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Modern Music Composition Essay, Research Paper

Modern Music Composition

Composition has been an ever-changing entity in our society. Music

composition is also a very alternating subject of study. You have to keep up to

date when you wish to compose a piece of music. This is strictly due to the

progression of music in this day in age. If you fail to study, the music you

are writing may, very well, upset the music community with old or potentially

outdated material. The only way to stay up to date with composition is to

listen to a lot of classical music, which seems to be, without a doubt, the best

music to listen to. If you have not done your research on such music, you may

find yourself running out of ideas for further compositions. Music composition

is the subject of this essay.

Music, through the years, has changed in many ways. The musical “attitude” is

determined through the overall feelings of the composer at the time, at which he

or she wrote it. The “attitude” sets the overall feeling of the piece of music.

If you fail to pass the feelings that you felt while you wrote the piece of

music, you fail in the overall goal of the piece of music. Music composition is

a very modern thing these days. It has grown because of the advanced

availability of better technology. Technology, which is changing every day, has

opened up new and more innovative doors. Included with the advanced

technology that has brought music to life, there has also been a steady increase

of musicians. This is in direct proportion with the growing number of music

Music, by means of instruments, has been played for thousands of years. Music

composition involves three major key-points. These key-points are direction,

general-knowledge, and general-insight. Through the course of this essay, you

will learn what each of these three points is and the prevalent pre-requisitions

required of persons to have these three abilities.

Direction, being the first of the three points, gives you the sense of the

music. Without direction, you would not have the urge to write the piece of

music. Direction is what composers use to give the general emotion that is

supposed to be perceived by the ending audience. The direction requires only

one thing. That is emotion. Emotion is what a piece of music is made for.

Without emotion, the piece would probably be so uninteresting that the audience

would not want to listen to it. The emotion is very hard to pass on to the

audience, strictly because it is what you feel. Just as it is hard to make

someone feel a certain feeling, it is as equally hard to make them feel a

certain emotion. The direction, as you can see, is a very important part to

composing a piece of music.

General-knowledge, being the second of the three key-points, involves just

that, knowledge. You must have at least a broad knowledge of music before you

can even begin to think about understanding a piece of music. This knowledge

could come from a number of things including singing in the chorus, playing in

the band, or just fiddling around at the piano. This is probably the area where

composers have the most control. The composer makes the decision to learn or

practice the music to the level at which he/she would like to appreciate it.

Humans, most of the time, do not have complete control over their emotions, nor

do they have complete control over their wisdom, but you have, almost, complete

control over the level at which you would like to learn music. Understanding

music, therefore, does indeed require a general-knowledge in the field of music.

Composing music, however, requires just a little more knowledge than that would

be required of a person who, for example, would like to learn how to play a

musical instrument. Composing requires the knowledge of many musical terms and

notations. These terms include: dynamics, harmonics, note-values and rendition.

This means, for example, if you would like to write even a small piece of music,

you would almost certainly have to include all the notation and terms you would

for a much larger composition. Music composition can be compared to a pyramid.

If you do not have the building-block support on the bottom of the pyramid, the

pyramid will collapse. The same applies for music. If you do not have the

basics on the bottom, you will not be able to move onto the next level without

the whole thing collapsing. So, you can see that the basics are what make the

whole thing work.

The third key-point is general-insight. The general-insight is the intuition

that is put into a piece of music. The general-insight can be defined as the

wisdom that you put into the making of piece of music. Just as you cannot throw

together a three-course meal, you cannot just throw together a composition. The

time you put into a piece of music must be productive and well thought through.

The difference between a well-thought piece and one that has not been thought

through is the difference between living rich and living poor, respectively.

A perfect combination of all the proceeding fundamentals will give you a

perfect piece of music. The degree at which you actually make the music is

completely up to you. After coming up with the idea of the music and after you

have learned all the required information there are a couple more things you may

have to be concerned about. You have to, for one, select the level, or degree

at which you will compose the music. There are several different degrees at

which you can make the music. You can make it very easy so that anyone could

play or you could make it very complex so that only a select few would be able

to comprehend it. It is very important to compose at the level at which you

want the player(s) to perform at. If you misjudge the ability level of a

certain group you could have just composed a piece of music that will probably

not be played as often as it would be if that particular group had a composition

of its own caliber. So, as you can see, it is also very important to take into

consideration the ability, or level at which the group you are composing.

Through the years, many composes have accomplished all of the proceeding

abilities. These composers, for the most part, did not learn music so quickly.

