A few weeks ago, I tried to pass a short two-paragraph musing for these pages past the editors that be, but it didn’t fly. I was told I had to flesh things out more. Frustrated at sticking to the same three-paragraph model I produce nearly every week, I typed the extra paragraph and, admittedly, the piece turned out to be much better. This week, I received a challenge to attempt an exegesis detailing how I always write this weekly blog in three paragraphs. Haven’t you noticed—seriously, go back and check the past few years—it’s always three. Anyway, the idea is so meta, right?
I think of it as sonata form-esque. Exposition. Development (which is where we are right now, I guess). Recapitulation (and at this point I haven’t a clue what that’s going to look like). One, two, three. It seems to be a rut of some kind, and a beautiful one at that. Why fix it if it ain’t broken? As composers, we tend to stick with formulas that work for us, and these formulas usually exhibit self-similarities on many levels. So as my inner artist says, “no way, man, these are all lazy crutches,” the inner reality-check guy looks over all the music I’ve written down over the years and sees tons of connections between pieces.
Third paragraph: Time for the topical throw-down. This is the spot where everything gets wrapped up, spun out, hammered down, or what have you. Compositional ruts be damned, if a format works, we should stick with it. It just makes practical sense. However, sometimes our imagination overflows the molds we set up, and if we don’t allow for spillage, we might be missing some genuinely interesting stuff. Which leads me to the question: Should I hit the enter key a few more times and let things rip?