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3 hours ago, Colin Pykett said:

a Hammond organ (a 'proper' vintage one or a digital clone).  

I recall a fiendish sine tone generator. Each note could be adjusted up or down by fractions and we (undergrads) were to say whether one of the notes in, say, a 3-note chord had been sharpened or flattened.

It was always my intention with young people first to develop the EAR. They have to be excited, enthralled and enthused by (all) musics - and (guided to) wish to explore further other musics than just the current pop genres with which the vast majority are familiar and like. Terms, titles and labels put them off straight away. Play them something, ask them ‘into’ it and, providing one’s approach is open, they will usually react with few preconceptions.

Rules ? Schmules ! Certainly not to start with. My ‘method’ guided them to ask whether what they had composed could be bettered/was an appropriate response to whatever stimulus was given (visual, literary, mood, combination, etc.). To shackle them, as my generation was for years, with no outlet for any original creativity and within constraints established centuries before (many of which have become superfluous), was wholly inappropriate - and would have instantly ‘turned off’ the majority.

[ Following the 'tossing aside' of my little song (an above post), I composed nothing else, for the whole of my first year - believing my slight offerings worthless. This should have been one of the most exciting and stimulating times of my life, compositionally. “we weren’t even ‘allowed’ to compose until the second year of my undergraduate course”) In some degrees, there was NO composing; this was begun at Master’s level. Presumably, students weren't believed capable until then. ]

That is not to say that models were not introduced and ‘explained’ - as a natural concomitant of what they had composed. This way of doing things naturally and gradually incorporates more and more ‘rules’ (which, of course, are fluid, according to various criteria), rather than starting with them. Two examples: the prohibition of various ‘solecisms’ is meaningless in serialism/dodecaphony/12-note music; similarly, if applied to much Penderecki. I proffer the contrasting equine enjoyments of a blinkered horse on a racecourse, with its rails and fences and free riding in the open countryside. Which is the more enjoyable - for both rider and animal ?

I repeat, ‘we have moved on’. Only by starting with an open canvas can we, once more, strive to regain the ear of a child - as Paul Klee said, ‘to draw like a child’. Ruskin’s “innocence of the eye”; “A child sees everything in a state of newness” of Baudelaire and his “genius is nothing more nor less than childhood regained at will.” These are artistic and literary paragons and geniuses; why should music not strive for the same. There have been cul-de-sacs: the above serialism (not without its having engendered masterpieces. Some might disagree !), then total serialism and most minimalism - to name three. We have got lost. We flounder in a sea of the worship of commercialism and administrative negativity. We have lost sight of 'soul'.

It is no wonder that (some) organised religions are at threat; organs and their builders, as a result, too. (Re some other recent threads.)

The increasingly prescriptive nature of the curriculum in our 'academies' and its denial of opportunities for creativity amounts to the criminal abuse (neglect) of our people on a national scale. 

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1 hour ago, John Furse said:

To shackle them, as my generation was for years, with no outlet for any original creativity and within constraints established centuries before (many of which have become superfluous), was wholly inappropriate - and would have instantly ‘turned off’ the majority.

[ Following the 'tossing aside' of my little song (an above post), I composed nothing else, for the whole of my first year - believing my slight offerings worthless. This should have been one of the most exciting and stimulating times of my life, compositionally. “we weren’t even ‘allowed’ to compose until the second year of my undergraduate course”) In some degrees, there was NO composing; this was begun at Master’s level. Presumably, students weren't believed capable until then. ]

That's very sad indeed, but I wonder whether you were just unfortunate. I think we are probably of the same generation and this was most certainly not my experience. I had encouragement at school and, at the RCM, I was positively encouraged to compose alongside studying the routine stuff, once my harmony and counterpoint teacher (a composition pupil of Vaughan Williams) discovered I could actually do so. I think this was probably far more typical - at least, I hope so.

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I think we have reached a stage in this discussion where it would be useful to ask the question: “What is composition?”

It seems to me that any time a human being sings, plays or writes down a series of tones in an organised fashion (i.e. not at random) which have not been organised in that way before, they are indulging in musical composition. 

This means that the act of composition must involve playing or writing down an original piece of music which is present in the composer’s mind beforehand. Some musicians are able to play what they hear, but are unable to write it down. It is nevertheless a musical composition. 