It takes time, just as everything else does. In the end, they, for the most

part, became very famous. Even the most basic composition, if produced

correctly, can bring great satisfaction. Not to mention, it can bring great

wealth. If a composer chooses the wrong level at which he or she would like to

compose the piece of music, he or she could be making a total-career choice.

For, whenever he or she makes a piece music, they are deciding to let the world

see his or her composing stature. So, as you can see, it is very important to

compose on the level at which you would like the piece to be performed.

In conclusion, composing music is not for everyone but is not restricted to an

elite few. It is solely up to a person at which level he or she would like to

perform and get the necessary information required for composition. The

technique is not of the essence. It is the want that matters. It is not the

need that matters as much. You must have the potential to continue to your goal.

If you do not have the drive to complete the piece of music, it is better that

you don’t even begin writing a piece of music. Anybody can compose a piece of

music, but only the most strong-willed can complete a full musical composition.

Swope, Carole M. Activities in Musical Composition. Portland: J. Weston Walch,

Schoenberg, Arnold and Gerald Strange. Fundamentals of Musical Composition. New

York: St. Martin’s Press, 1967.

Bernstein, Martin. An Introduction to Music. Prentice Hall, 1951.

Beginning Music I Reading and Playing Melody. Morristown: Silver Burdett, 1985

Hunter, Tammy. Personal Interview. 07 February, 1997.

Other articles

Help: Music Compositions

Help:Music Compositions How to Write an Article on a Music Composition

An article on a Music Composition provides basic factual information in narrative form. Length of article will vary considerably based on the importance, impact and consequence of the work on the Mennonite community and on those outside the denomination. Thus a work with a limited audience or impact may be described in 100 words, while a significant work that has lasting impact or controversy may approach 500 words. Brevity is best. For questions on style contact an editor or see GAMEO's Style Sheet for Authors.

Elements to be Considered

Standard description of the composition, which includes:

  • Title
  • Composer, librettist, songwriter, arranger
  • Genre
  • Performance requirements
  • Structure (movements, sections, arrangement of songs)
  • Date of premiere performance
  • Performer or performers
  • Occasion and location of premiere performance
  • Commissioning body

The above elements should describe the premiere performance of the work. Other aspects of the history of the composition, both before and after the premiere performance, could include the following:

  • Date or period of composition
  • History of composition process or commissioning process
  • Publisher; date of publication
  • Arrangements
  • Recordings, recording media (CD, vinyl, video, music streaming sites, etc.)
  • Performance and broadcast history
  • Use in other media such as film or television
  • Mennonite focus
  • Critical reception
  • Awards
Structure of the Article

Not all of the elements are required for the article but they should be considered. An article on music in non-classical genres will emphasize recordings and on-line distribution methods since premiere performances and publication may not be relevant.

Of primary importance is the impact description and this should take special note of connections related to Anabaptism or Mennonites, their Christian faith, culture or lifestyle. Background information on the use of Anabaptist / Mennonite themes by the composer, librettist or song writer should always be considered.

Example Article

Mennonite Piano Concerto.
CD Jacket

Mennonite Piano Concerto, Victor Davies, composer (born Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on 1 May 1939, BMus, Indiana). Scored for piano solo and orchestra in three movements: Sonata, Theme and Variations, and Rondo/Scherzo. Commissioned by the B. B. Fast Foundation to mark the 450th anniversary of the Mennonite faith. Premiere performance 27 October 1975 in Winnipeg by Irmgard Baerg, piano, William Baerg, conductor and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded by Irmgard Baerg, piano, and Boris Brott conducting members of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1983. The recording was used as the soundtrack for the film And When They Shall Ask (Dueck Productions, 1984). Issued as a Compact Disc recording, Campion Records, 1989. Arranged for two pianos by Suzanne Davies, Golden Toad Music, 1986.

The concerto was the brainchild of Benjamin Horch. who approached Victor Davies with the idea of creating a composition based on Mennonite Kernlieder. Davies was given a collection of tunes, from which he selected a number to use in the concerto. The first movement's two themes are based on "O Jesu, wieviel Gutes," and "Welchen Jubel, welche Freude;" the slow second movement uses "Wehrlos und Verlassen" as the basis for a set of variations; the third movement uses "Wie süss tönt Sabbatglockenklang" as the main source of inspiration, along with references to several other hymns. The work has been performed by a number of orchestras in Canada and the United States, and in North America and overseas in the two piano version. The recording has been featured on classical music radio programs in Canada. the United States. the United Kingdom and Australia.

