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Image by Timothy Dykes


Hey folks!

This is an absolute marathon of a composition challenge which I devised back in 2021 as part of my personal Lenten observance. It's one composition a day for 40 days, based on a series of one-word prompts!

If you folks remember 21 Days of VGM, it's kinda like that.  The goal is to get us musicians composing, even if it's just four or eight bars. It is also intended to encourage going placidly about our composition exercise and moving on during this season.

By the way, you don't need to observe Lent to partake in this challenge. Simply partaking in it if you're able, and if you feel it's a good exercise, is all there is to it!

Image by George Jachvadze


Here I've included the 40-track album, tessarakoste, which is made of all the tracks that I wrote in the very first #LentenCompo, which I test-drove in 2021 to see if it was feasible. Hopefully it might give you some ideas!

Feel free to read the Background section of this page for more info on how this challenge came to be.

Be sure to read the Guidelines before attempting this, and once you've read them, head over to the Prompt List for the full list of regular and backup prompts!

Image by Alexander Grey


I've listed some general guidelines for anyone who would like to partake.

Below the general guidelines is a list of modifiers for anyone who has the spoons and the time to attempt this challenge in Hard Mode. Some of these are modifiers I set for myself in the original 2021 challenge.

I'd like to stress that the only reward you get from that is personal satisfaction, nobody's ranking after all!


  • You do not need to compose according to the prompts in the Prompt List if you have something different to compose each day.

  • You can iron out the prompts in any which order.

  • Once you have finished a prompt, cross it out. No doing the same one twice.

  • All you need to do per prompt is at least four bars. That's all. If you can do a full piece, that's wonderful -- but if you can't, four bars will do.

  • If you are unable to do a prompt on a given day for whatever reason, catch up on the next day if you can. Yes, that'll mean two prompts that day, but the "four bar" rule above should help keep things simple if we need it. (Again, don't sweat it if you can't.)

  • If you find yourself unable to write based on a particular prompt and nothing is coming, feel free to pick a prompt from the Bonus Prompt List to substitute. The Bonus Prompt List is a pool of extra prompts that you can choose from should you find any one of the regular ones difficult.

  • Theming is allowed for the purposes of this challenge. Borrowing melodic fragments from previous pieces that you've done during the challenge could be a great base for making new pieces. If you're thinking of writing a soundtrack during the Challenge, this could make your soundtrack more cohesive.

  • Any method of composition is allowed -- whether you record live on an instrument, or compose on a DAW, or write notes into a manuscript, etc. Just be sure to keep track of the dates!


  • Try doing the prompts in order. Prompt 1 for Day 1, Prompt 2 for Day 2, and so on.

  • Once you complete a Bonus Prompt, cross out both that particular Bonus Prompt AND the prompt that you substituted. The regular prompt for that day is voided if you replace it with something else.

  • Try and make time for a visualiser / DAW / playback video of your piece each day.

  • Try the challenge with additional limitations, such as:

    • Use or don't use certain instruments, either for individual pieces or for the whole challenge.​

    • Compose within a specific timeframe; e.g., close the DAW after an hour.

    • No rehashing of previous work!

Image by Dominik Scythe


This is the original list of prompts and bonus prompts that I used in the original 2021 Challenge. They are based on emotions and expressions and ideas, but also things that can be perceived and felt.

Feel free to use them, substitute them, or not use them as you wish!

Style and feel are up to you. How I interpreted these single word prompts can be found in The First #LentenCompo section above. If you have any questions and would like to contact me, methods of contacting me are listed in the FAQ section below.


  1. Silence

  2. Longing

  3. Penance

  4. Pilgrimage

  5. Light

  6. Night-time

  7. Believe

  8. Distance

  9. Wisdom

  10. Isolation

  11. Thanksgiving

  12. Supplication

  13. Heartbreak

  14. Vision

  15. Contemplation

  16. Wood

  17. Arid

  18. Strength

  19. Devotion

  20. Time

  21. Wind

  22. Wish

  23. Calm

  24. Blue

  25. Worn

  26. Spring

  27. Empty

  28. Peace

  29. Spectrum

  30. Skin

  31. Water

  32. Dreamy

  33. Dusk

  34. Faith

  35. Intrigue

  36. Destiny

  37. Hope

  38. Despair

  39. Friends

  40. Resurrection


  1. Petition

  2. Steel

  3. Speed

  4. War

  5. Anger

  6. Space

  7. Fire

  8. Poison

  9. Bread

  10. Punishment

  11. Illness

  12. Startup

  13. Dreamy

  14. Glass

  15. Brotherhood

  16. Love

  17. Darkness

  18. Mystery

  19. Freedom

  20. Dawn

  21. History

  22. Close

  23. Fragile

  24. Red

  25. Green

  26. Glory

  27. Determination

  28. Shaking

Image by Nathan Anderson


When does it begin, and when does it end?