If someone says they want to compose a piece of choral music for SATB, we make the assumption that they wish to write it down. But this is not always strictly necessary. The composition could be a canon, in which case the composer could invent a melody, sing it to the choir who memorise it and then direct each part to enter at the appropriate time. However, the composer would have to know how to compose a melody which would work for this purpose, so knowledge of which intervals will occur against each other at any given moment in a four part texture is necessary.

Composing is not some random splattering around of notes like an abstract “artist” throwing paint at a canvas without any foreknowledge of the result. Music does not come out of thin air. It is a cultural phenomenon and relies on the transmission and reception of a large body of pre-existing music, which is absorbed by the composer long before he or she starts composing.

So when a composition begins to form in the head of the composer, it will already have been influenced by previous compositions, either of the composer or of others. The problem for the composer is then to realise the composition in performance or on paper. The ease or difficulty of this task depends on the level of skill already achieved by the composer. 

Of course, composition can also involve a certain amount of hypothesising or experimentation. What chord is this I hear in my head, is it the one I feel in my fingers, or the one known as a Neapolitan Sixth, or shall I just play around with chords on the piano until I hit on the one I am hearing? But the more a composer composes, the more experienced and skilled he or she becomes, until it is much easier to play or write what  is heard mentally.

The most fascinating account of a compositional process I have ever read is Robert Bailey’s  account of Wagner’s compositional process in “The Wagner Companion” (Cambridge 1979). Over 70 pages, Bailey takes us through an almost forensic report on how Wagner went from a few scraps of music in his head or on paper to the fully worked out orchestral scores of his music dramas, starting with the melodies, adding bass lines with nothing but a sketch of the harmonies, adding layer upon layer, all the time altering, rejecting, re-writing until he had achieved what he wanted. What also becomes clear is that a composition, once begun, takes on a life of its own. Whilst the germ of an idea is present in the head of the composer at the beginning, he or she is continuing to invent music as the process continues. But the same thing applies throughout: first the music is heard in the head, then it is played or written down. Great art is never, ever random.

The moral to be drawn from this is the same as the advice given to the person asking how to get to the Carnegie Hall: practise, practise, practise. Anything which you do which helps you to play, or get down on paper, what you hear in your head will be of use. That can include advanced skills in playing by ear, keyboard harmony and realising figured bass,  a theoretical and practical knowledge of harmony, counterpoint and - something which has not been mentioned much in this thread - rhythm. But don’t expect a knowledge of these things to make you into a good composer. You will only say something interesting if you have something interesting to say.

 

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I like Zimbelstern's description very much, although perhaps we must also allow that modern composition may often include random sounds not defined in precise notation by the composer, but merely indicated in some way so that the general effect required is controlled to some degree. This, however, is mere nit-picking. When I was young there was - and may well still be - a movement in modern composition that encouraged self expression by children through performance in which random sounds were fundamental. Are these creations compositions? Just as a conceptual artist might say, "It's art because I say it is," so a composer might say, "It's a composition because I say it is."  It's probably not worth arguing the toss. Zimbelstern says, "Great art is never, ever random." I agree. And, as the rest of his post implies, worthwhile music is characterised by craft.

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18 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

That's very sad indeed, but I wonder whether you were just unfortunate. 

By 'shackled', I meant by the what the courses consisted of: there was no original creation - solely pastiche. (Bach chorale settings, counterpoint, Haydn/Mozart string quartets, Schubert songs, etc.) My two music masters at school were very good at all this, but had no training in composition and no idea how to foster it.

I am sure that what occurred in my tutoring session would not now be countenanced.

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3 hours ago, John Furse said:

By 'shackled', I meant by the what the courses consisted of: there was no original creation - solely pastiche. (Bach chorale settings, counterpoint, Haydn/Mozart string quartets, Schubert songs, etc.) My two music masters at school were very good at all this, but had no training in composition and no idea how to foster it.

I am sure that what occurred in my tutoring session would not now be countenanced.

Would that you are correct.  If only.

