Brett Alan wrote:
Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
Composition is really just writing the musical parts, Macca and Lennon had some great compositional ability, but nowhere to the degree of Wilson or Zappa. If anything, George Martin was the greatest composer in the Beatles, as he worked as the Arrange and Orchestrator, and helped design and write most of the instrumental parts outside of the Beatles 5 main instruments. Either way, a composer is measured by the 3 subjects that govern composition: Writing, Arranging, and Orchestrating.
Writing is composing. Arranging and orchestrating are separate things. (People can still arrange or orchestrate Beethoven's symphonies. Doesn't mean that Beethoven didn't compose them.)
I really think you want another word here. To say that George Martin was a greater composer than Lennon or McCartney is ridiculous.
No, I don't. I've been taking music composition classes for quite a while, I know the definition of a composer quite well, it's not as cut and dry as it seems. The verb to compose in reference to music just means to write instrumental melodies/vocals, and rhythm parts. The three musical parts of a piece of music are melody, rhythm, and harmony. To actually completely finish a musical piece involves not just writing all those parts, but putting them together, as my previous definition describes. The songwriter writes the 'idea' of each part, i.e. the singular melodic/harmonic parts. Then, the arranger takes the compositions overarching idea and transcribes/arranges it to the correct instrument parts, breaking up the melody, rhythm, and harmony to the proper instruments and re-writing the initial composition to apply to each part. Then the orchestrator overlays them and puts all the parts together into the overarching piece, and throws on the dynamic touches, like crescendo's, tempo changes, forte/piano, etc. A composer, as a musician, is all three. Bach and Beethoven did all three on there own as well. While learning about the music industry, the songwriter is actual the person who just writes the overarching melody/rhythm/harmony ideas, one basic set of measures on basic sheets of paper, there are tons of songwriters in the music industry, definitely in pop, who churn out these melodies to arrangers, who then set up the piece for the artist to play, who gets what parts, what's sung, etc. This tends to be the manager of the artist in most cases, if not, the manager takes the position of orchestrator. All music goes through these composition stages, however there's a reason that we don't consider every manager/songwriter in the pop industry a 'composer' on their own, we would define composer as the collective group, which is fine if we did Beatles + Martin. Martin was much more of the composer in the group than anyone else, as he not only took up two of the positions of the composer, but put more into them than any singular Beatle did for most of it. Lennon/Macca is the greatest songwriting duo, they wrote basic melodies and ideas together in their hotel room, on trips, etc. They would then take it and show it to Martin and the rest of the band, who would then assign the parts and have Martin re-write and arrange them accordingly, then mix them and overlay for the album production. This is strict music terminology here, it's not complicated, there are actual definitions of a composer and steps of music composition. The best way to make an objective criteria would be to follow this. Also, a common misconception, an orchestrator does not lead an orchestra or apply the music to the orchestra, that would be a conductor. Orchestra means a size able amount of instruments played in conjunction with each other for a single piece. Orchestrate has two meanings, direct from the dictionary:
1. Arrange or score (music) for orchestral performance.
2. Arrange or direct the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, esp. surreptitiously.
We are looking at the second as a function of the composer. I literally just went over this with a friend for his master's dissertation in concert piano.