Music Composer/Arranger  What They Do

Just the Facts

Music Composers and Arrangers Career Video

Writes and transcribes musical scores.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Performing Arts pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Applies elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Uses computers and synthesizers to compose, orchestrate, and arrange music.
  • Determines voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.
  • Experiments with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Writes changes directly into compositions, or uses computer software to make changes.
  • Transcribes ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Guides musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions.
  • Scores compositions so that they are consistent with instrumental and vocal capabilities such as ranges and keys, using knowledge of music theory.
  • Writes musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.
  • Confers with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

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  • Jingle Writer --
  • Music Arranger --
  • Music Composer --
  • Music Producer -- Oversees the development of songs by drawing together instrumental and vocal elements.
  • Songwriter --