I can't speak from personal experience of higher education today, and definitely not in music, but when I read physics back in the mists of time I was shocked at some of what I experienced, and still am.  Much of the electronics we were stuffed with was based on valve circuits, would you believe, yet the transistor had been invented two decades previously and even I, as a schoolboy a few years before, was spending my pocket money building transistor circuits.  The integrated circuit (developed largely to get men on the moon around that time) wasn't ever mentioned.  Then there were lecturers who only turned up when they had to perform in front of us, and even then only if their train wasn't late.  This is literally true - I could name names.  One of them suddenly convened an extra lecture a couple of days before an exam because he had forgotten to tell us about a topic in a paper which he himself had set.  Of course, we all then swotted it up madly and - lo and behold - the expected question duly appeared.  And as for pastoral care of the students living away from home for the first time in a great metropolis, it didn't exist.  You would have been laughed at for even expecting it.

This was not some hole-in-the-corner outfit.  It was a principal constituent college of London university, which is today a prestigious (if you believe what they say) Russell Group university in its own right.  Like John, I do so hope that things are not now like that, but I have an awful feeling that they might be.  Apparently there is increasing resentment among the student fraternity across UK higher education generally that what they are getting for their £9k a year is not value for money.  If so, it's pretty disgraceful, and my own experiences dispose me to believe it.  Like so many taxpayer-funded organisations, oversight of their activities remains feeble and too much of their income goes into the pockets of (mainly senior) staff who must have difficulty concealing their smirks while on their way to the bank.

Although not directly related to organs, I have posted this deliberately because the original poster who kicked off this thread is apparently still at school, and s/he might find it of interest.

CEP

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On 10/06/2018 at 08:10, Colin Pykett said:

Then there were lecturers who only turned up when they had to perform in front of us, and even then only if their train wasn't late.

As I have mentioned before, this was very common at the major London music conservatoires (and quite possibly the minor ones too) when I was a student.  For obvious reasons, they all liked to be able to boast "big names" as tutors in their prospectuses, but the bigger the name, the more likely they were to be away on gigs. I would be very surprised if this didn't still occur.
 

Quote

Apparently there is increasing resentment among the student fraternity across UK higher education generally that what they are getting for their £9k a year is not value for money.  If so, it's pretty disgraceful, and my own experiences dispose me to believe it.


My daughter has said exactly this. She recently completed a post-graduate course in landscape architecture at a university, a course with a very high drop-out rate because of its intensity. In her second year the support and guidance she received from her tutor was virtually non-existent and it caused her untold stress. How she ever managed to obtain a 'first' while simultaneously earning a living from self-employment I'll never know; she certainly doesn't believe that she received value for money.

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It is obvious that, for the vast majority of human (and therefore music) history, compositions were neither inscribed not recorded in any meaningful way. Even now, in many cultures, this is the case - and there is no requirement to so do. Skalds, griots and the like memorised vast tracts of history (personal, familial, tribal - they had to: it wasn’t written down) and improvised the accompaniment each time, much as did the early blues/jazz musicians. This does not negate their validity as ‘music’. In other cultures, compositions were more fluid, but not for lack of training. In South Asia, students/disciples would learn/live with their teacher (ustād) and not perform in public for up to fifteen years. I have read that students may not even touch an instrument for two years, but spend that time learning by rote the hundreds of rāgs. In Indonesia, some Gamelan pieces are almost ‘community composition’, with pieces gradually evolving. Their performances are memorised, by repetition. By this performance-repetition, mistakes are eradicated (hopefully) and the sense of a ‘finished/polished whole’ can emerge.

Moreover, it is only in Western music since the Renaissance that compositions have become immutable. And, as we organists well know, even into the second half of the 18th century there was a sizeable improvisatory component to performance. To do a Monty Python and state the bleedin’ obvious, each time a piece was performed, it was somewhat different. This persisted into the next (19th) century, with the cadenzas in concerti.

Also, and solely in Western high-art music, there is a particular type of expressive/emotional content and intention absent from almost all other cultures and genres - including pop/rock.

As I’ve previously said, ‘Music is sound organised by people’; and, as Zimbelstern says about Wagner’s process, there is a ‘focussing’ and honing of ideas to achieve a ‘result’. I recognise the description of Wagner’s mode of working as one I have usually employed. The beginning with the kernel of an idea; its expansion and development; the many hours/weeks/months/years of work. But, there have been others: a few times, I have felt like an amanuensis, with the notes flowing from me in a constant stream and my struggling to keep up and ‘write it down’. Subsequent to this, all that was needed was tidying-up. Although I say it myself, these have been some of my ‘best’ works.

