Is this why Symphony 9 sounds to me so dissonant and sometimes too unbearable and odd to listen to? I'm a composer but I don't always study music that disinterests me.Wagner composed at the piano, in a trial and error process (that he was somewhat ashamed of). But that's probably why he was able to write music so ahead of his time harmonically. Bach wrote great music, but he strictly "colored within the lines", and never pushed the boundaries of music in the way that "messy" composers like Beethoven and Wagner did. Beethoven banged away at the keys even long after he went deaf.