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Re: What do you think is necessary in order to have an excellentcomposition?

Quoting margaret noble <margaretnoble2000@yahoo.com>:

> 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?"

> predictability?

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.