Five I's of Composing*



  • only rule = do not sit around and wait to be inspired - inspiration comes through doing!


  • think of yourself as an explorer discovering


  • build the skeleton of the piece (form, outline, map, time-line, chart)
  • write down in words what it is you want your piece to sound like
  • in some cases, it can be effective to begin by planning the end
  • you don't write down or orchestrate all the notes at this point

Inscription (or Ink)

  • implement the infrastructure ideas by writing down all the notes


  • examine the piece carefully and critically
  • read through the entire score multiple times (hearing the music in your head)
    • check if everything is timed well

* Adapted from Scott McAllister's Four I's of Composing as described

   on pp. 53-54 of Tori L. Patterson's dissertation.