Wired recently invited pianist and composer Nahre Sol to demonstrate different levels of piano composition. Nahre Sol has a popular YouTube channel where she uploads videos explaining piano technique, composition and improvisation. In this video, starting with a simple melody, Happy Birthday, Nahre Sol leads the viewer through 16 techniques to create increasingly complex variations on a theme.
I was reminded of Musica Ricercata by György Ligeti. After listening to Nahre Sol's exposition I understand the piece much better.
In my choreographic work I use various similar techniques to create complexity.