had an assignment to write a piece for solo guitar. I remember being confident that I could create something beautiful and unique as a result of my love for music and my appreciation for it.
Fast forward to today, I’ve written over 250 compositions for many different instruments and ensembles, but even though I’ve been able to develop my compositional skills through many years of practice, there are still some basic skills that are essential for anyone who is interested in writing music.
In this blog post, we will go through four such skills in detail with examples from some of my compositions. The goal is to help you become more self-aware as a composer, but also to get you thinking outside the box when it comes to creating your own music.
The four skills are:
When I was around 10 years old, my family got a computer. It was a clunky old 386 with a fat monitor and one of those giant CPUs, and it came with a version of Microsoft Works that included something called Music Composer.
It was pretty basic: you had to enter notes using the mouse by clicking on a grid, but once you had that down it was quite fun. You could play back your composition and save it as a .wav file. In other words, this was an early introduction to the world of music production for me, even if I didn’t know what that meant at the time.
I’ve never been particularly good at writing music. I have enough formal training to understand the basics, but I’m not what anyone would call gifted in this area. That said, I’m still able to write songs that sound good because I know some basic tricks that help me out along the way.
In other words, many people can write songs that are “good enough” without having any formal training or understanding of music theory. If you’re trying to do better than “good enough”, though, and are looking for ways to improve your compositions, then here are four things you should focus on:
Most people don’t realize that the typical music composer is a well-rounded artist.
While it can be argued that any person who creates art does so from personal experience, composers need to also be able to draw from different sources for inspiration.
As a result, the most successful composers have spent their lifetime learning and perfecting different art forms and skills.
Nowadays, creating electronic music is simply a matter of loading samples into your preferred software and dragging them across the timeline until you get what you want.
But if you want to become more than just an average musician and create music that’s compelling and rich in detail, you will have to learn how to play at least one musical instrument, draw and develop your own visual style, read sheet music, write lyrics and sing.
Music composers are artists who create sheet music by writing down notes that represent their compositions. Composers usually work in studios or their own homes and spend a lot of time creating new music and working with other musicians. Composing music is an art form, so it’s important for composers to study music, learn about the history of music, and understand different genres of music.
The following are common types of music composition.
Symphony: A long piece of orchestral music with multiple movements.