The Most Powerful Tool In Music Composition

This compositional method can reshape your music and transform your compositions.



There was a very popular television series in the 1980's called The A-Team. I'm sure most of you are familiar with it.


It was about a four member military commando unit who were falsely imprisoned, but managed to escape. Afterwards, they survived as soldiers for hire.


At the end of most episodes, after successfully completing their mission, their leader – Hannibal, would smile and say, "I love it when a plan comes together".


And this brings us to the most powerful tool a composer has in his/her tool kit.


Repetition

Let me explain...


You see, it wasn't the substance of what Hannibal said at the end of each episode of The A-Team that was nearly as important as the fact that he said it in the first place.


This repetitious act that occurred in each episode connected the viewer with the characters, the show, and the plot in a way that far exceeded the other story elements.


This is why branding experts tell us that repetition is one of their go-to methods in marketing campaigns.


The things that are repeated are the things that will stay with you.


See: 3 Simple Things That Will Take Your Compositions To The Next Level

How does this relate to music composition?

Just as most successful television shows have a "tagline" like the above mentioned "I love it when a plan comes together", most successful music compositions have motivic repetition.


I'm not referring to motivic development in this instance. While motivic development is important, I'd argue that repetition of motive is even more important.


Where motivic development provides a sense of entertainment, motivic repetition provides a sense of connection, cohesion, catharsis, and completion.


Repetition is what perpetuates and sustains the main musical idea long after the music has ended... and it's what allows the music to live on long after the musicians have left the stage.


For these reasons, repetition is arguably the most powerful tool in any composers tool kit.