Musical Composition

This page is reserved for my observations on the art of musical composition.
I will add to it as developments warrant.

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here are four fundamental approaches to composition.
These are:

  • Head Music
  • Board Music
  • Stolen (or borrowed?) Music
  • Computer Music
Music of the head type is that which comes out of your own mind. Beethoven (and a thousand others) used to take walks and jot down notes as they occurred to him. This form of composition tends to be extremely well integrated but one must be careful because often it is simply music you have heard elsewhere, i.e. sombody else's. You may not mean to expropriate it but it can happen. After all, it's coming out of your head ... therefore ... it got in there somehow.

Your subconscious spits this out spontaneously when you are "worthy" of possessing it. That is why it is well integrated with whatever you may be presently working on. That project is already finished and waiting to be delivered to your conscious attention as soon as you have "paid the piper".

Board music is what you find on the keyboard while "monkeying around. A piece here ... a piece there ... put 'em all together and pretty soon you have a respectable original piece. Such music tends to be highly original (you'll probably never accidentally steal anyone else's work - very improbable). However, it tends to be far less well integrated ... at least as a philosophical entity. You will compose very "pretty" music but not the manly, Beethoven-Brahms kind. That is much more costly.

Stolen-Borrowed music is like Franz Liszt's "Lieberstraum". I have the idea that Franz went to visit the most high Poobah ... was listening to him play and walked out with the melody. When His Highness hears the purloined piece he smiles quietly and thinks, "Poor Franz, it's so little for me and so much for him ... let him have one nice piece.". (For the clueless ... it's vintage Chopin or I'll eat every copy.)

Some people get sued for stealing music ... like George Harrison. In this case, the music was so far removed from "He's so fine", I had to laugh (again) at the stupidity of the judicial system. Let me state for the record ... You can't copyright a four or five note run. There are only a few of them to choose from (ala Schumann's lament). A copyright infringement can be validated only by having large numbers of people listen to the competing pieces and voting on whether they sound "embarrassingly" similiar. Embarrassing is the operative word here.

Computer music is just so much shit. It isn't worth talking about ... never was in the past ... and will never be in the future. Music is taylored to the human psyche, condition, philosophy, etc. If you could program all that into a computer, the computer would then be human. For this reason, such music will always of necessity be deficient. It can only possess such humanity as humans give it ... not one iota more.

And Kasparov wasn't beaten by a program ... he was beaten by computer programmers with some knowledge of chess. They used the computer the way your steering linkage uses a power steering unit. It augments but does not initiate. That's the drivers perogative.



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