Cheating

Talk to others about making and writing music on a computer

Postby 69-1080625173 » Mon Apr 26, 2004 1:13 am

Since all the great composers made their music in their heads and wrote it down only once (as i'm told), is it cheating or less effective in the long run to make music on the computer. It is certainly quicker, but i've been thinking whether the laziness that you would eventually develop would take a vital part from the music.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:11 am

It's simply not true that great composers work that way. A few did, notably Mozart, who could compose a whole symphony in his head and write it down later; but Beethoven composed tortuously and laboriously, struggling to hammer ideas into shape with numerous corrections, trials and abandonments of ideas which might turn up years later in other compositions--we have his sketch books to prove it. His copyists must have gone nuts trying to decipher some of his scatchings.

Composers, even the greatest of them, write in all kinds of ways, often carrying notebooks wherever they go in order to jot down fragments of ideas to be incorporated (or varied or developed or rejected) later on. The myth that composers and performers are ethereal sorcerers, who produce their work effortlessly by some kind of mystical magic, dies hard. It ain't so!!

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Postby Mins Music » Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:30 pm

EternalDragon wrote:It is certainly quicker,

This is true only if you're adept at using the software in the first place - otherwise it's as laborious as Beethoven's anguished efforts!

I don't think it's cheating - same as if a student were to type using a word processor for an assignment instead of hand written. Technology certainly is progressing and I don't think it's wrong to use it.

BUT! you'll notice they still teach you how to write in the early grades of school.

So I think you should also learn to write music the old fashioned way too - perhaps not on parchment with a quill! :p but using manuscript paper and pencil.

I emphasise 'writing' in my studio, but also introduce some students (not all) to free software such as finale note pad.

For many students it IS more effective writing music on the computer, because you can hear the notes as you write them, have the opportunity to hear your music played back to you to check if that's what you were really after - and the final print out looks professional - which is VERY satisfying.

:cool:
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby presto » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:09 am

Dr. Bill Leland wrote: The myth that composers and performers are ethereal sorcerers, who produce their work effortlessly by some kind of mystical magic, dies hard. It ain't so!!

That's right, and I glad I am that it is! It makes me feel a little closer to reaching the unreachables. ;) For further proof, just check out Chopin! Often a deceptively simple-sounding melody was the result of many revisions, changes, and corrections.
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:58 am

In my grade 12 music class our big assignment was to arrange at least 16 bars (I think it was 16...) for our senior band. Our teacher specifically told us that we could not use notation software to complete our assignments. Being the loop-hole seeker that I was (and still am, really) even though I knew nothing about computers at the time, it immediately occured to me that you could do the assignment on the computer and then copy the final draft out by hand to hand in.

Thinking about it now, I don't think it would have been less work if I had used notation software (even being as adept at it as I am now). The most exciting part of the assignment, to me anyway, was the idea of creating the arrangement. The original score looked nothing like my finished product, though I thought it sounded pretty good and I got a good mark. Not using notation software just meant that I had to write it all out by hand, which takes longer.

I think that the great composers had access to notation software, they probably would have made use of it (or designed their own, for that matter).

I do agree that students should still learn how to write it manually first, just like writing words, but not using the notation software is similar to not using word processing software.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sun Jan 09, 2005 11:49 am

Or, we could be super geniuses like Mozart, who could compose a whole symphony in his head while riding a stagecoach from Salzburg to Bischofshofen and then write it all down--without any corrections--when he got there.

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