Having a good ear is the quintessence of a composer’s gift; but what constitutes a good ear for a composer?
Lists from London, lists from France. Depressing lists, lists that hate lists, lists for Franz Liszt.
Have there been any revolutionary leaders in music, rather than evolutionary benchmarks?
There is some sort of idea transmitted through music, just nothing
specific; meaning is in the ear of the beholder.
I want to take some time this week to investigate what the verb “to compose” is really used for; specifically, I’d like to speculate about how “composing at the computer differs from “composing away from the computer” with only a pencil.
A few days ago a heated debate broke out between some of the fellows about the nature of art: two fellows were vociferously arguing that the only art that really matters is that which is informed by mass culture: high art and low art are useless misnomers, and the avant-garde is irrelevant if not non-existent. On the other side of the sticky bar table, some of the other fellows pointed out that art is always being created in the shadows of successful art.
My brother and I have developed a ritualistic nightly game entitled “Best Song/Favorite Song,” a trifle of deceptive simplicity in which we take a band whose output we know back to front and each propose our favorite songs and, separately, the songs we feel are the best of the group’s catalogue.
The holidays have in no way diminished the debate about the relationship between the composer and the audience.
Except the cat, who smelled a certain music history book under the tree and therefore couldn’t get to sleep.
The Japanese have a word for the feeling at the end of the year, shiwasu (teachers running), and it all leads up to a climactic December 31 eve when…everybody stays home.