Composers Using Modern DAW's and Notation Software vs. Mozart/Bethoven

Hi Everyone,

It just came to my mind how effective and ineffective is the modern technology on music production. I just did a quick learned that Mozart wrote over 600 pieces ( including symphonies, operas, etc.) in 20 years ( he died at age 35). This means every once piece every two weeks. Bach, Beethoven and List, etc and many other used to write with pen and pencil huge amount of complex music for many instruments.

We, with all these fancy studios and gears cannot produce and collaborations not only we cannot produce such effective music, nor can make that amount! I know the music we listen today is different from classical or orchestral music. Personally, I like all kinds of music and I think they have their soft in the world of music. Nevertheless, It seems music is not the number 1 art anymore.

What do you guys think? I’d like to know and learn more about your thoughts on this.


Indeed, music is not the attraction it once was for most folks. Sad, but true. Music is now just a “part” of other things. Way too many things going on at the same time for common humans. I’m pretty sure people’s heads are going to start exploding before too long. Ahhhhhh … deep breaths.

Anyway, it seems to me people are more visual first nowadays.

A blind person would probably not see it the same way? :bulb:

Modern technology i the fermata to creativity IMO. We waste SO much time trouble shooting, beta testing etc when if we simply wrote our ideas down with paper and pencil like the Masters we would have way more compositions

“We” as a society have been striving for instant gratification and the path of least resistance for many decades now, often in the pursuit of profit. The very concept of delving deep into a field of study seems unpleasant to a lot of people regardless of what that field of study is.

Music is certainly no different. Why learn how to play, record and mix the drums when there’s a VSTi for it. Add an unhealthy dose of capitalism and profit to that and we are where we are.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t talented people out there though, and from one perspective things are probably better than ever given the super-efficient teaching tools and methodologies available.

Apples and Oranges.

First and foremost, if any of us are as genius as Mozart, Beethoven and the others listed, then wow! Make the most of it.

The great composers were writers and performers of extraordinary music for the time (and forever, I suppose). They were full time musos (for the most part). They were not recorders as we mostly want to be. Recording takes way more time than writing. I have written songs, choral works, music theatre, orchestral works etc. over a very long time. I have recorded a lot of it to a certain degree of clarity and success. But, I really need more time and financial assistance in order to make the recordings as good as possible. Stuck in my home studio, I do all right for my tastes and wants and needs but to take my work further requires so much more. Plus, I work nearly full time which takes away a lot of energy.

The real question one should ask is what would these great composers have done with the technology. Copy and paste happened even in their time, except it was hand written. Listen to the Messiah, for all of its merit, there’s an awful lot of painting by numbers in the orchestral score.

Still, comparisons are impossible. Apples and Oranges.

all the best


I really don’t think that’s the case at all.

If we’re looking at the different jobs involved with getting music into my ears and assume all people are at least good at what they do then a good composition will likely take far longer to write than record. For orchestral music, or “classical”, then writing takes a fair amount of time whereas for a recording what you need is a good orchestra, room and engineer and then you’re done. Can take weeks to write and you’re done recording it in a day.

For popular music it’s obviously a bit different, but since not everyone is a Lennon / McCartney we’re still looking at a fair amount of time for songwriting and less than a day to record.

Now, obviously, if we want to get into the weeds of production and do a ton of musical sound design etc then yeah, it’ll take longer.

But I think that’s why it’s not entirely an impossible apples and oranges comparison. What would they have done? Well, if we had a time machine and allowed them to create faster then I think it would have been very interesting and they surely had output more and-or different music. On the other hand, if we had gone back in time and brought them back to our time and raised them here from their youth then I think it’d have been very different.

On average things are very different now as we behave different when creating art and relating to art as consumers.

Hi Mattias,

Actually, I think we’re on much the same page. You are right for the physical recording of an orchestra but there are many things needed prior and post to make it worth the effort. And, I know how long it takes to write a score - I guess I was thinking of the initial creative moments when scratching out ideas and putting them into a structure are the most satisfying aspects. That is, until it’s completed and polished.

And yes, we behave according to what is available to us at any given time. Fair point there.


Good thread,

Of well-known composers, some were faster than others using the ‘tech’ of their day. I think they’d all be just as fast or slow working with today’s tools.

Take a typical week for J.S. Bach – hand-line the manuscript paper, write the music, copy out the parts, rehearsals. He’s covering keyboards and and often vocals, too. Week in week out. Would he be “faster” with modern technology? Perhaps in some things, but not in the speed of his composing, putting the band together, rehearsals.

Paul Hindemith was known to be blazingly fast and able to turn out respectable music with pen and paper even while riding the New York City Subway.

I think any musician with some skill can and should be able to produce acceptable, even successful, music with our technology, but great composition is always going to more rare.

(Many of the greatest compositions and composers are largely unknown or under-recognized – not top plays on streaming sites, don’t earn anyone a lot of money in comparison to the mega-stars.)

Interesting thoughts and views.

Different times. But classical composers had templates, just like we do.

Bach, Vivaldi and other composers of that era composed pieces that they also used for other settings or instruments. So an existing hobo concerto was rearranged to become a new flute concerto?

In 1928 Dimitri Shostakovitch, who always claimed to love any kind of music, was challenged by conductor Nikolai Malko and he bet him 100 rubles that he couldn’t orchestrate the song ‘Tea for Two’ within an hour after having hearing it just once on a record. Shostakovitch won the bet by doing the complete orchestration in just 40 minutes!

Maurice Ravel claimed that composing is mainly about making choices and it is 90% perspiration and craftsmanship and just 10% inspiration.

Classical composers struggled with creation just as we do today. A lot of people seem to think that composing music is a pure feast? Well, it isn’t! Just like any other job it involves hard work! I also think that composers are often bi-polar. They need to live all the lows and highs of emotions to be able to create that in the music they write.

Many classical composers have encountered depressions at some point. The creative mind is strong and fragile at the same time. The creative mind thrives on being able to create. If for some reason that process is interrupted for a longer period of time it creates discomfort and in the long run depression.

How “effective and ineffective” are our tools are as opposed to Mozart, Beethoven etc in his days is not really the question?

The question is: “how talented are you as a composer and how skilled are you in terms of the tools you use today?”

Some talented kid could create the most beautiful work on a cheap laptop in a day with a minimum of tools, while some would be musician with a million dollar studio with the most fancy software that’s available can’t create sh*t in a year?

So I think creating music is all about talent and being able to make the right choices at the right time.

Sometimes, there are often social elements/factors that cause large amount of quality music production. As in causes for social movements to succeed. It reminds me of not very old discipline in socialogy: Sociology of Music