There can (must ?) not be one way. Whilst I inculcated a ‘corporate’ way of working in my younger students (for purely practical reasons), I always allowed individuals to compose in their own way, in their own time. Lennon & McCartney did what a lot of pop musicians do: often evolving lyrics and accompaniment simultaneously. Stravinsky and Elgar often composed at the piano; Britten apparently worked out everything in his head (!) - the only time taken with pen/cil in hand was in its writing down on manuscript.

I heard the most fascinating descriptions of ‘the process’ at educational (secondary, music) conferences, where practitioners demonstrated how they facilitated their students to approach, initiate, further, then finalise their work. These are now infrequent: cost, diminishing number of music teachers/advisors/institutions. What’s the point, anyway ? What the students need to learn is in a slim book/online course, often devised by the examiner of their course. The majority of secondary teachers learn ‘on the job’, what that school wants them to teach (!). Teaching colleges and university departments of education, whilst they still exist, are a vanishing breed. They, and the staff within, were too ‘troublesome’. Governments believe it’s much more preferable to have everyone singing from the same hymn-sheet, without a contrary view in sight - as we see across The Pond.

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On ‎10‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 08:59, Vox Humana said:

As I have mentioned before, this was very common at the major London music conservatoires (and quite possibly the minor ones too) when I was a student.  For obvious reasons, they all liked to be able to boast "big names" as tutors in their prospectuses, but the bigger the name, the more likely they were to be away on gigs. I would be very surprised if this didn't still occur.
 


My daughter has said exactly this. She recently completed a post-graduate course in landscape architecture at a university, a course with a very high drop-out rate because of its intensity. In her second year the support and guidance she received from her tutor was virtually non-existent and it caused her untold stress. How she ever managed to obtain a 'first' while simultaneously maintaining an income from self-employment I'll never know; she certainly doesn't believe that she received value for money.

 

In my time at a major London Conservatoire I was lucky that I was taught, possibly, by the most distinguished teacher of my instrument in the country, let alone the college. VH is absolutely right, he was hardly ever there and I was left, usually with a vast amount of work to do, until he came back from teaching in Japan or the US or wherever. The 'upside' of it was that one summer he invited me to his home. I lived there for two months and had a lesson almost every day!! It was wonderful but I'm not sure whether it made up for the times I missed a lesson!

 

As for fees. Students need to complain and they need to complain loudly. I have mentioned this student elsewhere but, a few years ago now, I had a telephone call from an ex-student of mine reading Music at a prestigious University. He had an orchestration to do and, to use his words, hadn't a clue where to start! We met, looked at the task in hand, and I starting asking questions about the music, what he could see, what he could hear, etc. Eventually I asked him if his Tutor hadn't been through this with him! He hadn't seen him for weeks and weeks, was hoping to and had rung me in panic as the orchestration was due to be handed in very soon. "They're only teaching here so that they can pursue their own research interests!" was his comment. There is some truth in this. He did his orchestration, didn't rock any boats by criticising the University for its lack of interest, care etc. - and got a first!! Was it worth the money? Possibly it was but, as far as I can see, he had a good case against the University - and I have heard this scenario over and over again and, particularly, at this University.

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Now, to COMPOSING ! I fear we have been doing OOTH a disservice. We have strayed from our ways like lost sheep and OOTH may still feel unable to safely graze, nay gambol, in the green pastures of creativity.

Let us take three texts, in three languages: one to a post. Without some kind of serendipitous inspiration (from my ‘Muses’), I would word process then print the text on to a blank piece of paper, in landscape format, with double-spacing between each line. Usually, I would have a phrase at a time, centred.

Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine, vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine, cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine: esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae. Miserere mei. Amen.

Translation: Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary, who having truly suffered, was sacrificed on the cross for mankind, whose pierced side flowed with water and blood: May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet] in the trial of death. O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus, O Jesus, son of Mary, have mercy on me. Amen.

I would attempt to understand and picture the text; say it, out loud, in various ways: loud, soft, fast, slow. It would be unusual if, by now, (musical) ideas hadn’t started to form, if greyly.

