Why did I choose to compose only instrumental music?
Why not write songs, or jingles or pop or Rap, slam or reggae? Well, I thought about it for a while and I came up with this article:
“My thoughts concerning my compositions of instrumental music….”
Well, first of all, the compositions, being instrumental music for the most part, by-passes the barriers of language. In that paying my respect to the several thousand website visitors from 71 different countries. I hope you all found something of what you seek, and you can often listen for free or get free downloads of some of my instrumental music tracks from any of the many different digital distributors of CDBaby’s arsenal of music platforms like Spotify and i-tunes.
I find that in beginning the creation of a piece, I pass through the same phase as any artist confronted with a blank canvas. The possibilities are almost infinite, and this can be somewhat disconcerting. And if it is disconcerting for an artist, for a musician it is worse, for who would listen to a dis-concerted concert?! Jokes aside (but not for long!) it is a strange space to linger , the tense moment of choice of the first note, the first sound, and once that is chosen, I find the song tries to write itself. It feels like the piece is already there, but hidden and daring me to discover it.
The more I write when I am on the right track, the more certain I become that the piece is as it should be. Not that I don’t often go astray, and lost in the back alleys of nowhere in the dark, I give it up for a while and have a coffee. Sometimes the moment of letting it all rest untouched can be fairly long.A week, a month, a year. Sometimes I re-listen to a little ditty that I wrote a year or two earlier, change the instrument, perhaps add a few notes of harmony and POW! The real music suddenly becomes vividly clear! It is so obvious, how did I not see (hear?) it?!…. Well I didn’t and that’s all there is to it.
I never limit myself to any “known rules” for writing a piece of instrumental music. I learned the piano early on and the ‘cello until my teens, but never delved in the delights of ‘harmony and structure’ at all, and simply write as I like, and by following my ears. it sounds good, it IS good! I learnt that from a friend of mine along the way and it’s true! I apologise to anyone who is affronted by the fact that my phrase is 8 bars in the first part and 11 in the second; the extra three bars wanted so much to be there, that I didn’t have the heart to tell them they couldn’t participate because it wasn’t “according to proper musical structure”. Phooey! I’m a few million years old, have composed on hundreds of different planets and half dead earthlings think they know ALL about musical construction!..
Anyway, having calmed down from my earlier tirade, I shall delicately continue….take for example the piece I’m listening to right now as I write this, it’s called “Following truth”. I wrote it from the gentle piano ‘continuo’ firstly and the clarinet melody secondly ; I just whipped up a nice clarinet from ‘Reason’ (a jolly good piece of software) from my keyboard and began playing the ‘clarinet’. I went into the dreamy ‘Aker Bilk on the shore’ kind of feeling, with the clarinet under my fingers and began to play. The rest seemed to follow along after that, and I followed truth all the way to the end of the song.
This next one now is called ‘Futurewave’, in musical genres, a very long way from the last, but as simply written. I began with the raucous gritty, in-yer-face lead sound from a soft-synth, (Reason again!) added the chunky drum track and it took off itself. (Thank you boys that was great!). Who am I talking to? Why, my band of course! I become each member in turn as I create the piece. Each one creating from his own point of view, which finally comes all together, to create a coherent whole. How else do musicians play?
I have a friend who plays trumpet in a small orchestra. I went along to a few of their rehearsals and felt the tension of the muffed entrance, the false note, the skipped bar….; and the waiting, oh-so-much-waiting, for a chance to play a few bars together. True enough, there is little that compares to the higher-than-human state acquired by any real group of musicians when it all comes together. Bliss itself! So I imagined being him, my trumpet playing friend, and made a few of ‘him’s in my universe, all wanting to play a brassy piece that did not have to wait for everyone to learn their part, no weeks and weeks of annoying the neighbours, just right-now, immediately, my brassy friends wanted to create a piece of music; and so ‘Heart of Brass’ was born!
One of my favourite pieces is ‘Flight of the dragon’ from the album ‘Dream Out-loud’; More or less ‘classical’ in sound structure and choice of instrumentation. A rather well constructed piece if I do say so myself! So if you feel like following my friendly dragon from his waking up in his cave to fly with him as he soars along by the sea, put it on loud, shut your eyes and off you go!
As one of the loves of my life, the ‘cello features quite high in several of my more classical compositions…, Listening now to one of my most recent pieces entitled ‘Hope for man’. A piece, with a personal message from me, to all peoples of earth. It is available on my album entitled “Sonic illusions”. It will hold the honoured spot of final track on the album, to leave you with my message each time you listen.
Enjoy the illusions…
But just before you go, I wanted to share something with you that aligns with WHY I write music in the first place. I want people to feel better, I want people to do better in their lives and I want the people that I come into contact with to PERSONALLY, each one of them, DO better in their lives from having made that contact, and sometimes people get a lot more out of listening to an album than they hope for.