A notable performance occurred on 2 December 2012 when Leanne Regehr performed the piano concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the premiere performance of The Journey. a violin concerto by Victor Davies performed by Rosemary Siemens, a violinist born and raised in Plum Coulee. Manitoba. The violin concerto was commissioned by Elmer and Hilda Hildebrand in honor of the 50th anniversary of Golden West Radio, a broadcasting company based in Altona. Manitoba. Like the piano concerto, all three movements derive thematic material from hymns. Latin rhythms are introduced in the final movement to represent the presence of Mennonites in Central and South America.


Davies, Victor. "A Non-Mennonite Writes a Mennonite Piano Concerto." In Sound in the Land: Essays on Mennonites and Music. edited by Maureen Epp and and Carol Ann Weaver. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2005: 95-99.

Nemerofsky, Gwenda, "Violinist's talent trumps unfocused presention." Winnipeg Free Press (3 December 2012): D3.

Additional Information Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online

Music Composition of Onomatopoeia Essay

Music Composition of Onomatopoeia

Toshiyuki Masui
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. 3-14-13 Higashi-Gotanda Shinagawa 141-0022, Japan

We introduce a simple music notation system based on onomatopoeia. Although many text-based music notation systems have been proposed, most of them are cryptic and much more difficult to understand than standard graphical musical scores. Our music notation system, called the Sutoton notation, is based on onomatopoeia and note names which are easily pronounceable by humans with no extra training. Although being simple, Sutoton notation has been used in a variety of systems and loved by many hobbyists. Computer music, music markup language, MML, desktop music, DTM, Sutoton notation

Many people are enjoying music on personal computers today. PC-based music systems are sometimes called as DTM (DeskTop Music) systems, and a variety of hardware and software products are now available. Most of the current DTM systems are based on graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and users can edit notes and control various attributes of music graphically on the screen with direct manipulation interfaces. Although commercial GUI-based DTM systems are sophisticated and easy to use, they are sometimes too complicated for casual users, and they are designed for interactive use and not easy to control from other programs. On the other hand, Text-based music description languages have been used to represent scores from the beginning of the research history of computer music. Even today, text-based representations are useful in many cases, since texts are easily handled by text editors and other programs. Text-based music description languages are also good for resource-poor systems like old personal computers and small mobile devices. A number of text-based music description languages have been proposed and used[Roads, 1996]. Many of the languages were developed for research,

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Rhetoric and Composition

Rhetoric and Composition/Drafting

Drafting is essential to the organization and flow of your paper. Drafting includes prewriting. editing. and reviewing. Once your general ideas are down on paper, writing out specific ideas and quotations can make the final writing process much easier. Each step of drafting brings the process a little closer to the final product. Always write down any ideas you have in the drafting process. It is much easier to cut content from your paper than it is to work on adding content. If you collect all your resources, quotations, facts, ideas, and come up with a thesis during the drafting process, your paper will show it. The idea is to provide yourself with as much information as possible in order to create a solid and well thought-out piece. Do less worrying and more writing.

"Solviture ambulando. To solve a problem, walk around."

--St. Jerome, who spent 30 years at a desk

Drafting: The Process Edit

"Fiction is based on reality unless you're a fairy-tale artist. You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it."

--Hunter S. Thompson

The thesis. [1] It is not advisable to begin drafting without a thesis. The thesis statement is a roadmap for your essay and at the drafting phase it will help keep you on track. Make sure that you begin with a statement (not a question) that articulates (a) your topic, (b) what you plan to say about that topic, and that at least implies (b) why what you plan to say is significant enough to be worth writing about. What causes students the most trouble is (b) what you plan to say about the topic. What you plan to say must be debatable. You should not plan to say something people already know or can easily find somewhere else. What you plan to say about your topic must be something that a reader could question, but might not after reading the essay that will follow.

The first draft. Prewriting will help you with drafting. Additionally, try writing in full sentences, try to find the best possible quotations, try mindmapping, or try writing out all of the data you have gathered. Weave these things together, and you may end up with a nice framework for your paper. Don’t worry about being complete in your drafting. Disorganization and choppiness are fine here; you can smooth that out in later drafts. Drafts are not perfect. Drafts may contain grammatical and spelling errors and may lack detail. Rephrasing and expanding ideas may be a part of later drafts.

