Composition and Construction


The drive to create and compose can be extended to designing and building houses, constructing bridges, decorating interiors or constructing business analysis systems, as a few examples. Many of us have a huge drive to create and compose and for some this takes the direction of the arts and for others the direction of business or engineering, or some other field. In more conservative examples of this, such as building design or bridge design there are strict parameters that must be followed to observe the laws of gravity and our Earth such that the construction is stable and safe. These are the rules that must be followed for the safety of humans. Then the aesthetic aspect comes into play and thus the artistic side, and I think we have all seen our share of breathtaking bridges, skyscrapers, castles, etc.


With music there are also rules that can be broken, but without anyone getting physically hurt. However, if we trust that the rules of a tradition's harmony and rhythm are a basis, and are a basis for a reason, namely that they are pleasant and comfortable to the ear and thus the brain, then we can keep things interesting and break some rules. Years ago I studied modern/experimental music, but I came to the point where I felt that my compositions were just formed by avoiding what for me were traditional harmonies and rhythms, rather than something I had envisioned and wanted to realize. I therefore could not fully express myself and was lost in desperate attempts to construct something innovative, only defining innovation by what it could not be. I now compose with wide open possibilities, not ruling anything out but also not being afraid to utilize the rich traditions of Western harmony and rhythm whenever I want to.


I see composition in many dimensions - there are endless amounts of dimensions. These can be defined, for example, by the obvious ones such as harmony, rhythm, and lyrics, but also by dynamics, color of an instrument, instrumentation, speed, register, gestures, structure of a song, how something is recorded, how a recording is manipulated etc. Now consider how each of these “dimensions” interacts with the others and you have countless other dimensions. I believe that this is why the composition of truly moving music is almost a form of magic. What can be taught are the harmonic and rhythmic rules of a music tradition, as well as the music history. But composing "moving" music I believe can be cultivated by listening to one’s intuition, refining that intuition, composing a lot and most importantly, not being afraid to experiment.


We are all creators and the fear of failure should not limit our imagination. 


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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Ruud (Monday, 11 December 2017 22:32)

    Amazing post, you really hit the nail on the head.