Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mostly Musical Ramblings

Waiting For Her To Go is my latest painting to be scanned, a picture about the feelings of helplessness when faced with a dying relative.

I don't have any dying relatives. It was partially inspired by real events, but still I wonder why I chose this subject. I wonder if something is dying and I'm helpless to stop it? Ah, myself perhaps and my youth certainly. I'm glad I have Beethoven to console me. Of course there are a million reasons to paint something, and this is a follow up to a painting called Waiting For Oncology, which was the same size and painted a couple of years ago. The cancer of my 2009 hopes is now dead.

But from such soil springs new buds. I've come up with a few new painting ideas recently. I must try to make good progress both technically and artistically. Productivity must be my aim, goal and sole measure of success, and right now that means music...

Oh to read Beethoven's blog when he was writing the 9th symphony! Well, we can't but I can at least try to write down my processes, and although I'm 90% less of a composer than he perhaps some student somewhere will find the notes useful. Today I've completed a track called only "first". It began as a soleful lone flute melody that expanded into a chord sequence, and sounded sufficiently nice for me to continue it.

I now use several principles in music; one is that each track needs three parts, three melodies or sections, that's enough variety to work with without being so much as to lose cohesion. Here though, I've only got two and I'm worried that the slow tune is lacking passion. It happens to everyone (except perhaps Beethoven!) Why do musicians begin creative and then slowly end up doing cover versions(!) and then boring soulful ballads? This must be the liquifying factor of ageing. I must avoid that. Oh for eternal youth. At least I retain my innocence. Learning can itself age. In art it's important to be naive sometimes.

My goal for this music is to tell a story, and each track will need a title, a meaning and a feeling. Both can be summed up, like the images in paintings. I remember when gilding a few days ago that at night in bed I could see the gold being smoothed, and heard the music of the gilding process, yes actual music itself! It was brassy and somewhat bobbly, like Mozart's Horn Concerto. It would be nice to master that ability, it's not happened before!

Gosh what a ramble I'm on today. Anyway, the theme for the music I wrote today was solitude and divine love, thus even in the swelling parts, there is a beauty but one of a shaft of golden light in the cell of a monk. I must try to add more colour and depth to future tracks but at the moment I'm even struggling to find the common theme of the album, never mind the details.

Must keep working. Two important points of inspiration...

1. Jean Sibelius, who was such a perfectionist that he over-thought everything and spent years on unimportant details, neglecting to release anything, and dying with his last works unheard, and actually burned away! A drunk idiot fiddle player produces better music than a silent genius of a composer.

2. It's better then to set a time limit and get stuff out there, even if it's mediocre, than let it die unheard. With each new composition things will probably improve anyway. So, as in painting, think of "the next one" rather than find faults in "the last one".


-Don said...

I caught on to the anxiety and pain of "Waiting for Her to Go" even before I read your title. The skeletal hand, the hospital room door and the gesture of the image on the right gave me all the clues I needed to know that this was a chilling tail of despair. Excellent!

I know nothing about music, except what I like to hear, so it's hard for me to relate to your "ramblings". However, I can definitely relate to thinking about future works instead of dwelling on past ones. We must definitely keep our eyes forward. One thing that I would like to add is that we must allow ourselves to enjoy the process. Otherwise, why do it?

Happy Creating!


Mark Sheeky said...

Thanks for the compliments, and the wise words Don. Happy creating to you too.