Now, some composers would use the first Ave as a refrain; in fact, I have done this with another text (Miserere). Here, the Latin word is repeated by an upper voice semi-chorus before, during and after the phrases of the English translation of the same text. This is an invocation, a litany.

One needs to ask questions (of oneself or students): how much, if at all, does the scene need to be captured ? The wooden cross; the agonised, tortured body of Our Saviour; the still-flowing bodily fluids ? This could be in contrast with and relief to the plea for mercy.

In my setting, the whole movement is downwards; the phrase fluxit . . . recurs, lower and lower, until it almost runs out of space - and the ‘blood soaks into the ground’. It is mainly imitative (contrapuntal), with a homophonic central section.   

Whilst not SATB (SSAATTBB. I had the luxury of the ‘use’ of one of the best professional choirs, at the time of composition.), it serves as a possible example.

Is it necessary/desirable to hear other settings of the same text ? For most students, I’d say ‘No’. Why ? Because it could unduly influence their setting. They may think there is a compunction  to sound like so-and-so. After completion, it’s an excellent idea: for their next efforts.

 

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COMPOSING #2 . . . and ‘questions’.

Many questions are - and should be - posed, before beginning. These might be answered in the brain instantly, or become part of the actual compositional process and need working on, sometimes at some length.

Sinto, a neat, concise poem of Lorca, was a thank you gift to someone who loved Japan and its culture.

Campanillas de oro.

Pagoda dragón.

Tilín tilín

sobre los arrozales.

Fuente primitiva,

fuente de la verdad.

A lo lejos,

garzas color de rosa

y un volcán marchito.

My translation: Little bells of gold. Dragon pagoda. Ting, ting ! Ting, ting ! Across the rice fields. Primal fountain, fountain of cool truth. In the distance, egrets tinged with pink and a spent volcano.

When setting words so atmospheric, should one reflect any of the country’s ‘sounds’ ? Does one reflect the so-Spanish author ? I attempted to do both and incorporate Flamenco and Japanese scales. After not too long, I found this not working and abandoned the (‘pink bird’) idea. I ended up using the insen (a 5-note) scale, with which I was long familiar. This was simultaneously  constraining and liberating.

However, before that, this composition proved to be one where I employed detailed sketching of each phrase (of the text). I have attached a scan of how I 'notated' this. Rhythms and, in some cases, relative pitches, readily presented themselves - to the extent that it became one of those pieces I largely completed in one day (14 hours).

I knew it would be sung; but by which voice ? I began with a high soprano; soon realising that there could easily be two registers, in this poem of the air and the earth. I added a baritone. Accompaniment: piano, or something more exotic ? A small ensemble, with ‘ethnic’ instruments ? I ‘heard’ a piano in my mind’s ear, tinkling. So be it. This became a structural device: framing the work.

Obviously, it helps when a text, in and of itself, conjures up images, which can be musically presented: glistening, tiny bells; a pagoda; gently waving fields of rice; a fountain; birds; a volcano. I used to tell my students that, if they could not see in their mind’s eye a vivid picture of what they were attempting to convey to listeners, these listeners had no hope of ‘seeing’ it.

Sometimes, one is in the fortunate position to be able to choose this; at other times, one is given a text and asked to get on with it.

Sinto score text sketches pse209090.jpg

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On ‎10‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 08:10, Colin Pykett said:

I do so hope that things are not now like that, but I have an awful feeling that they might be.  Apparently there is increasing resentment among the student fraternity across UK higher education generally that what they are getting for their £9k a year is not value for money. 

The (admittedly not very many) undergrads with whom I have contact are mostly satisfied - some, very. Perhaps they are fortunate in being at institutions with good lecturers. I have heard no tales such as those related by several above. It is obviously a matter of luck.

To return to my 'incident', it changed the direction of my life for the next five years and even nudged me into the ‘wrong’ master’s course - fortunately, at the right university (music) department. I gradually regained confidence in my abilities and once more began composing - both on request and when opportunities presented themselves.

 

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OOTH now needs to say with more clarity exactly what s/he needs in the way of assistance.

SATB covers a multitude of sins. How good is the choir ? King’s/John’s/Trinity/BBC Singers ? A struggling village/community choir, just about managing four parts ? In between ? Single/mixed sex ? An ‘ideal’ choir ?