The second draft. The second draft is about organizing your information logically and effectively. If you created a thorough first draft, this should be easy. Organize the main points that you plan to make, find supporting evidence for each point, and spend a few sentences explaining what conclusions you are able to draw from the information. Don’t be afraid to show off. Professors like it when students are able to draw conclusions on their own. Sometimes it weakens your argument to use softeners like “might” “I think” and “maybe,” so keep an eye out for these.

You will want to come up with an overall organizational strategy and stick to it. Parallelism is very attractive in a paper. However, there is also no quick and easy format that works for every topic. You may want to organize things chronologically, with fact and then opinion, or by order of importance.

The third draft and more. The third and any subsequent drafts are really about finesse. These are the drafts that will hook your reader and earn you an “A.” Try to write an attention-grabbing introduction, as well as a conclusion that leaves the reader thinking about your paper. If you are still struggling with the overall flow of your paper, go back to you first draft and start rewriting. Often your main point will change by the time you get to this draft, and that is fine. However, you may need to go back to your first draft when this happens.

The elusive “show, don’t tell” line comes into play in this draft. Professors want to be entertained, and they want more than just facts. You need to show the professor that you can think for yourself, that you know what you're talking about, and that you can write in an engaging style. If you are bored reading the paper, chances are your professor will be, too. Add action verbs, remove passive ones, and use examples. Pretty soon you’ll be ready for a final draft.

Be sure to follow a timeline. Make sure that you start early to have enough time to go through many drafts. If you wait until the day before, you will have time for only one draft!

During the Drafting Process Edit

Many writers often narrow -- or expand -- the topic as they write. Overly broad topics can be difficult to manage and can lead to summarization rather than descriptive explanation. Narrowing your topic will provide you with a more workable idea to focus on. Asking questions about what you want to know regarding your topic and what you want your readers to know will help focus your writing. If you choose to narrow your topic, first try to picture a larger context into which your thesis fits. Make a claim which forecasts the main point(s) of your thesis, then deliver the source which supports the argument. During this stage, scan for grammatically weak areas and unsupported claims. You may always add background information, term definitions, literature review, reasons for your assumptions, and counter-arguments to strengthen your own argument.

"My starting point [in writing] is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I wish to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing."

Sometimes you will find that it is easier to write the introduction after you have written the body of your paper. Consider waiting to write the introduction until you have a definite sense of what direction you want your paper to take. Many times, if you write an introduction first, it can limit the information or collaboration of ideas for the bulk of the paper. If you do decide to save the introduction for later, go over what you have written and identify the main point, or points, of your paper. Next, craft an introduction with a thesis statement that forecasts what will follow. Be aware that you need to rework some of the body after you do the introduction. No matter what you choose to write first, it is important to stay on track. Emphasize several points that are related to your thesis by adding more information and going deeper into detail. It is important to gather sufficient information to support your thesis. You may be required to provide a reference or in-text citation, or you may find that you do not yet know enough about your topic, and more research is required. Research may be necessary for multiple reasons: to learn more about the topic, to provide examples for your thesis, or to use as support for your thoughts, opinions, and the overall direction of your paper.

Let It Flow Edit

As you draft, do not stop to edit or look up small pieces of information; there will be time for precision later. Luke Sullivan, author of "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This," suggests that you must "write hot and edit cold." In other words, write off the top of your head and allow your thoughts to be spontaneous. You never want to leave a good idea out. However, when it comes to polishing the final product, become critical by taking out unnecessary words or ideas that stray from the main message. Do not keep text that distracts or causes misunderstandings. If you have a question, place it in brackets or make a note of it and refer back to it later. First, just get your ideas out without worrying about punctuation or spelling. Similarly, if you notice a big gap which requires more research, skip it and work on other sections. The important thing is to let your ideas keep coming and make progress on the page. No matter how irrelevant your words may appear, keep writing. If you have to stop, be sure to end in a place where it will be easy to pick up from later. Don't get distracted when your initial drafts aren't "A" quality work. That's the reason they are drafts. The important thing is to get your ideas down on paper. You can spend time evaluating them later on.

"Write 1,000 words a day. That's only about four pages, but force yourself to do it. Put your finger down your throat and throw up. That's what writing's all about."

Dealing with Writer's Block Edit

Writer's block can occur at any point during the writing process. You may find yourself sitting down to write when you suddenly realize that you can't think of a single thing to say. Don't panic! It's a common problem with a variety of solutions.

