Replies

  • Hey Ray,

    is that the guy they affectionately call Red?

    Guess I've got some listening to do.

  • Guys,

    I've probably taken this thread off on a tangent again, as is my wont. So I'll try to perhaps reboot this one, and then open up another where we might discuss jazz - 'cos I've just been listening to Chris Potter and Adam Rogers for a start.

  • Gordon, 

    I would prefer to say that one creates the allusion to an emotional world, so as to entreat. In fact, the most beautiful invocation to a moral world I have encountered is contained in the first two lines of my favourite poem by Mallarme:

    Ô rêveuse, pour que je plonge         
    Au pur délice sans chemin,

    Dear dreamer, that I may plunge 

    Into pure trackless delight

    Beyond this matter of entreaty, invocation, (as distinct form any clinical manufacturing of illusion), I find that I have to wholly enter, create, remember, exalt, and even mythologise a visionary world before I can impart any convincing life to an art work. When I was much younger I didn't give up on musical composition because I thought I had little technique. I renounced the 'job' because I knew I had nothing, at that stage, to say. And I wish that many others would be honest with themselves, now, and do the same thing.

    Because of life these days I am bursting with things to say, to express. The current set of pieces I am working upon is on one level a 'family album', and, although it could well have been scripted as a litany of grief, it attempts to exalt the real glimpses of heaven that life has granted me. The individual pieces inflect mythological, transcendental transpositions of real identities and events, as well as pertaining to universal metaphors. I, my emotions - my moral joys, yearnings, remembrances, grief, am, are inside this music - just as this music, latently was/is inside of me. Similarly, I am actually in Ulysses - there is no division between the emotional and moral utterance of that music, and a very significant essence of me. If the musical expression is successful at all, it is because it successfully expresses this world, this interior and its view. And I put every conceivable effort into finding the germ that will encapsulate a certain emotional state, a certain moral world, which I need to express. But, especially in a work so large and so complex as Ulysses, oft times the mechanism itself begins to take over, the drama takes its own course - and one, even as composer, is placed upon a voyage of discovery. Error, Shakespeare. 

    Sometimes one does not work from within, but from without. I am not in any of the Christmas cards, they are little abstracts - portrait studies if you will, and sardonic commentary. 

    Interestingly, Ravel feigned to have been a 'from without' composer - a clinical artificer, like his father - a calculating producer of quaint mechanisms. Yet I have never felt a piece draw me so much into a distilled emotional world as the first two movements of Gaspard de La Nuit. I would have lived there - forever.

  • If not compose then arrange, if not arrange then orchestrate, if not orchestrate then copy sonic blots, and if not copy sonic blots then copy ink blots. A looser quits and a winner does: a winner will consider failure a success more than a success, because one has nothing to learn from success. A looser and a winner both have questions, comments, and concerns based upon their internal and external influences, and a dead person has not one word to utter.

    A person can choose not to write, but to admit that there was nothing to speak into this musical universe is utter nonsense. You should have given yourself an ass kicking and wrote daily, even if you thought it to be utter garbage.

    Mark Nicol said:

    Gordon, 

    I would prefer to say that one creates the allusion to an emotional world, so as to entreat. In fact, the most beautiful invocation to a moral world I have encountered is contained in the first two lines of my favourite poem by Mallarme:

    Ô rêveuse, pour que je plonge         
    Au pur délice sans chemin,

    Dear dreamer, that I may plunge 

    Into pure trackless delight

    Beyond this matter of entreaty, invocation, (as distinct form any clinical manufacturing of illusion), I find that I have to wholly enter, create, remember, exalt, and even mythologise a visionary world before I can impart any convincing life to an art work. When I was much younger I didn't give up on musical composition because I thought I had little technique. I renounced the 'job' because I knew I had nothing, at that stage, to say. And I wish that many others would be honest with themselves, now, and do the same thing.

    Because of life these days I am bursting with things to say, to express. The current set of pieces I am working upon is on one level a 'family album', and, although it could well have been scripted as a litany of grief, it attempts to exalt the real glimpses of heaven that life has granted me. The individual pieces inflect mythological, transcendental transpositions of real identities and events, as well as pertaining to universal metaphors. I, my emotions - my moral joys, yearnings, remembrances, grief, am, are inside this music - just as this music, latently was/is inside of me. Similarly, I am actually in Ulysses - there is no division between the emotional and moral utterance of that music, and a very significant essence of me. If the musical expression is successful at all, it is because it successfully expresses this world, this interior and its view. And I put every conceivable effort into finding the germ that will encapsulate a certain emotional state, a certain moral world, which I need to express. But, especially in a work so large and so complex as Ulysses, oft times the mechanism itself begins to take over, the drama takes its own course - and one, even as composer, is placed upon a voyage of discovery. Error, Shakespeare. 

