Composition in its truest form is about building music from the ground up. It works the same in any form of art or craftsmanship. You need to have a good and solid foundation before you even start with the work. That means knowledge about the art and the tools necessary for making a piece of art. To develop style, you need to learn many different sets of traditional blue prints and also how these sets react to each other. This in order to know what is possible, what already has been done and from there: how to react to it to create something that is either in a certain style or a reaction to it.
Composition is about the components. The components you gather to build the piece of art, that might be a song or some other kind of piece of music. It’s these components that defines the piece and you as a composer. Maybe the piece isn’t always a representation of you as a performer, that is a completly different thing. But the set of components you use to express something, that defines you. Even if it’s on top of your ability or not.
For me, a good composition has great qualities in the sense that the material is speaking its own language. The melodies are conversing with the listener and are interesting enough to listen to. If the melodies are flat, then the role of the accompaniement has to counter that and make room for the single notes. Is the melodies alive, then the background has to be gentle and supportive. If you are rhytmic, there has to be calmness somewhere else.
We are dealing with symmetry, very often it is so. Even if you’re the most avant garde composer, you still have a concept of symmetry (if not the idea with the piece is to study chaos, but true chaos and true randomness is hard to replicate. Composition is to replicate your inner self and the ideas you have. It’s an afterthought. Hence, why it’s hard to discard the idea of true chaos and asymmetric composition. Now I’m not talking about asymmetry in maths or chaos theory. That is something else, though it can be used within the arts and the systems we create in.).
Composition is to be curious about the aesthetical qualities that you subject your piece to and the consequences of your choices. Sometimes you need to completely rewrite a thing that doesn’t fit into the universe that you create. To weigh in on what a certain system of sound you are creating. Because that is what music is. It’s a system of control (again, discarding the avant gardists and chaotic studies). Every sound is a representation of human emotion through the physical event of air in motion. That is the pure basics and that is what you have to weigh in. You have to respect it enough to let it amuse you. To let the building blocks – by them selves – have a true and emotional meaning to you. Or else it’s not worth your time. Gather these blocks of air, let them represent something and see where it takes you. It’s another form of life to discover. A new frontier. Discover it.