What is Music Composition? History, Elements, Process & Examples

Published: October 18, 2023

Are you curious about music composition and how to compose music? Prepare to delve into the captivating world of musical composition, where creativity and emotions find expression through organized sounds.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the history of music composition, exploring its essential elements. We’ll unravel the creative process, giving you insight into how composers transform their ideas into musical masterpieces.


Throughout this exploration, we’ll showcase some fantastic musical compositions that have made a lasting impact. And if you’ve ever wondered about the intricacies of composing music, you’re in for a treat. We’ll provide valuable tips and tricks to help you navigate the challenges and discover your unique approach.

So, let’s embark on this musical adventure together and uncover the secrets of musical composition, answering questions like What is music composition, and how to compose music

The History of Musical Composition

Now get ready for a journey through the captivating history of composing music. We’ll explore everything from the ancient origins of creating melodies and rhythms to the evolution of composition techniques in the modern era. 

So, what is music composition? It’s the art of crafting musical pieces by meaningfully combining melodies, harmonies, and rhythms.

Radio tape used in history for listining music or radio

Let’s start at the beginning. Picture ancient civilizations discovering the magic of creating musical sounds, laying the foundation for what would become a rich musical heritage. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, where religious music took center stage, with Gregorian chants leaving an indelible mark on musical history.

Then comes the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, each with its own distinct style and influential composers pushing musical expression’s boundaries. 

Finally, we’ll dive into the contemporary era, where composition techniques have evolved excitingly and innovatively.

What are the Fundamental Elements of Music Composition?

Elements of  music Composition

Alt-Text: Elements-of-music-composition-in-art-form

Imagine you’re on a quest to unravel the secrets of musical composition. Let’s explore the fundamental elements that make a composition come alive, guiding you through the magical world of music creation. 

  1. Melody
  2. Harmony
  3. Rhythm
  4. Dynamics
  5. Form

1. Melody

Melody is the sould of composing music

Think of it as the heart and soul of a music composition. Melodies are those catchy tunes that stick with you long after the music ends. They have the power to evoke emotions and captivate listeners.

2. Harmony

Harmony provide sould to music

Imagine chords as companions to the melody. They provide depth and richness, enhancing the overall musical experience and song composition. Chord progressions create a harmonious blend, shaping the mood and character of the muisc piece.

3. Rhythm 

a dj making Rhythm 

Feel the pulse! Rhythm is the backbone that keeps the music moving. It’s all about organized patterns of beats and time signatures. It’s what makes you tap your feet and groove to the music.

4. Dynamics

volume, intensity, and expression of composing music

Picture a rollercoaster of volume, intensity, and expression. Dynamics breathe life into music compositions, allowing them to ebb and flow. They create tension and drama and make the music truly come alive.

5. Form

a person listing music via headphone

Imagine a roadmap for your music composition. The form provides structure and organization. It includes sections, repetition, and development. It’s like arranging puzzle pieces to create a cohesive and captivating musical journey.

Now, given you’re on a quest to become a master composer, you can enroll in the best music composition courses available, immersing yourself in a world of creativity and knowledge. 

Picture yourself surrounded by passionate instructors and fellow composers, exploring melodies, dissecting harmonies, finding your rhythm, understanding dynamics, and crafting your own musical masterpieces.

In these courses, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your skills, unleash your creativity, and gain valuable insights from experienced mentors. 

What is the Process of Composing Music?


When it comes to the process of composing music, it’s a thrilling adventure filled with inspiration, creativity, and dedication. Let’s delve into the steps that take a composer from a blank canvas to a mesmerizing musical creation.

  1. Inspiration
  2. Sketching and Brainstorming
  3. Motif Development
  4. Harmonization and Orchestration
  5. Refinement and Revision

1. Inspiration: Where It All Begins

a person sitting near bech and playong guitar

Every music composition starts with a spark of inspiration. It can come from anywhere: a beautiful landscape, a personal experience, or even a powerful emotion. These sources ignite the composer’s imagination and become the driving force behind their musical journey.

