Composers Forum is a daily web log that allows invited contemporary composers to share their thoughts and ideas on any topic that interests them--from the ethereal, like how new music gets created, music history, theory, performance, other composers, alive or dead, to the mundane, like getting works played and recorded and the joys of teaching. If you're a professional composer and would like to participate, send us an e-mail.


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Saturday, June 25, 2005
ChickenEggChicken

Iím in the final stages of composing a seven-minute trio for flute, horn and piano, which is a challenging combination of instruments to blend effectively, to say the least.

But now comes the really difficult part -- coming up with a title.

Sometimes I write the music first, then make up a title. Sometimes I start with a title and try to write music that suits. Iíve even, on occasion, written a piece, come up with a title, then written another piece that fits the title more closely.

Arenít titles annoying? The sad truth is, for most listeners the title means much more than it should. There are great pieces of music that suffer from bland titles, and other works whose spiffy titles have shot them into notoriety.

I wonder how my composer colleagues feel about this. Do you write the music, then make up a title? Do you start with the title, then come up with the music? Do you have any pieces that are better known for their titles than for their musical interest? Do you prefer stock titles (symphony, concerto, sequenza, etc.) or do you feel that every part of your corpus deserves a unique headstone?



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