What does a Music Composer and Arranger do?

Write and transcribe musical scores.

Jobs Roles

  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Use computers and synthesizers to compose, orchestrate, and arrange music.
  • Determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.
  • Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes.
  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Guide musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions.
  • Score compositions so that they are consistent with instrumental and vocal capabilities such as ranges and keys, using knowledge of music theory.
  • Write musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.
  • Confer with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music.
  • Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.
  • Explore and develop musical ideas based on sources such as imagination or sounds in the environment.
  • Write music for commercial mediums, including advertising jingles or film soundtracks.
  • Transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.
  • Rewrite original musical scores in different musical styles by changing rhythms, harmonies, or tempos.
  • Study original pieces of music to become familiar with them prior to making any changes.
  • Arrange music composed by others, changing the music to achieve desired effects.
  • Accept commissions to create music for special occasions.
  • Study films or scripts to determine how musical scores can be used to create desired effects or moods.
  • Create original musical forms, or write within circumscribed musical forms such as sonatas, symphonies, or operas.
  • Collaborate with other colleagues, such as copyists, to complete final scores.
  • Copy parts from scores for individual performers.
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