More Thoughts On Being A Composer

(Click here for the earlier thoughts.)

At my composition lesson this week, Dr. Walicki and I were talking philosophy of music. He said to me, "Any idiot can come up with something, throw some notes together and say 'This sounds cool.' So what do you do as a composer? What makes you different?"

I thought about it and tentatively offered, "Putting it together? Architecture?" He nodded and said "Exactly."

Anyone can "write music" for themselves, and even write something that's half-decently good. But it takes a true composer to know how and why it works and to understand how to put it together, to understand what materials you're working with and how to use them to create something bigger. Brahms based the entire first movement of his Fourth Symphony on the motive of a falling major third. A whole movement. And (despite the fact that I hate Brahms) it's extremely well-written music.

I also recently read on Greg Wilbur's blog the following interesting thought: "The cultural mandate to take dominion over and subdue the earth [Genesis 1:26-28] has direct application to the arts. Music, poetry, literature, dance, painting, sculpture, etc. are manifestations of dominion over sound, time, language, movement, color, etc."

Prior to his stepping down from his day-to-day role at the company, Bill Gates' title at Microsoft was "Chief Software Architect" (he's now officially the "Chairman"--what a lame change).

From now on, I'd like to be addressed as "Chief Sound Architect," if that's alright with y'all.

P.S. If you want to experience some great sound architecture, save the date: Friday, April 20th, 2007 at 8 pm. My life at CSUF comes to its culmination at this point--it's my senior composition recital: a full recital (probably about 90 minutes) comprised entirely of my compositions, performed by students in the Recital Hall in the Performing Arts building on campus. Think about it: Where else will you get to experience a piano suite of dances that imitates four major twentieth-century composers; a song cycle for two sopranos and guitar, consisting of birds talking about themselves in the first person; a small orchestra describing a night sky; and a string quartet sounding like a rock band? Plus it's free! Seriously, how could you possibly miss this?


Amy Grace said...

Oh I'm just so excited!!

Mike Morabito said...

AJ, I feel like you are treading on some manly ground here. Good job bro.

The mandate from God to subdue nature does extend to Art, I've never considered that before. What an epiphany! So awesome.

Remember in future the only structures that will matter will be in the mind.


Jessica said...

Hey AJ! I'd love to go to the recital just remind me ahead of time so I don't forget! And in response to what you wrote to me, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so if you ever have advice to offer just throw it at me, and I'll catch it.

Rae said...

SO there! I'll be sure you're girlfriend gets there too. :D Tah-Ha!

What are you doing Tuesday between the hours of 4 and 6?

Narisilme said...

That's an AWESOME quote about the arts.

How interesting that you would be an architect of sorts...

P.S. You know I'm there! It goes in the Swiss calendar, soon to be highlighted in orange, green, or blue.