In 2024, it will begin on 14 February and end on 31 March. Since the first day coincides with Valentine's Day, and I expect many of you to be out, or just taking care of yourselves, don't worry if you miss that day or have a late start!


The challenge will take place during all weekdays and Saturdays. Sundays are break days / catch-up days.

Are we gonna be judged or ranked for this thing? What happens to the songs we write?

This isn't a contest! This is as informal as a challenge gets. Simply finishing for the satisfaction of finishing is the end goal.

You could make entire albums of soundtracks and put them up for sale if you so desired. All the songs that you write in this challenge are yours. 

Are we allowed to rehash previous ideas?

Yes, if the previous ideas are incomplete or lost, or you wish to take them in a completely different direction -- you can, for example, borrow a melodic fragment from a previous song of yours and take that in a different direction.

Would you be willing to listen and comment on our stuff?

Absolutely, time permitting of course! Drop me a line on Discord (my username is troisnyx).

Alternatively, put your track up on Newgrounds and message me there.

You can also @ mention me on Twitter or cohost (same username on both these sites).

What happens if we miss a day? :(

Don't worry if you miss a day! Just keep the exercise up as best as you can.

If you can, try doing two the next night. I understand, however, if it is not feasible due to time constraints or other circumstances. The important thing about this is doing our best, going placidly, moving on, letting go of the worries that might naturally arise as a result of a challenge like this.

Image by Timothy Dykes


You all probably guessed this, but I do indeed observe the season of Lent.


In years past, whenever Lent approached, I would often find something to give up -- whether it was an item of food, or a habit, or activity on a website that I enjoyed. Over the years, however, I found that I wasn't living that season fruitfully. I didn't want to simply give up something for the sake of giving up something. Also, right up until November of 2021, I was an asylum seeker. I had no right to work, and so little to give aside from my time and musicianship. It came to the point that the people closest to me agreed that I couldn't properly give up anything for Lent because I had so little to give up. I took the time to try and cultivate better habits instead.


In 2021, in the thick of a third full Covid-19 related lockdown in the UK, I decided that I would spend that time a little differently. I wanted what I undertook during Lent to be a genuine spiritual exercise, something that would transform me as a creative, and as a person. Music can serve as a form of meditation and prayer to me, after all. In the first lockdown, in 2020, I took part in the penultimate 21 Days of VGM composition challenge, having only discovered it just a week or so before. I figured that in 2021, I would do something similar -- but instead of 21 days, I would fill out all 40 days of Lent with contemplation, reflection, and music.

In the weeks leading up to the start of Lent, I consulted with my then fiancé, and we planned a list of 40 prompts, plus some spares if, for whatever reason, any particular prompt proved too difficult for me to finish and I needed to substitute it. Then, at the start of Lent, I announced my temporary departure from social media for the season, and spent my nights composing based on that prompt list.

And this was how the Lenten Composition Challenge was born.

I did this challenge alone in 2021. I didn't open the challenge to anyone else at the time, because I wanted to make sure that it was feasible. It didn't need to be a big, fleshed-out piece each day -- even four or eight bars would be enough on any given day if that was all I could manage. The expectations for this challenge were no different than that of 21 Days of VGM, but the prompts were a lot more open to interpretation.

I needed to take some days off due to illness or other concerns, but I used my Sundays (and the days after I'd missed specific challenges) to catch up. In the end, I completed the challenge, having written all 40 pieces of music that I had set out to write.

Once I had finished it, I spoke with a number of my friends in the VGM scoring community, telling them about the challenge that I had just finished, a challenge that I had set for myself. I figured that having others try it with me would be fun, but I wouldn't know how interested people would be in this challenge unless I put the idea forward to them. A number of people gave me the encouragement I needed to make this challenge public, and some even offered to do it with me.

I attempted to publicise it in 2022 but nobody bit; I did that challenge alone. In 2023, I was in no fit state to host it or publicise it. In mid-2023, I updated this page to reflect the layout of the rest of the site, in a bid to prepare it for 2024.


I don't expect to host this permanently; in the event that anything crops up that would prevent me from hosting this, I hope that I may be able to pass the torch to someone who would be up for the challenge. But for now, at least for a time, there'll be a little nook on this website dedicated to the #LentenCompo.

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