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Re: What do you think is necessary in order to have an excellentcomposition?
Quoting margaret noble <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> what is a great composition to you?
To me, I enjoy works that appeal on all levels: physical,
intellectual, and spritual. I find that when I return to great
compositions, I can always find new things in them that I didn't catch
> particular structures?
Most great works exhibit some unifying element. It could be a motiv,
a theme, or perhaps just a rhythmic motiv. Music without some kind
of unifying elements tends to become amorphous and, well... to me just
kind of boring.
> rise/build and climax?
Sometimes. Some great minimalist work achieves almost hypnotic
effects and dramatic climaxes would be counter to the style. The
"climax" idea is a romantic notion and suggests music that is dramatic
and emotional. There are great works that are quite dramatic and
others that are understated.
> elements of surprise?
I don't think surprise is very important. After all, the surprise
only occurs on the first hearing. On subsequent listenings, it is no
longer a surprise. Bruno Walter, when writing about the music of
Mahler, said that the true test of art is that "after the newness and
novelty wears off is there underlying beauty?"
Great comedians have written that, when delivering a routine, you
don't want every line to get a laugh. I suppose the same holds for
music -- every bar does NOT have to contain a something new. When the
key, rhythm, motivs, etc... are completely unpredictable, the result
becomes raucous at first and then just boring.
Unpredictability is like "spice" -- a little here and there gives
interest. Too much and the meal becomes unpalletable.
> tonal structures?
> rhythmic structures?
> depth and reverb?
> frequency distribution?
I don't know if any of these qualities are indicators of greatness
when it comes to compositions.
> quality of sound?
Many a great musician has "rocked the house" with crummy equipment but
most of us would prefer to play in optimal conditions.
A great sound system doesn't assure great music however great music
will better reach its potential with a great sound system.
> what else?
Margaret, I wish I knew what makes a great composition. If I did, I'd
be writing them!
The best that I can do, as a composer, is to be true to myself and not
try to be someone who I am not. I attempt to write music that will
give moments of entertainment and inspiration to listeners.
I have found that if I tell myself, "Today I am going to write a GREAT
composition that will be A BIG ARTISTIC STATEMENT... that I completely
shut down!" Nothing I write measures up to the grand cosmic statement
I wish to make.
Thus, I just compose stuff and don't worry about greatness.