Finding inspiration

I’ve had a few emails recently from young musicians, asking how I find my inspiration for my music.

That’s a really good question, and I’m not sure many composers would be able to answer easily. In my case, I just adore rhythm, and a lot of my music just springs from rhythms that I start tapping out on the desk while I’m writing away, or that I start pa pa pa-ing to myself just while I’m out and about. Then the notes often just seem to fit to the rhythm, and everything flows on from there.

I’m not a trained composer, so I don’t know whether this is the “correct” way of doing things or not. I do notice that most classical choral music isn’t rhythmically-motivated, so I’m guessing that my way of doing things is probably quite different from the way other, properly-trained composers work.

For example, I’ve noticed my husband (who also composes) is far more like to sit at the piano and play around with notes than start with a rhythm. Because I don’t play piano, I’m far less likely to do that.

If you want to write music, start with what feels right for you, and start where you’re familiar. If you’re a soprano, start by writing for soprano, and go from there.

Or if you play guitar, try writing for guitar as a starting point.

Writing good music is all about connecting with what is inside of you, and sharing it with others, so by starting with what you know, you can’t really go too far wrong.

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