Home » 8 – Composition (Home) » 1 Writing a simple Classical theme

1 Writing a simple Classical theme

Classical themes are based on common structures and patterns that are fairly straightforward – that is partly how Mozart and Haydn were able to write so much music*. Following the stages below, you will find it relatively easy to get the basics of a theme sorted – the real challenge to to write a really good and memorable theme. The secret to that is to have lots of attempts until you come up with something you are happy with – getting a good melodic idea at Stage 1 will make the rest of the process easy, so it is worth getting right.


Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Compose a Basic Idea Writing Cadences Choosing a phrase structure Texture and Instrumentation

Being familiar with the basic conventions of the Western Classical Tradition as outlined on the Composing Help and Reference pages  is really important, so if you are unsure follow the link and have a read through.

* Although the music is BASED on straightforward principles, you will find that many Classical phrases have more twists and turns than the relatively simple examples and models suggested here. Once you know what you are doing you can look at some of the ways in which Haydn and Mozart spice up their melodic and harmonic writing and incorporate them (and indeed your own wrinkles) into your work.