September Music Composition Challenge - School of Composition

September Composition Challenge: ‘Music for Words’

September Music Composition Challenge - School of Composition
September Music Composition Challenge – School of Composition

This month’s musical composition challenge is based on the Tone Painting lesson I published some days ago. Your task is simply to choose a short poem from the ones I selected below and put it to music. For guidelines and details please read ahead. 

By the way, make sure to read or watch the Tone Painting lesson before you choose a poem for this challenge. You can find it here: 

How to Write Music Ep. 1: Tone Painting

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The 4 Poems

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Fire and Ice

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.

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Fall, Leaves, Fall

by Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss ot me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers

by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.

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He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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Who can participate? 

Everyone! No matter your level of experience you can (and should) take part. The aim here is to exercise our craft together. Think of it as a creative workout for composers. 

There are no restrictions for style or instrumentation but as always, keep it simple if you’re only just starting out. Short and sweet is better than complex and incomplete. 

At the end of the challenge I’ll produce a video analyzing some of the submissions, briefly pointing out interesting features as well as small suggestions where appropriate. (If you wish to remain anonymous let me know by email).


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How to submit an entry for the challenge

To submit an entry:

  • Share your links on this Facebook group with the hashtag: #SeptemberChallenge and/or 
  • Send me an email with links or attachments at matt@schoolofcomposition.com – with “September Challenge” as the subject line.

Deadline: 3rd of October, 2018

Good luck and have fun! I hope to hear a lot of your music to this challenge!