Monday, December 19, 2011

The Love Symphony

There's a lot of love in my work recently and along with this year's Love Reliquary I'm writing a Love Symphony too. No work done over the weekend. At those times I wonder if the enforced break gives me more creative energy? Perhaps that's the essence of a holiday. Either way, today I made great strides and have produced a large lump of a track called "the door in the sky of stars" or something like that.

I have several rules to help productivity. More and more I'm seeing that writing music is closer to oil painting than painting in acrylics! My procedures are unifying.

1. First I begin with the overall idea. This contains the emotion and thematic intellectual content. For this symphony I wrote a quick track list which told a story of a journey from emptiness to love. The tracks had long titles, like my paintings and were written faster than I could write. It's important to let the unconscious decide on the journey.

2. For each track I try to feel the mood then write the notes at night. This activity doesn't work as well in the day. Ideas for paintings too are strongest late at night when in a semi-meditative frame of mind. The tunes are written down on paper and the basic track layout is made. The crucial part here is to make notes at the right pace. Too much going backwards will taint your memory of the length and pacing. Too much improvisation and fancy will be hard to write down, so the correct balance of invention and notating is needed.

3. On a future day I enter the sequencer and type in the track. It's important to get it in there, as much as possible. Production balancing is sometimes best done on the way, especially if the instruments are undecided (which is often the case, I tend to compose on a plain piano instrument).

4. Then, much later, final adjustment, and even compositional changes to introduce structure from other sections. This is like a glazing of a painting. The idea phase is done, and the essential fabric, the essence, the "underpainting". Now the sections can be adjusted.

Most of the tracks I've written so far are half complete, but this is the plan; to do as much as possible first, then rearrange and reedit later. One key factor is NOT to listen to the work much, so that if sounds fresh. After conceiving the idea and writing it down, forget it! After composing the melody and writing it down, forget it! Then after sequencing it, forget it! In art you can't influence yourself, and by thinking you can you'll end up narrowing your tastes and creativity, so it's important to avoid contact with your work. I think that live performance of music by composers kills their creativity in this way. Given that, it's amazing that pop/rock bands manage anything original at all (although this also proves why the best albums come after a long break, and why bands almost always get less and less creative over time, after a while their music all sounds the same.)

No comments :