  • Staring at a blank screen can be intimidating. Try writing out your dilemma in the form of a question: "What is it I'm trying to say?" "What are my goals?" Then brainstorm to answer these questions.
  • Take a break. Ten minutes away from your work will usually recharge your creativity.
  • Review the literature on your topic to see what other people are saying. Even opposing views can be inspiring.
  • Bounce ideas off someone else. Speaking about your writer's block with friends, family, and fellow students may help untangle ideas or generate new ones.
Experiment Edit

How do you start your draft? While the occasional flash of inspiration can lead you to scribble out great work on the back of an envelope with a stubby pencil, paying brief attention not only to 'what you write', but 'how you write' can inspire you to write differently or even more effectively. If you start drafting from the conclusion, for example, it could be like having a "Guiding Star" for your paper. Or you could leave the introduction and conclusion blank until the end. With that said, you can make up your own approach to create your own way of writing. All the technological tools you have access to make it possible for you to write virtually anytime, anywhere, and however you want. Take advantage of it. Type on your computer, do research on it, record your own voice if the pen is slowing down your thinking. Many people find it helpful to brainstorm; start writing for an extended period of time without stopping, and see what you can come up with. Charting can be a good way to come up with ideas and see connections you may not otherwise notice; when you chart, you write down a topic in the center of the paper. Then write other words or ideas that fit in with the topic. Draw lines that connect the related ideas. Experiment with your approach to writing.

Meeting the Minimum Word Count Edit

If you are having trouble meeting the minimum page length, look over your paper again and see if you can find spots that could use additional detail. Also, look at your assignment sheet again to see if you met the assignment's requirements. It is okay to add more detail to certain sections; for instance, is "a blue car" sufficient, or would "a 2007 Vista Blue Ford Mustang" work better? But be careful not to make your paper too wordy. Remember that quality is more important than quantity. Just adding needless words to add to the word count keeps you from actually developing your ideas and strengthening the content of the paper.

Also see Generating Ideas in the Drafting section of this book.

Title of Your Essay Edit

Coming up with a good title for your essay might seem difficult, but there are several techniques that can help. Although some writers start with a good title and write a paper to fit it, others (and probably most) worry about coming up with a good title after they're finished with the draft. The advantage of waiting until the end to work on the title is that you know exactly what you've written.

Many academic writers prefer a two-part title structure separated by a colon. The "catchy" bit goes before the colon, whereas the latter part is a straightforward description of the paper. For example, "Cutting out the Cut and Paste: Why Schools Should Use Plagiarism Detection Software."

Here are some tips for coming up with good titles:

  • Get inspiration from best-selling books or well-known essays, particularly those closely related to your topic (e.g. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Snickers: Candy Bars and the Obesity Epidemic.")
  • Look through your paper and see if you can identify some "key words" or special phrases that might serve as part of a title (i.e. "Edit this Page: How Wikis Enable Collaborative Writing" or "The Blue Screen of Death: How to Respond to Technical Difficulties During a Presentation.")
  • Consider poetic devices, such as repeating consonant sounds (e.g. "The Cost of Caring").
  • Get inspiration from famous quotations or song lyrics (e.g. "I Shaved My Legs for This. A Feminist Perspective on Country Music.")

If you can't come up with a good title right away, shut down your word processor and think about other things for a while. If you just can't come up with anything clever, just remember that a clear and precise title is much better than none at all. A title like "The Use of Skull Imagery in Hamlet" may not sound profound, but at least the reader will know what the paper is about.

"When you get an idea, go and write. Don't waste it in conversation."

Final Thoughts on Drafting Edit

Here's a quick summary of the key guidelines in drafting:

  • Don't worry about your audience before you draft. Your audience may dictate the style and tone of your writing, but it is more important to get a good start before adding potential complications to the mix.
  • You may need to narrow or expand your topic as you develop your paper.
  • If you are stumped about how to start the introduction, it might be helpful to simply skip it and come back to it later. The bigger picture might become clearer as you approach completion.
  • While drafting, keep all of your research close at hand. This will prevent the need to stop writing to look something up, which could break your concentration.
  • Writing in 30-minute stretches, or longer, will establish momentum, making your job as a writer much easier.
  • If you come across a small detail that you are unsure about, simply write yourself a note and come back to it later.
  • The first draft will not be perfect. Your priority should be getting your thoughts out on paper (or on-screen). Leave the fine-tuning for later.
  • If you must stop writing, be sure to end in a place where you have a good idea of what comes next. You will be able to pick it up again more easily.