I never post here, but i skim through the board every once in a while. I think about composition often, because in reality i'm not 100% sure myself how i compose, i have a theory tho. My take on composition as always been, idea, direction, and limitations. This is just standard for me, i've broken everything i'm about to type.
Lets talk about limitations first. What i mean by this is what instruments are you using, what style of music are you trying to make? My first instrument is bagpipes, been playing fo over a decade. When i compose on them i'm drastically limited to the type of sounds i can make. Before i write something i know what type of music i want it to be (march, reel, ect). Genres are much more defined and concrete with bagpipes than with metal. Guitar is alittle bit different because there is more freedom, but the same principles apply more or less. Its not something that is thought about much, but limitations in reality makes the music. Music without limitations is like white noise.
Instrument mastery helps in that your ideas can be expressed properly. Theory is used naturally(play long enough you're going to find the patterns) , however it can also be used as a tool box. i.e. don't hear thirds in my head and try to figure it our on guitar, i think thirds, then mathematically(for lack of a better term) put it together. Theory in improv is invaluable. The point to soloing to me has always been to connect imagination and theory.
Ok an idea, I'm not talking about lyrics, i'm talking about a musical idea, a starting point. Yeah i don't know. It makes sense that the idea has to be in context with your limitations. Other than that I can’t really comment.
This is a couple of riffs I put together in a one man project I did for no other reason than for boredom. This took maybe 2,3,4 hours, I can’t recall I was awake for over 48 hours. The writing took maybe 5 minutes. This is an example of an idea(guitar based), everything else was put together in relation to that idea. **Warning, I don’t play drums, I can’t sing, I do both in this recording. I’m not some amazing musician wanting my dick sucked by anus members, I’m using this for no other reason than to make a point later on.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lENBvslU5lQ&feature=related
Direction and development is something I consider myself good at. More or less, I think about where I want to go, how I want to go there. Then I go there. Its like taking all the “ideas” and putting them together. Its easier for me to create something if It has a purpose. In mid development of a song, almost everything I write is for a purpose. When I’m writing for multiple instruments it’s easier because those instruments have a purpose, and I know what I want them to be in a larger scheme of things. Again how limitations help the creative process. Oh and edit the fuck out of it.
After the idea, this is how I developed those couple of riffs and added direction. This was done about a week later in about the same amount ot time. not done no where near from a perfect recording, but you can hear the contrast.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt2WWxZIWTI&feature=related
I really think music is all about limitations. Maybe some would call it context.