6.11.2006

Megalomaniac

I've always had a mild distaste for articulation symbols.

Probably this comes from playing much baroque music, where the balance of power between the composer and the performer is heavily tipped in the performer's favor. Which is awfully nice when you're a performer. Of course, I played from modern arrangements, filled to the brim with slurs and staccatos and trills and other such migromanagerial markings. But I bought several editions of the the Bach Sonatas, compared the respective interpretations, and came up with my own, treating the scratching on the page with an imperious disregard. Indeed, if I'd had the money, I would have played from the version with no extraneous markings whatsoever. But somehow when it comes to baroque music, the fewer the editorial comments, the higher the price tag.

But now that I'm the composer, putting in the articulation markings is my favorite part of the whole process. The music is there, and it is mine. I am simply trying to define and emphasize its shape, its life, its soul. To make it sing.

But of course, I cannot possibly define the thousand tiny nuances that I hear in my head. How do you define life? All I can do is suggest a few shapes, and hope that in that way I can help Jessica to see what I hear and make it her own.

So that maybe...

just maybe...

You'll hear it, too.

4 comments:

Spindrift said...

I can understand what you mean about the editing and the desire of personalization in your music, I’ve picked up the guitar last year and I haven’t been able to put it down. One of the things that I like to do is take a song that I listen to a good amount and add my own changes into the music part and basically personalize it for myself. Its great fun

Elena said...

That's awesome. What style do you play?

Matthew said...

But isn't it phenomenal when you have one artist composing the music, giving it life and shape and form, and then a second artist adds in the performance his/her/its own life and shape and form? It is something different, not wholly unlike what you intended, but growing its own life.

Elena said...

It really is. It's neat to start to experience the dynamic between composer and performer from the other direction.

It's a funny thing to find myself hoping she doesn't take my markings terribly literally, but sees behind them to the idea itself. It's definitely an art, not a science...