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This 17 message thread spans 2 pages: [1]  2  > >  
  How much time is too much to write one symphony?  The Wild Monk at 09:02 on 28 July 2009
 

I have spent about 5 hours a day for the last 3 months writing a piece I think will take about 8 minutes to perform.

I'm using trumpets, piano, timpani, drum kit, violins, cellos, and an erhu, along with my vocals.

I'm about only half done. I don't want to spent more than 800 hours writing it. I usually spend 100 hours on a rock song. But I've spent almost 500 hours already... and counting.

Is this normal, or way too excessive? Should I set a time limit? I mean, is there anyone on the forum here that has spent hundreds of hours writing a piece of music?

Also. I'm running intoo problems with using a drumkit bass drum and snares with big timpani drums together. Is this combanation used in modern orchestras?

Thanks!

The Wild Monk



  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  iman2919 at 04:54 on 29 July 2009
 

Hi,

It is pretty normal for me to spend hundreds of hours writing something. And not necessarily a symphony, I could spend over an hour deciding over one note, and considering all the options.

I'm allowing myself at least 5 months for a 20-minute symphonic piece I'm about to write. But it can possibly take me more.



  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  scott_good at 16:34 on 29 July 2009
 

Monk,

Remember that composing a new piece is also learning how to compose a piece.

Each outing will get shorter and more efficient.

I once took 8 months to compose a 9min orchestral piece. Now, I can do a 20min work in 2-4 months.

Spend the time now, and later it will get easier.



  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  messyann at 22:18 on 20 August 2009
 

You may need a short break - just a few days off or even a week.

Symphonic writing may take a very long time - especially if you want to do it well and.or you want to use unusual playing techniques.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  nickscott at 15:08 on 26 August 2009
 

Some composers take years to write pieces. It is more important to write it good than write it now. Of course, if you have bills to pay, that's another matter...

It is important to let go of a piece once you've spent a decent amount of time on it, but how long is dependent on you and the piece. How much time is too much to make love?

Counting hours will not help you. At the end of the day, it is the finished product which is important. Some eight minute pieces have taken me a week or less, some have taken over a year. I would say, generally, if you've spent six months or more on a piece, it might be a good idea to at least take a temporary break from it to "refresh" your ideas before taking another swing at it.

<Added>

Oh, and forgot to mention that the use of drum kit in symphony orchestra is becoming more common, and should be available to all professional orchestras and most amateur groups. If not, drum kit hire is cheap enough. Make sure you make it clear that the bass drum is not an orchestral bass drum though.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  KPL at 21:27 on 02 September 2009
 

I have written one concerto (approx 30 minutes each) every year since 2001 working most days for the time you mention. You can hear the orchestral complexity in all the works if you listen using head/ earphones to the recordings that are all streamed from my website. www.perreur-lloyd.com

Keep on until it sounds just right
Note by note as a previous contributor suggested - as needs be.........KPL


  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  everio3 at 07:22 on 10 September 2009
 

Symphony writing is one of the most difficult and time consuming skill to actupon. I think you need some mental recreation and relaxation.
My friends Junio Solihull, Mickey Everio and Christine Freville got first prize in writing Symphony on 30th June 2002. They do the Same.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  Misuc at 14:12 on 17 September 2009
 

Everything that everybody has been saying here is OK. Quite right. Nowadays composing is also learning how to compose, as Scott says. And ever since e.g. Kreisleriana (Schumann) the history of music is also has become embroiled in its subject matter....all that is true.

But if you can't collect hours of pliable musical material in a few moments at the piano or musing on a bus, it would be better to give up right now. You don't need the hassle and for sure nobody else wants it

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  Misuc at 14:38 on 17 September 2009
 

PS
I've just seen that we've now got the facility to attach pdf or midi etc. files. Why don't you send in what you've done - or some of it - and see if anybody can help you become clearer what you want to do with it....

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  nickscott at 16:48 on 17 September 2009
 

"But if you can't collect hours of pliable musical material in a few moments at the piano or musing on a bus, it would be better to give up right now. You don't need the hassle and for sure nobody else wants it"

I'm not sure quite what you're saying with this, but are you trying to imply that if composing if difficult, he shouldn't do it? Because if you are, that is the worst pile of nonsense I've ever heard. If composing is easy for you, you're not trying hard enough.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  iman2919 at 16:51 on 17 September 2009
 

"If composing is easy for you, you are not trying hard enough!"

I like that!

I find composing very difficult. Every time I write, feels like the first time I am doing it. It is really a unique way of discovering oneself.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  Misuc at 16:58 on 17 September 2009
 

Yes. It depends what you're talking about. To get something right can be difficult. But it can also become an obsession, and quite negative.

If composing is perpetually difficult for you, then, at the minimum, you're doing something wrong. Most likely you're in the wrong job.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  nickscott at 17:06 on 17 September 2009
 

Just because something is difficult does not mean you shouldn't do it.

Composition is a source of frustration, and is incredibly difficult for me, but I'm usually pleased with the results at the end. It is difficult for me, but I still do it because the results are worth the effort.

But I agree that there should come a point where you have to say to yourself: enough is enough, and get on with it. Fussing over minute details is important, but it should always be viewed in context of the piece overall.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  iman2919 at 17:33 on 17 September 2009
 

I often find that composition can be as frustrating, or as difficult for me as I want it to be!

It all depends on the level at which you engage yourself with it.

There are things that I'm comfortable writing! I enjoy writing it, and enjoy listening to it. But I may not be most proud of it in the end. Partly because I did not put much effort into it. As an example, when I write for film, and have a one week deadline, and have to satisfy a certain filmmaker and their ideas and demands, I often find myself reaching into my bag of tricks, and pulling out a few things that I know for sure will work, and is not difficult for me to write.

But when composing a more serious work of independent music (not that film is not serious, but it often requires a certain amount of looseness) I avoid doing anything similar to what I have already done! In fact, I will not be proud of repeating anything that I have already done. If I have already done it, it's not new, and it's not adding anything to me.

It's this process of rediscovering myself, and rediscovering my voice, and composition style that I find difficult. And trying to express myself through music can be extremely frustrating, when I am still in the process of discovering myself. And since I don't think I will ever stop learning about myself, I think I will continue to find composition frustrating.

But as Nick says, it is very rewarding in the end.

  Re: How much time is too much to write one symphony?  scott_good at 18:02 on 17 September 2009
 

Hi,

Nice to see some activity!

Each work for me poses different challenges. But, something relating to what is being talked about - that is, producing material - can be aided by spending lots of time improvising. learning to break down the filters that prevent the creative mind from finding what it needs to.

one can improvise at the piano, or, with a group of people. both are valid, and i believe important to growing as an efficient composer.

and...well sorry to say it, but FUN!

beating ones head against the wall is no good. i find now that when this happens, i abandon the line of thought, and try something new. those sketches still exist, and could possibly work for another piece. but, keeping a good flow through the composing of a new piece is important so the work will have consistency, and the process is in part, pleasurable. my best music has always come when i am enjoying writing it.



This 17 message thread spans 2 pages: [1]  2  > >