Writing down songs? in The Workings Of Music Posted August 15, 2013 A little late to the show here ..... but .... I can't imagine *any* popular musician or band literally "composing" sheet music to any song they may write. They will leave that up to their publishers, after the fact, and hopefully collect a royalty from the publisher for printing their song into sheet music form for the world to play. What I do imagine is the song writer to have an idea for a melody in their head that fits their lyrics and then translate a basic chord progression to the band for practice until the song writer gets the results he or she wants. Every one contributes to the final product. LC Yeah, that's pretty much how it's done in a small band situation, where all the band members are taking a part in the actual composition. But let's go back to the Big Band days. Band leaders like Glen Miller and maybe a couple others in the band that knew composition would peck out the melodies, counter-point, bass lines, etc., a lot of times just on a piano, and then score it on paper. Then that score would be worked out separately to fit the rhythm section, sax section, trombone and trumpet sections, etc. Pat Metheny's 'Secret Stories' CD is a more modern example of this, as Pat did his compositions on piano mostly for all the different pieces, and then broke it into parts and assigned it to separate instruments, which is what orchestration is about. After that stage is done, then comes the time to present the piece to the various musicians that each will play a part, and they work out their individual parts, making suggestions as needed, adding their contributions, etc. This stage is about arranging. Composing for orchestra requires a score on paper. But even in today's modern recording studios with a small group of studio musicians and a solo artist, they still create a chord chart for the tune, most often using the Nashville Number System. I highly recommend that if anyone is going to write songs, they learn to use the Nashville Number System to make a chord chart at a minimum.