    Sometimes one does not work from within, but from without. I am not in any of the Christmas cards, they are little abstracts - portrait studies if you will, and sardonic commentary. 

    Interestingly, Ravel feigned to have been a 'from without' composer - a clinical artificer, like his father - a calculating producer of quaint mechanisms. Yet I have never felt a piece draw me so much into a distilled emotional world as the first two movements of Gaspard de La Nuit. I would have lived there - forever.

    Feelings?
    How do you create the illusion of emotion in your compositions?
  • Sorry,

    in this case you're just totally wrong. And there are way too many people out there who just 'decide to be composers'. They have no aptitude, nothing of significance to say - they just decide, for whatever reason, this is it. Academia is absolutely full of them, and there are even whole schools of composers who, essentially, have very little to say. Self-censure is not allowing oneself to write garbage, and then impose it upon others. In my case I found other things that I could do moderately well, and one thing of extreme importance that only I can do well. If I still thought I had no technique, and nothing to say, I wouldn't write music today.

    At the bottom line I don't waste my time listening to poor composers, and I wouldn't expect anyone to listen to me, if that was the case, either. The universe ain't egalitarian, it's very, very selective. One tries to maintain an objectivity about one's own work, and then one can discern if there is a true vocation there or not - because being an artist isn't just 'a job'. 

    I'll give you an illuminating instance. My Honors Composition lecturer at Adelaide was a guy who I had studied music with some 25 years earlier. Through all that period he had been assiduously studying counterpoint and writing music, eventually garnering some success. But the truth was that he never really had much musical talent, has never had a big artistic conception, and he will never really go that far. Upon listening to a sketch I presented he said, "I think of you more as an equal than as a student." Moreover, beyond what fits with populist aesthetics, I know that this guy could never write at the technical level I have in Ulysses, and could never encompass that depth of expression either. Yet I have only taken music composition very seriously in the past 7 years, and in that time I have written 3 extremely condensed books upon Environmentalist Philosophy, plus worked for a crust. 

    I never gave up, or quit on music composition 30 years ago, I made a very judicious and hard decision - and did not let obstinacy or vanity rule. Sorry, but there are so many who do just push out rubbish - but that is nature, only very few genetic experiments actually work.  

    As another instance, I kind of upset a collection of aspiring young composers, (one who has really got a glint) at Adelaide Uni last year, by stating that I thought Australia had only produced one 'near-great' composer, Richard Meale. The guy running the discussion runs a government agency that promotes Australian composers, but he admits that he gave up on composition so that he could (my interpretation) sidle into a cushy job and still pretend he was involved in composition. He remonstrated that, although he 'loved the man personally and deeply', Richard Meale was very lazy and indulgent, and that he only composed when he wanted to. Yet here was a guy who is basically a fraud, and had turned out nothing, whereas Richard Meale actually turned out a good deal of great art. So my comment was, to the effect -"Who gives a toss whether he worked assiduously or not, or how or why he did it. He turned out great art, the bottom line - that's all that counts." 

    And of course this upset the little pretender. But I had to slap this young guy from Western Australia on the back, and tell him what a good movement for string quartet he had written - funny, he wasn't so much concerned with pretense  and he was also the only one who asked, two times, the name of the composer I was talking about. Sincerity, it counts for a lot.

    But, as you say, so does hard work. Ulysses - 1200 to 1500 hours so far, but it would be just the same if a genius had written the same in 3 days, although not even Shos could have done that. For a guy that talks so loud about conscientiousness, and application, where are your fruits - and what price, estimation would they sell at? Can you compete?

  • 1) I didn't indirectly or indirectly attack the music of you and yours.

    2) I never disagreed on the issue of the gargantuan amount of erroneous music which should fill landfills rather than venues.

    3) So long as a person can think and feel as well as communicate said thoughts and feelings via word and or deed, then via the vehicle of being willing and able they will be excellent at their craft. Being able doesn't mean having genetic predisposition: being able means working; working harder is good, working smarter is better, and working harder and smarter is the best.

