Music Composers Unite!
I didn't write for years, to avoid traditional concepts of composition. I focused on performance which I love and can find no matter where I'm transplanted as my husband moved us for militaryservice, education, and jobs. I was encouraged to stay home with the kids, to go back to work, to get my masters, to teach in the schools ... but my dream to write was always there. It wasn't until last summer, after being laid off as a music teacher, I decided to plug in the cord, to write and learn how to use the technology to record music that reminded me of Hearts of Space. Playing flute on the recordings brought a great sense of satisfaction and fear at the same time. When asked for constructive comments from family and friends, I was told to turn up the hidden flute sound, that it should not be buried in the background, but instead featured.
So, my discussion topic is this: What is your style? How have you gathered sounds from your favorite composers? Are you using their genre or imitating an actual composition? Do you only have original ideas or is that even possible as we are all influenced by what we hear and read and feel? Do you like to have your music labeled? Are you writing to be market worthy? Are you expressing yourself or showing off your technique? Are you influenced by the listener? Family?
I'm still trying to write the perfect piece ... thank goodness I've got a long way to go as I keep writing, I can't stop ... I know its just around the corner ... It's exciting, like a new love interest.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings and look forward to your comments.
Another thing indeed! When the choice comes between being a innovative composer, pushing the borders of the musical frontiers, and being a familly man and a father - the familly man gets the upper hand every time! It's hard enough to come up with something seriously good, but to do it with the theme music from Bob the builder ringing in your ears is even harder ; )
John Paul Smith said:
I know this hasn't answered many of your questions, but my sweet little 7 year-old is demanding some attention right this very moment, which is another thing...
as for style? i feel i already have 'my' style in my head. and it has been developing. i don't have the technique behind it yet... i'm now beginning to attempt to master counterpoint and other technicalities so i can successfully manifest my ideas
it's going to be a long journey. a fun one, and difficult, as it already has been.
Personally, I'm not too afraid to experiment with new sounds. Of course, as long as they can be made completely acoustically, or through limited electronics. This has led me to try ridiculous things with the percussion equipment at my school. But as a younger person, when I find a new sound or technique I want to use, I have a tendency to try whipping up a new section in a work-in-progress just to try out that new thing.
While I DO pull from pieces that I like (a frequently borrow scores from school to study), I very much try to make things my own. Think of most major Film Scorers, but I'll use John Williams, affectionately called one of the "World's Greatest Plagiarists". I've had a chance to look in to the process of Film Score, and the producers do actually use 'Stock Music' (Think Public Domain Cliche music: The Planets, Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, etc.) in the backgrounds during production. These clips in the back are used just to give the composer an idea of what sort of feel they want in that part of the film. The side effect of this is that the composers generally end up "copying" the music used for the example. If you analyze the scores for the Star Wars series, Williams blatantly pulls from Holst's Planets, but he still makes it his own. That's sort of what I aim to do in my own music.
Don't be afraid to try new things or to incorporate another composer's technique (unless, of course, that technique is what defines the composer. I wouldn't dare knowingly using "Whitacre Chords") in to your own works. Just be yourself and let things inspire you. Branch out and you'll find your own style in some little corner of the musical universe.
A quote for thought:
"Some [composers] confuse Authenticity, which they should am at, with Originality, which they should never bother about"
- W. H. Auden