2. Sketching and Brainstorming: Capturing Ideas

In this stage, composers start jotting down their initial ideas, melodies, and motifs. It’s like sketching a rough outline of a musical piece or song composition. These sketches serve as the foundation, helping composers shape their creative vision.

3. Motif Development: Expanding Musical Ideas

lady listing songs and exploring more ideas for composing music

Motifs are small musical phrases that act as building blocks for a composition. Composers take these motifs and develop them further, transforming them into larger musical ideas. They experiment with variations, transformations, and repetitions, allowing the musical composition to evolve.

4. Harmonization and Orchestration: Creating Musical Depth

A lady is playing Orchestra

Now it’s time to add harmony and orchestration to the mix. Composers harmonize the melodies, arranging chords that complement and enhance the overall sound. They also allocate musical instruments or voices, reading off sheet music to develop tone and carefully crafting the desired musical textures and colors.

5. Refinement and Revision: Striving for Perfection

two ladies composing music via violion

As the music composition takes shape, composers engage in a crucial process of refinement and revision. They revisit their work, critically evaluating every aspect to ensure it aligns with their artistic vision. This iterative process of revision helps polish the composition, bringing it closer to perfection.

In this creative journey, composers can explore various types of musical composition. From symphonies to sonatas, concertos to operas, each type offers unique challenges and opportunities for self-expression. Composers can choose the path that resonates with their artistic sensibilities and aspirations.

So, whether you’re a budding composer or simply curious about the magic behind musical creation, understanding this process provides a glimpse into the artistry and dedication that goes into composing music. 

3 Examples of Musical Compositions


Let’s take a tour through the rich examples of musical compositions. From classical masterpieces to genre-defying works, the world of music offers a treasure trove of remarkable creations. Here are some examples that showcase the breadth and diversity of music composition.

Classical Masterpieces

The works of composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach are timeless treasures. From Mozart’s enchanting “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” to Beethoven’s awe-inspiring Symphony No.9 and Bach’s intricate “Brandenburg Concertos,” these compositions have stood the test of time, captivating generations with their genius.

Genre Diversity

Music composition extends far beyond the classical realm. Jazz fans appreciate the improvisational brilliance of Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train,” while rock enthusiasts groove to Queen‘s iconic anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 

Like John Williams’ breathtaking compositions for “Star Wars” or Hans Zimmer’s powerful soundtrack for “Inception,” film scores transport us to cinematic worlds.

Modern Innovations

In the realm of contemporary composition, artists push the boundaries of traditional structures. Philip Glass mesmerizes with his minimalist masterpiece “Metamorphosis,” while Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” showcases the innovative use of repetitive patterns. 

These examples are just glimpses into the vast array of musical compositions that inspire and move us. From the classics to diverse genres and modern innovations, each composition offers a unique journey for both composers and listeners. 

So, whether you find support in the elegance of a classical symphony or groove to the beats of contemporary experimentation, the world of musical composition invites you to explore, appreciate, and create your own musical masterpieces!


As we delve into the world of music composition, it becomes clear that it is a profound art form that allows individuals to eloquently express their creativity, emotions, and musical ideas through meticulously organized sounds.

The rich history of music composition has seen its evolution from ancient origins to the influential classical and romantic eras, ultimately leading us to the exciting innovations of the contemporary age.

Understanding the process of composing music reveals that while it may pose certain challenges, it is an immensely rewarding journey, accessible to anyone fueled by passion and dedication. Importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as each composer forges their distinct voice and style.

Therefore, embrace the enchantment of music composition, let your imagination soar, and explore the boundless possibilities within this art form. To enrich your understanding of it, consider delving into music theory, which provides valuable insights and tools to broaden your creative palette. Concepts such as harmony, melody, rhythm, and form empower you to effectively communicate your musical ideas.

In summary, music composition is a captivating process that allows individuals to express themselves through organized sounds, spanning from ancient roots to modern innovation. Whether you’re curious about the definition of composing music or what music composition entails, you’re embarking on a journey of creative discovery and limitless potential.