    4) I don't compete with colleagues. I have little time and space to be comparing myself to the greatest or least or those in between for writers that have lived or that are living, for making music that: 1) the public finds likable (memorable melodies with a groove) 2) I find likable (utilizes techniques that make me who I am for the moment --- tomorrow could be quite different).

    5) I beg you not to compare yourself to others, not to ask others to prove themselves to you, and not to be destructive when it can be helped, because it just makes you seem like a jerk.

  • Sorry, comparisons may be odious - but it invariably seems that the meek and incompetent like them the least. If one never tries to measure up, then the bar is just set low - where the meek and incompetent feel comfortable. Nothing I said was destructive, it was just highly critical. I don't listen to, or write music to be impressed, or to impress. But I won't listen to incompetent or insipid music, and I try my best not to write it. You need to get over your hangups and try to write some music of significance yourself. I may be here for a joke and a bit of a chat of this forum, but I am first and foremost only interested in improving my own musical skills. I await the return of Fredrick, because he really is a good composer, and upon that count it is his opinion I deeply respect.

    Amongst real men Gordon there is a hard and fast rule - put up or shut up. Competition is not the essence of, nor should it ever be the driving force for artistic endeavour. But, insofar as we recognise pedigree in achievement at all, then even artists necessarily vie with each other to achieve a certain station. Once again, though, notional egalitarianism awards wimps and incompetents - they get a medal just for trying.

    I certainly don't think that Bach, Beethoven, Shostakovich, or even Debussy were averse to, disengaged from or afraid of competition. Only someone arguably as miserable as Salieri, though, got it all wrong. Don't worry, buddy, if my worst enemy wrote what I thought was a great piece I would be the first to tell him. That's not even just down to integrity, it's just being what we call in Australia - a real man, admittedly a dying breed.

    Best of luck with your actual composition Gordon, and let's see what we can come up with. Adieu for now, and I'll return when I think I have written something worthwhile.

  • I'm not as far along the learning curve as many here, but...

    as i make "something", as soon as I even begin to flesh it out... i feel... *something*

    That initial blush could be... slightly happy, frantic searching, heroic sounding in spots... *whatever*

    there were no words or images involved... just sound. They evoked some emotion(s)...

    I cant imagine if some foreigner from wherever were suddenly sitting here, listening to the same thing... that HE would not find it "bittersweet" as well. Music, with no words or images, cuts across language barriers...

    now, i can not sit down to create deliberately a "happy piece" or a "scary piece"... I dont have that level of experience, knowledge, and control... but, i feel others much further along the "learning curve" have definitely acquired that...

    I'm not entirely sure we "give" a piece of music any emotion, it just HAS it... I would think it was fairly universal, since it cuts across language barriers.

    I spent most of my life not being or considering myself an "artist", so i suppose I'm not expressing myself well... but i am reminded of a scene from a movie i once saw, or it might have been a book, doesnt matter.... (more i think about it, i believe it was a book, but its not important the medium)

    anyways, the ARTIST had a painting on display, and asked an nearby new acquaintance what THEY thought of it. The new acquaaintance faltered, and said they were not "into the art field" soo they didnt think they could respond.

    The artist bid them to anyways, and the person just shrugged, and said "it makes me feel.....*whatever emotions they said*"

    The artist was OVERJOYED, and explained there was no better compliment, than to say that their "art" they had created, had STIRRED EMOTIONS.

    Personally, I am a bit ignorant of harmonic and such... so, my pieces i make are nice in places, but... they just dont "soar", darn it... I hear a lot of "nice... just, a little boring."

    *shrugs*

    I imagine I would be overjoyed if someone listened and said "I feel afraid! Its scary!" or... "Wow, so pretty, reminds me of being young and playing in a freshly mowed field!"

    it wouldnt really MATTER to me that I INTENDED it to be SAD, yet they felt it was "pretty"... the fact they felt SOMEthing, ANYthing really... would be enough to make me feel pretty good.

    =====================================================================

    my pieces are gettting BETTER as i go along obviously, and i am clearly not "there" yet.

    when the casual listener hears something after not hearing anything for 6 months... and they nod their head and say "wow, this is a LOT better... I mean, its not like it needs to be a soundtrack yet or anything, but, I cant believe youve got THIS far... that spot THERE, that was really scary sounding for a little bit, you know?"

