Music composition

The process of developing a piece of original music designed for repeated performance. Musical compositions are normally written using musical notation, although some pieces are played entirely from memory, or improvised spontaneously during the performance itself. Some performances are recorded in order that they can be played back numerous times; others exist purely as a single live event.

Music can be composed for a single instrument or voice, or for ensembles of varying sizes. Adapting a composition to be played by a different ensemble is called ‘arranging’ or ‘orchestrating’.

A musical composition can be structured in a number of different ways. These include strophic, where one single section is repeated continually (AAAA format); rondo, where a principal theme is alternated with one or more contrasting themes (ABAC format), and verse-chorus, where verses of the same theme are alternated with a contrasting chorus (ABAB format).

Different types of scale exist, which musical compositions are often based upon to give a particular mood or tone to the piece. Using a different type of scale on which to base the piece may also allude to music originating from a particular geographical region.

Other important considerations include the length of the piece, how well it relates to the instrument(s) it has been composed for, and whether it can be classified as being a particular style or genre.

Specialist computer software is available that contains synthesised or recorded sounds of musical instruments to play the music back to the user during the composition process. These digital sound files can then be mixed and edited.

Related methods include: Audio mixing, Sound editing, Sound generation and Sound recording.

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