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Thread: What do you do when you sound exactly like another composer?

  1. #1
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    Default What do you do when you sound exactly like another composer?

    I was listening to the radio the other day and a piece came on that sounded exactly like something I'd write, to the point I was wondering how something of mine got on the radio. When it was finished however, it was something by Phillip Glass, and it got me thinking about changing my style completely, I haven't heard Glass in years before yesterday, but I'm aware of his style, so do I change my style or just keep going the way I'm going?

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    I think a lot of your question depends on your age, whether you want a career in music and how much you want to carve a niche which is just "you".

    If you're in your teens/twenties, composing in the style of other composers is good because it teaches you about harmony, rhythm and melody. For many years, music students have completed Bach chorales and 17th century motets as part of their learning regimes. Learning to improvise on the piano in the style of certain Romantic period composers is also a very valuable learning tool.

    If you want a career in music, you have to decide the best way to put food on your table. So if you can write jingles, or film music, or pop music, then go for it. (Absolutely not my taste, but that's where most of the money is.)

    I'd suggest you decide what satisfies you most in composing (as long as you're not trying to make a living from it) and stick to it for a while. After all, no-one seems to have too much Glassware!

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    I have yet to actually try writing out someone elses work, maybe that is what I will do, that should help decide what is me and what isn't.

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