    I feel good about the progress, and a little SAD too... feel good about the progress, but, the sadness comes from realizing that I didnt "pour something o myself into the work" or whatever... I dont feel like "big things" were STIRRING in me, and I captured them and POURED them into the piece....

    *shrugs*

    I feel like I learned some new tricks, and got a little better....

    I am starting to think that the IMAGE we all have of an "ARTIST", experiencing these POW-erful emootions, simply being DRIVEN to "create" something...

    *feh*

    starting to think thats just some hollywood schlock stereotype... I some nights picture BEETHOVEN trudging around his farmhouse, in his boxers, with a cup of tea... kind of just WORKING, you know?

  • “Elitism - It's lonely at the top. But it's comforting to look down upon everyone at the bottom.”

    Fredrick and Mark are excellent writers and readers of music and words. I don't agree with how either of them imparts their knowledge, wisdom, and/or competence: I do agree that both are quite intelligent, knowledgeable, wise, and competent.

    “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”

    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

    I realize how I can be a better a composer and man. I should speak simply, constructively, and in shades of grey. I pity those unwilling to speak simply, constructively, and in shades of grey.

  • I like what you wrote. No doubt what you think, feel, and your goals. I'm going to friend you, because you seem like a nice person.

    SEDstar said:

    I'm not as far along the learning curve as many here, but...

    as i make "something", as soon as I even begin to flesh it out... i feel... *something*

    That initial blush could be... slightly happy, frantic searching, heroic sounding in spots... *whatever*

    there were no words or images involved... just sound. They evoked some emotion(s)...

    I cant imagine if some foreigner from wherever were suddenly sitting here, listening to the same thing... that HE would not find it "bittersweet" as well. Music, with no words or images, cuts across language barriers...

    now, i can not sit down to create deliberately a "happy piece" or a "scary piece"... I dont have that level of experience, knowledge, and control... but, i feel others much further along the "learning curve" have definitely acquired that...

    I'm not entirely sure we "give" a piece of music any emotion, it just HAS it... I would think it was fairly universal, since it cuts across language barriers.

    I spent most of my life not being or considering myself an "artist", so i suppose I'm not expressing myself well... but i am reminded of a scene from a movie i once saw, or it might have been a book, doesnt matter.... (more i think about it, i believe it was a book, but its not important the medium)

    anyways, the ARTIST had a painting on display, and asked an nearby new acquaintance what THEY thought of it. The new acquaaintance faltered, and said they were not "into the art field" soo they didnt think they could respond.

    The artist bid them to anyways, and the person just shrugged, and said "it makes me feel.....*whatever emotions they said*"

    The artist was OVERJOYED, and explained there was no better compliment, than to say that their "art" they had created, had STIRRED EMOTIONS.

    Personally, I am a bit ignorant of harmonic and such... so, my pieces i make are nice in places, but... they just dont "soar", darn it... I hear a lot of "nice... just, a little boring."

    *shrugs*

    I imagine I would be overjoyed if someone listened and said "I feel afraid! Its scary!" or... "Wow, so pretty, reminds me of being young and playing in a freshly mowed field!"

    it wouldnt really MATTER to me that I INTENDED it to be SAD, yet they felt it was "pretty"... the fact they felt SOMEthing, ANYthing really... would be enough to make me feel pretty good.

    =====================================================================

    my pieces are gettting BETTER as i go along obviously, and i am clearly not "there" yet.

    when the casual listener hears something after not hearing anything for 6 months... and they nod their head and say "wow, this is a LOT better... I mean, its not like it needs to be a soundtrack yet or anything, but, I cant believe youve got THIS far... that spot THERE, that was really scary sounding for a little bit, you know?"

    I feel good about the progress, and a little SAD too... feel good about the progress, but, the sadness comes from realizing that I didnt "pour something o myself into the work" or whatever... I dont feel like "big things" were STIRRING in me, and I captured them and POURED them into the piece....

    *shrugs*

    I feel like I learned some new tricks, and got a little better....

    I am starting to think that the IMAGE we all have of an "ARTIST", experiencing these POW-erful emootions, simply being DRIVEN to "create" something...

    *feh*

    starting to think thats just some hollywood schlock stereotype... I some nights picture BEETHOVEN trudging around his farmhouse, in his boxers, with a cup of tea... kind of just WORKING, you know?

    Feelings?
    How do you create the illusion of emotion in your compositions?
This reply was deleted.