Articles by Alexandra Gardner
Composers are very quick to dismiss their “past selves” in the interest of giving what might be considered an accurate impression of the composer as s/he is in the moment. The only problem is that each moment passes so quickly!
As you know, one of the things we do here at NewMusicBox is produce video profiles of composers and musicians. The most difficult part of the endeavor is obtaining performance footage—not because it is difficult to get permission to use it, but because very few composers have high quality (or for that matter, any at all) visual documentation of performances!
What would happen if Sun Ra, Link Wray, and Stockhausen made a recording together and had King Tubby do a dub mix of it all? Well, it might sound a little like the musical universe of guitarist and composer Roger Kleier.
Last week I had a very interesting conversation with another composer that arose from a comment he made about having to be careful that his music doesn’t look easier than it really is. Given that this was an extremely successful composer whose music doesn’t ever sound “easy” to me, I was very surprised to learn that this has been a concern of his.
With her latest CD, Mosaic, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington has assembled a jaw-dropping lineup of musicians who happen to all be female, including Cassandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Nona Hendryx, Tineke Postma, Sheila E., Geri Allen, and many others. The intention of the project, as the liner notes describe, is to “comment on historical, current and appropriately feminine themes with the intent to offer an informative, enjoyable listening experience, driven by creativity and consciousness.”
Chunks of time spent alone are crucial for creative people—that is when you can listen to what is going on in your own head. The best ideas tend not to arrive in a blaze of obvious glory, but rather they whisper in your ear, and if you are not paying attention, they are gone faster than you can pull out your smartphone and fire up your Evernote.
It seems reasonable that whether or not “an audience” is being considered during the process of creating music, if a work of music is performed out in the world, chances are it will resonate with someone, somewhere. It’s important be open to that and respect the experiences of those people, even if the specific intention (if there was one) of the music was missed or misconstrued. Given that music affects people in such a pointed, visceral way, you just never know how that is going to manifest.
Habits can be good things, in that they don’t require the same level of effort to execute as something that is not a habit. They “just happen” without needing a lot of consideration or energy once they become integrated into the daily routine or the personality of the individual. So if it is said that it takes 30 days to form (or to break) a habit, how does that apply to musical habits?
After trying every which way to get other women on board and writing regularly for the site, with precious little success, it is becoming quite clear that blogging is simply not a format that interests many women.
Hearing so many tales this time of year about creating syllabi and planning classes brings to mind my favorite class of all time in graduate school. It did not include a syllabus, a textbook, or for that matter any reading or writing whatsoever!