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The Creative Processes of Music Composition: Glossary

Definitions of Key Words


1) Composition Writing musical notation, instrumentation, and handling musical ensembles (orchestration). The definition of composition has broadened to include extended techniques such as improvisation, musical montage, preparing instruments, using non-traditional instruments or methods of sound production, and making music from silence, as John Cage famously did. New Grove defines composition as a piece of music embodied in written form or the process by which composers create such pieces.

2). Creative Process The manner and methods used by composers and songwriters to conceptualize, execute, revise and finalize their musical creations.

3) Improvisation Musically, the act of composing, performing, or otherwise playing without prior planning or consulting specific notation such as sheet music. In jazz and blues, for example, familiar forms may be utilized throughout a song, but the singer may alter the lyrics to better suit their mood, and the instrumentalists may take solos of a length and direction that is entirely determined by them. Spontaneous composition. According to New Grove it is the creation of a musical work, or the final form of a musical work, as it is being performed.

4) Musical Vision The perceptual experience of seeing a a vivid mental image of a musical composition and the ability to retain the inspirational flow and renderings with every pertinent detail.

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