An author starts with a story and builds a novel around it: filling in the characters, describing the place and time, build tension and release points, offer cues and setups for what is to come and weave a credible tale from the small kernel of a story.
It seems to me a composer must do the same thing: start with a simple melody, build up complimentary harmonies, lead-ins, tension and release points, offer cues and setups for what is to come, and variations on the theme.
One story is told with words the other with notes.
Just as a beautifully bound book helps engage our senses and opens a path for us to connect with the author, a great stereo system that presents musical stories without additions or subtractions brings us closer to the composer's vision.
The stories that resonate with us are the ones that connect us to authors and composers.