Writing music can be a mystery as to where the ideas come from. Composers have been known to say that compositions can arrive by dream, sweat, work and time to mention just a few ways. No doubt more compositions come as a result of work than any other way. It has also been said “good composers borrow, great composers steal”. Or maybe that was said about painters, don’t remember, but whatever the case the implication is clear. Creators of great compositions have put considerable work into the ability to write great works. They oftentimes have spent time learning the compositions of others and analyzing what the previous composer did to create a work of interest.
No doubt this was not just a passing and quick endeavor for most. It takes time to really look at something to see the depth of it in a clear and useful way. Just understanding it is not always a guarantee it can be useful. Oftentimes it is necessary to use the ideas in new ways to see if they work well. Some very successful modern song writers have considerable time invested in studying and analyzing the compositions of very famous classical composers. These particular modern song writers have been rally successful using the ideas from greats in the past. I saw a documentary of one such modern song writer who played some of his pieces and then played compositions of the the great composers he studied and the link between the two was obvious when it was shown. It was pretty incredible to see that and I would have never made the connection on my own.
We are very fortunate today to have so much material available to us in such an easy way to access. We have more listening choices than ever before in human history, in fact the volume of choice is overwhelming.
Today we can also collaborate with other musicians around the world with the click of the mouse and create works of beauty transcending national and cultural boundaries. Musical influences from one cultures music on another is seen more often today than at anytime in history because we have such an ability to cross pollinate now. Remember when the Beatles went to India and George Harrison fell in love with the music from there? He then crafted these ideas and sounds into modern pop music of the day creating a whole new and interesting sound.