Composition vs Sounddesign vs Mixing & Mastering

I thought in order to study and learn music production more efficiently it might make sense to come up with some categories that break the production process down into different parts.

I came up with three categories wich in my eyes cover three very different aspects of the music production process, which is why it makes sense to look at them separately. The three categories are Composition, Sounddesign and Mixing & Mastering.


For me composition is using musical elements, and arranging them to create a song. By musical elements I basically mean everything from, instruments to single samples or even sound effects. The composition process includes choosing the right elements and deciding what they do and when they do it. It also includes coming up with what melodies, harmonies and rhythms each single elements as well as multiple elements as a collective play.


While composition is about what elements to choose and what they do over time, sounddesign in my opinion is about creating these musical elements. It includes techniques like synthesis, sampling and using effects to create musical sounds. For me this is a separate section since it used different technics then composition and makes up a different stage in the production process. Which ultimately means that I will also study and practice it separately.

Mixing & Mastering

Mixing and Mastering is about making your music sound as good as possible. Even though there is definitely and overlap with sounddesign and to some extent probably even composition, it’s core objektive is very different. The core of s song are the musical elements it contains and how the are arranged, while mastering and mixing is a step to amplify what these elements are portraying . It is less about creating something and more about making something better. Of course that might sometimes lead to actually creating something to make something better, but using this approach can quickly lead to going back and forth for ever and never finishing a track.

I am going to try to compose and design a track until it is finished and then mix and master it afterwards to maintain a better workflow and keeping my creative process going.

Why look at these separately?

The whole objective for coming up with these categories is to have a better way to structure myself when studying and learning. Understanding these different parts of my production process helps me figuring out what my weaknesses are prioritise wich parts I should focus on and study more. Recognising these different stages also helped me come up with ideas how to come up with better work flow approaches and how to structure my production approach over all.