Friday, February 26, 2010

The Blank Page


Is it selfish, self-serving? I'm not sure (probably is). With that thought firmly in mind, I'll TRY to be brief in these missives.

I really prefer to speak in musical expression. The only problem, is that it's so open to interpretation…

Let's be hypothetical (OK everyone ready? got your lycra suits and Matrix style sunglasses on? Good, begin.)

I might write a piece of music (hypothetically) displaying my gooey, inner-soul for all to peruse and mock. Invariably, you present this highly intimate and personal expression to an early listener. You wait for it… the part about your childhood goes by… the chord that represents your long, lost love rings out… Your most embarrassing adult moment calcified in three part harmony… finally, mercifully it's done. The person says, "Wow man, nice piece. I particularly like the squiggly thing that came in after the weird sound in the beginning." and I think, Holy S**t! I just poured my heart out there, the musical equivalent of pulling my pants down and he said, "Wow man, nice piece".

You know what? That's perfect. All as it should be. The music hit that listener in just the way that he or she was ready to hear it. No explanation, no set-up. The music did its job and went home to it's family. The 'Trans-Lingual' (I've never heard that word before) quality of music, is what is so exciting to me. You (the listener) and I, don't have to speak the same language. I don't speak Czech or French or Klingon. (You might…) You don't speak English (you know who you are…apparently you can read it). BUT, we both speak 'Emotion'. Cheesy, I know. But true. You either like what a piece of music has to say, or you don't. Regardless, it spoke.

I think part of the craft of being a composer is finding ways to say something musically, that will speak to different people in a similar way. What makes something feel heroic, or scary or romantic? I have some ideas about that. (It's my job, I'd be remiss if I didn't…) But, let's discuss it. Is something that's scary to a 6th grader in New Guinea, scary to a 'large for his age' Swiss fifth grader? I don't have the foggiest. I bet someone knows, and I intend to check it out.

I am interested in how humans respond emotionally to moving images on a screen. How does the sound and musical information that goes with it, change a person's perception of the experience? All good questions. For later.

To the sole sentient being reading this blog, the artificial intelligence computer at Google, (who has to! it's his job.) I apologize for the random acts of violent punctuation and the out-right making up of words like 'Trans-Lingual'.