Composers write music pieces that may vary in length and difficulty from symphonies to 30-second radio jingles. They have no other specific duties unless they:
- are composers-in-residence for symphony orchestras, choral groups or post-secondary schools
- are college instructors or university professors
- have accepted a commission or signed a contract that defines additional responsibilities.
Composers often develop a style of their own but may produce music in other styles when required by clients. For example, they may be commissioned to compose music for a live dance performance, a new symphony, or a film or television soundtrack. They may work closely with arrangers, orchestrators or music copyists to complete final scores, or with performers in rehearsals and recording sessions.
Film and television composers study films and scripts and work with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of the music so that it creates the desired effect.
Increasingly, composers are using computers and synthesizers to produce music scores, to orchestrate and to create new arrangements.