I'm going through my daily todo list and I see "write a blog post" has been entered twice, so here I am :)
The productivity app I use is top-rated and today I couldn't help but admire how good it looks and works. It takes UX designers, programmers, IT technicians, support staff and other specialists to develop and run a popular app like this. Like most businesses, the founder started with an idea, then a basic prototype (a.k.a. Minimum Viable Product) then collaborated with a team over many iterations to realize his vision.
The composition of songs is similar. The composer has an idea and tries to capture the idea using some kind of media. Depending on the genre and the skills of the artist, she may also try to make a basic first version of the song using FL Studio or jam it out on an instrument.
A week or so ago I decided to mash church hymns with Hip-Hop and call it "Hymn-Hop". The inaugural hymn for this musical experiment is Do What Is Right. I chose that one of hundreds in the public domain because my cat Astro recently passed away and it was her favorite.
Yes, cats have favorite hymns, or at least mine do.
So I wrote a rap to augment the lyrics - the process that has made me appreciate the depth of this art form and the rappers who do it so well. Now I'm looking to collaborate with a Hip-Hop producer that can help me realize my idea.
The question arises (again) about what qualifies as a legitimate method of composition and who qualifies as a composer. If I was to design or utilize A.I. to generate music that people enjoy, does that count? Ash Koosha, David Cope and Holly Herndon (who reminds me of a female Richard David James) are considered composers of the highest order. What if I have a song in my head and hire someone to perform and produce it as per my specifications like someone I know did. Is that composition proper?
Then there are musicians like Henry Rollins that don't play an instrument or even sing for that matter. Neither did Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols.
At the other extreme are composers who do everything themselves, going from idea to playing every instrument and recording/producing. Their process may be slow and exploratory or a flash of inspiration and execution, but they do it all themselves. Rod Modell a.k.a. Deepchord and Prince are like that, to name but a few.
For the first Hymn-Hop, I'll probably land closer to Henry Rollins on the composer continuum... although is it considered arranging and not composition since I'm adapting a pre-existing work? Hip-Hop reappropriates samples and melodies from other songs into new creations, so I'm not sure what to think.
I'll keep you updated.