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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPerforming Arts · 1 decade ago

What musical background should I have to have a greater knowledge of compostion?

Im essentially compiling a list of composers which created groundbreaking sounds.

I want to get myself familiar with these composers to derive my own inspiration and so that I can be much more successful as a composer.


I should mention that I have been studying music theory for the last two years, so I have a lot of knowledge of voice leading, chord progression and chordal analysis

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Matter of opinion, and perspective helps--we can be more certain about who broke new ground if it happened long ago, so that we can see the effects on subsequent compositions. When we get to post-1950, it's safe to say we're guessing.

    And it might help you as a composer more to read some intriguing books about the theory of composition, say, Cage or Hindemith. Or books about musicianship in general, even going back to the old Baroque treatise on flute-playing by Quantz.

    Well, let's see, back to your main question. From music history, the following were "groundbreakers"--

    Medieval: Leonin and Perotin

    Renaissance: des Prez, Dufay

    Baroque: Claudio Monteverdi

    Classical: Boyce, Haydn

    Romantic: (oh boy) Beethoven (Pastorale and Ninth), Hector Berlioz, Chopin, Scriabin, Wagner, Mahler, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting someone...

    Modern: Eric Satie, Debussy, Stravinsky, the atonalists (Berg Shoenberg Webern), Kodaly, Orff, Ives, Copland (arguably), Louis Armstrong and his ilk, Benny Goodman and their ilk, Bill Monroe, and the ragtime-era tunesmiths.

    Postmodern: John Cage. Now, if you want to look at pop and jazz, there are dozens, including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the Blues Project, Joni Mitchell, the Moody Blues, Ani di Franco, Dave Matthews, that whole generation of lead guitarists who made it a standard voice in rock including Hendrix-Clapton-Jeff Beck-Randy California-Jerry Garcia-Jorma Kaukonen-Gary Duncan...and also producers like Barry Gordy and Phil Spector.

    There--hope that keeps you pleasantly occupied.

  • 1 decade ago

    Take a look at some of the 20th century groundbreakers like Arnold Shoenberg, Alban Berg, John Cage, Charles Ives just to name a few.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You could always take a music history course and run the gammut of music from the beginning to today.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Keep meditating on your music always and try different compositions in isolation and who knows,you may become the most famous musician on earth one day.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    classical music

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