Over The Hump?

Posted by Craig Bryant in Pax's Process on April 1st, 2010 | no responses

Yesterday I wrote a melody which I was happy with. I called it “The Last Melody”. Even though I know it’s not the case, I found myself pondering yesterday whether the composer’s job is getting progressively more difficult as we exhaust the possible combination of notes and rhythms within the musical structures we conform to. I wonder if the great classical composers found it difficult to discern between a new idea, and something which they heard somewhere. In the time of Mozart, music did not permeate our lives like they do today. We are bombarded with pop, film scores, TV jingles, on top of the thousands of classical pieces which survive in our media. Does this make it harder for us to make new, original music? I know that when the majority of clients come to me with a commission, they immediately start referencing existing tracks. Of course this is the most logical way to get a musical concept across to me, but I just wonder how the same conversation went in the mid 1700s. To me, just reading this sentence back it sounds like a classic excuse for writer’s block, but it is definitely still worth thinking more about.
I called this post “Over the Hump?” because of this melody. Even though to many this melody may seem to be the same as the other 10 I have come up with in the last few weeks, for me it hits some invisible mark that I have in my mind.

By no means is this melody a radical departure from my normal style. (By normal I mean stuff I wrote 15years ago), but it is pleasing to my ear. It’s form somehow satisfies a criteria I have about the construction of a musical sentence. Don’t ask me for a list of rules, because I am talking more about something I feel, rather than something I have ‘nutted out’.

So with 1 month to go, I feel as though I have cracked the shell on this thing. I’m no where near where I want to be, but I can’t rush this, and frankly I don’t feel I ever had the right or ability to impose a deadline on it.

The other thing that occurred to me this week, was the fact that when I composed the music for “Pictures”, I labored over them for months, maybe even years. There were also countless rejects. The cream of what came out on that CD were songs which I played and played and played during my years at the VCA. My mistake in thinking, has come from 15 years of fast paced production with crazy deadlines and the need to churn out music and lyrics on command. I’m not saying I have been creating crap, but for me to compose the very best I can, I need to stop thinking like this machine I have become for the purposes of earning a living. 

You might be thinking “Well Mozart composed entire symphonies in a week”. Yep that’s true. And good on him! Maybe I can do that too one day, but luckily my job is not hanging on a one week delivery, and it would seem that I need more time to get the music sounding the way I want.
I’m not comparing myself to Mozart either by the way. If all the literature is true about him, then he is an absolute genius and freak.

Well our room should be all neat and clean again now. I should go back and try for another cracker track.

PAX out.

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