How to Compose Music





Introduction: How to Compose Music

About: Favorite Quote:"I think I'll call it Bob." If you get he reference let me know

Want to compose music but aren't sure where to start? Look here to find out

(sorry for some of the pictures apparently they stopped working on me, and yes some are from the internet)

Step 1: #1 - Why?

What a simple question, why do you want to compose music. Not that it is really necessary to composing, but it may give you a good headstart, or a passion to get through.

Step 2: #2 - Knowledge of Music

No you don't need to be a PhD in Music Theory to know how to compose, in fact alot of famous composer's had no idea how to read music (which how they did it is beyond me) I'd suggest atleast a remedial knowledge though, just enough to know where to start

If you already know how to read music well skip ahead to the 4th step(not 4th page 4th step!)

Step 3: #3 - the Basics of Music

Where to start? I guess with the very beginning To be honest I am not sure how to explain it. Check the pictures on how to draw the notes and clefs. A staff is where it all happens, without it there really is no music, it consists of 5 horizontal lines and 4 spaces between them. There are vertical lines at the end of each staff, and on a page of sheet music, the page music is written on, there is a reasonable amount of space, just enough to give any marks to help the song flow or notes that sit on. Since i just realized it would take a couple of hours for me to explain this go watch this video Here:
The guy really is good, i had no idea how to read most of Trebele before i watched the video(I have always played a bass-clef instrument

There is a ton more out there to learn( I'm not going even going to go into key signatures or sharps or flats), i recommend either watching the rest of the guys video's above, which i haven't done much of, or buying a book about, reading online, or like most musicians go and learn to play an instrument...

Excuse the blurry photos

Step 4: #4 - Sheet Music for All!

The first thing you need beyond an understanding of basic music is sheet music, it is where all your composing goes.

Now you can draw your own staffs on a page, like I did. Or you can find a place online that will give you free blank sheet music. I recommend they have a real nice gadget that allows you to customize the staff, including printing key signatures, clefs, and more, beyond drawing your own it really is the best place to go.

Step 5: #5 - It's All in the Style

What kind of style do you want, country, classical, rock, jazz? You would think so but, it is important to know your style.

Step 6: #6 - Get Started!

What better way to start then to dive in! Nobody can tell you how to write your song, and so nobody can really tell you how to start! Base your music off of anything you want, steal a melody here or there,( not sure how illegal that is though) and let your brain flow

there are music composing programs out there, you still have to work but you can usually get a playback out of them, always seemed to slow for me so i go by hand.

Step 7: Have Fun!

This is probably more important than anything, if your not having fun then why are you doing this? If your not happy it will show in your work, Make the music with some challenge to the musiccian but easy enough to actually play.



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    4 years later--- any songs?

    cd41, I am one of those who can hardly read some notes on the staff, yet I have composed some songs. It does not take paper and pencil to compose songs, you need to have enthusiasm and ideas.

    The correct website for the blank sheet music is

    No offence mate but i have bean able to read music since a small boy and if i was a beginer this would not help me out in any way shape or form

    I'm afraid to say that this wasn't the most useful instructable ever. In fact I disagree with relatively large sections of it. Poor show

    2 replies

    really? If i may ask what parts?

    Well to begin with, I didn't feel the "borrowed" images from the internet really added anything to the instructable, but I guess some people like a little colour. I find it bizarre that you'd go to the effort of putting in random images of people having fun or conducting but then hand draw (poorly) the staff. Can you really not find any online images copyright free? Is it too much trouble to draw a line in paint, then copy and paste it four times to make your own? It probably would have been quicker and easier than hand drawing, photographing and uploading. Putting in a bass clef backwards, acknowledging this error but not doing anything to fix it is insane. As for bits I really disagree with, "You would think so but, it is important to know your style." Doesn't make a great deal of sense to begin with, but if you're getting at genres and suggesting that you should put your music into a box before its even written, then there's something to disagree with. I mean fair enough, minor key for sad feeling etc. but you don't explain anything useful like that. As for "Where to start? I guess with the very beginning To be honest I am not sure how to explain it." Then perhaps you shouldn't try? Sorry that's bitchy but seriously you're writing an instructable which you admit you don't know how to explain! The majority of this instructable seems to point to composing on paper without an instrument in front of you. Perhaps if you are a musical genius then this is possible, but I think most people are going to need to hear what they're playing. I certainly cannot see a note and instantly know what it sounds like pitch perfect. I really don't want to be a forum troll and just flame people, but I have to stand up and point out where things need improvement. Sorry to be harsh.

    Its alright, but you can't really say how to write music with words, its more of a spontanious thing. When I finish my next instructable I will show you stuff to improve this.

    7 replies

    No offense but why does everyone think I need help?

    everything you said just seems like common sense to learn, i think, to anyone who would be looking to write music. but like i said, thats just what i think so dont go get offended. I personally would recommend getting a book on theory and learn it well first, than assuming you already play an instrument it isnt too hard.


    well the part about music theory in this 'ible is for someone who knows some thing but is like rusty with the subject i just typed what was easiest at the time and let the video explain the 1/4 out of the half of the basics i covered. Thanks for your input

    you need help? when did i say that?


    nvm i can tell this isn't going to go anywhere good, thank you for your comment...

    no I think it's good! Just you need to put stuff like scales in


    yeah, jsut made this in a night so not the best but i will update it.