“A simple piece” ? Vaughan Williams’ O taste and see [ http://petruccilibrary.ca/files/imglnks/caimg/2/2d/IMSLP392196-PMLP634687-Vaughan_Williams_O_Taste_and_See.pdf ] is a masterpiece of simplicity: solos, chorus and the most effortless of uncomplicated counterpoint. It could hardly have been for a more prestigious occasion, either: the 1953 Coronation.

Is this the sort of thing desired ? Or, only homophony ? If so, Tallis’s Canon is a good exemplar: similarly compact and an almost syllabic setting of its text, with interesting changes of metre (in modern notation): [ https://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/b/b8/Tunes_for_Archbishop_Parker%27s_Psalter-_3.pdf ]

On the face of it, Messiaen’s O sacrum convivium [ http://sitarte.phpnet.org/sitarte2/AM12/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Messiaen-O_sacrum_convivium.pdf ] is ‘simple’. Again, substantially syllabic, but with easy melismas, simple echos and repetitions and an extended melisma for the “alleluia”. Far from easy to sing: chording is crucial, here.  

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On the wider issue of music and higher education, I’m not sure that universities are necessarily the best place for highly talented young people who wish to dedicate themselves to practical musicianship (that is to say performing or composing). They are are probably OK for someone who wants be a musicologist, but they have become education factories hemmed in with targets, financial constraints, bureaucracy and political correctness. Students waste a huge amount of time and money looking for digs, travelling to/from/around campuses, making revolting meals, attending useless, irrelevant lectures, indulging in questionable behaviour, taking exams and so on. A conservatoire course may be preferable, but I’m inclined to feel that very few courses are worth the £60,000 of debt students come out with after four years. Surely much better value for money for gifted musicians would be to stay at home (providing it’s a supportive and stimulating one), spend the money on high quality private tuition and take the various diplomas available. I calculate that for the current cost of a university education (fees and accommodation) a student could buy around 8 hours of high quality individual tuition per week for 30 weeks a year at £60 per hour. Any tutor not coming up to scratch could be ditched in favour of a better one, and, of course, you wouldn’t have to pay for them if they didn’t turn up. It’s ironic that the kind of craft based musical education available in the 18th century was probably preferable to the offering most universities provide today. I don’t think it will be long before the most gifted students start voting with their feet.

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OOTH, it would be good to hear more about what you have in mind.  As John Furse suggests, the first task is to select the text you want to set (or, indeed, whether the piece is going to be wordless) and then decide the general idiom in which you want to set it. Maybe you have a firm idea of the style you want to develop, perhaps not. If you have any ambition of becoming a professional composer, widely known, performed and respected, you will need to find a modern and individual idiom, much as John Furse describes. The modern musical world doesn't have much time for composers who merely imitate existing styles that have already been well served by first rate composers. But at this stage, so what? It doesn't matter. I would resist being pushed into writing music that feels in any way dishonest. When I began to compose in my teens I had no idea what style I wanted to develop. I mucked about with several, including atonality. It took me a few years to come to the rather obvious conclusion (for me) that any artificial agenda was pointless and that I needed to be writing music that was true to myself - music that expressed what I felt I needed to express in whatever way I needed to express it. What resulted is probably far too derivative to earn much respect elsewhere and it's one reason why I don't call myself a composer, but it doesn't bother me. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I'm inclined to think that if a composer really has anything individual to say (which I don't), that individuality will find a way of expressing itself, whatever the composer's style. This has been true throughout musical history and I don't see why it should be any different now. All this is just my personal opinion and it is very likely an exceptional one in that I've never cared less about recognition or self-promotion (with the result that my pieces are not always very practical for average performers).

I agree with Zimbelstern that universities are probably best suited to those who wish to be academic musicians. For a talented practical musician there really is no environment more exhilarating than a top conservatoire, simply because of the supreme level of talent in its various forms with which you are surrounded on a daily basis. It really does give you a perspective on music making that you won't get elsewhere to the same degree. Several students at the RCM when I was there went on to become international stars. Which environment would be of more use to a composer I can't say. I would hazard a guess that analysis might feature prominently in a university. For me at the RCM (where composition wasn't my primary study) it didn't that much. I did have a lot of attention paid to honing the grammar of my musical language, but it was all down to the individual teacher.

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