instruments can be used as music composing tools

5 Essential Music Composing Tools Every Composer Must Have

August 2, 2020 Selin Gökova 3 min read No Comments

So, you have this beautiful melody in your mind that you want to expand and work on more. Or, you may just want to get prepared in case inspiration strikes. Either way, it is crucial to have the necessary music composing tools with you. The right music composing tools will facilitate your composition process.

That beautiful melody in your mind won’t stay there for a long time. What you want to do is to make sure that you have all your essential tools in hand to help you create your music. Trust me! You don’t want to lose the inspiration that you got due to not having the right music composing tools at the moment. Inspiration is not something you will get any time.

This takes us to the next step, which is to decide which tools you need while composing music. The tools I will recommend you to have are the essential and most basic ones. Both an advanced and beginner composer need at least 1 of them based on their composing style, which means you don’t have to use all the music composing tools I’ve listed here.

Let’s see the tools you will need most while composing your music!


To start with, I want to mention that composing music without an instrument is definitely an option. In fact, some composers use only their ear, a pencil, and manuscript papers while composing. However, this method may require a well-trained ear since you have to correctly hear all the notes and chords in your head while you are writing.

What most of the composers do is that they use their instruments during the composition process to test out their ideas, improvise, or just to play around with different melodies. You can compose by using the instrument you can already play. However, the general consensus among music composers is that the most comfortable instrument for composing is the piano. Even if you are composing for strings or brass sections, the wide range and polyphonic possibilities the piano offer facilitates the composition process.

If you don’t play the piano, don’t worry! The piano might seem complex, but it is the easiest instrument to learn in fact. While it can take weeks to learn even the simple chords in other instruments, you can learn them on the piano in a very short amount of time. The piano is a very straightforward instrument, which makes it the best option to use as your main composing tool.

Related: Learning Piano Online During Quarantine: 4 Highly Effective Methods

2-Voice Recorder

Along with my instrument, a voice recorder is probably the most common tool I’m using during my composition session. I can’t emphasize how important it is to have a voice recorder while you’re composing.

Most times it will take you more than a day to compose music and you want to make sure you have your ideas recorded. Otherwise, you will likely forget the stuff you composed just the day before. Believe me, it happens a lot and it sucks.

3-Daw and a Midi Keyboard

These two are the other composing tools that I frequently use, especially when I’m writing for a different instrument other than my own.

Daw is a digital audio workstation, which allows you to record, edit, and produce different sounds. For example, if I’m composing for strings, I open my strings library, connect my MIDI keyboard to my DAW, and hear a strings sound while I’m playing my MIDI keyboard. This is something that helps me get more creative and enrich my music with different sounds during my composition process.

4-Manuscript Papers

Manuscript papers are great tools if you enjoy more the old-fashioned composing style. You can use manuscript papers right away with a pencil by writing down the notes. However, you might also want to use them while you are playing your instrument to write down the ideas you come up with your instrument.

5-Music Notation Software

Alternatively, you might want to write down your ideas to music notation software. The best thing about using notation software is that you can quickly edit your notes and test out different ideas. It gives you the freedom to replace notes and add new ones, which allows you to be more creative in your composition process.

Selin Gökova

Selin Gökova is a neo-classical composer and pianist from Istanbul, Turkey. Holding an ABRSM certificate on piano performance, she's been playing the piano and composing for ten years. Wandering Tunes is her side project where she combines her two passions: writing and music.

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

I accept the Privacy Policy


Hi, my name is Selin. Playing the piano and composing are my biggest passions. I've founded this blog to share everything I've learned throughout the years about piano playing and learning. I hope you stick around! Read More

Latest Posts