The hidden stuff...

Hi, 

Thanks to Matt for prompting this post. Last night, in a conversation in the break at the Bath Community Big Band rehearsal (which I conduct) Matt (trumpet 1) commented that he was enjoying reading the blog - so you are the one! - because it made him think about stuff, to do with music, that he doesn't normally think about... 

That got my "little grey cells" whirring... I suppose, as a composer - and therefore self-confessed music theory and analysis geek - I do see (and hear) music in a different way to the "normal" listener. 

I had a similar experience myself when, years ago, after a rehearsal with free jazz flautist and professional artist John Eaves, over a mug of coffee, we both looked at some paintings in his studio - his own works (some in progress) and some by other people. He talked about the paintings in a way - partly technical and partly his emotional responses - that made me see them completely differently... 

With music, I just think that pieces do not come together by accident randomly (What about John Cage? The exception that proves the rule?) but they are constructed in a very rigorous and workmanlike way that I happen to find fascinating - in the same way that if you build a table, it should not fall over and it should stop stuff falling on the floor. If it looks beautiful as well, fantastic, but it has to be "fit for purpose". Musical compositions, or sentences in English, are the same. There are certain basic rules that they have to follow to make sense. The emotional impact or specific meaning of the sentence/composition is another, separate matter... 

This level of construction should not usually be visible/audible to the observer/listener - unless you are the architect of the Pompidou Centre - as they are only aware of the immediate surface. But another practitioner in the same medium - composer, painter, architect, football manager - will respect all the hidden stuff that really makes the thing work. 

On another matter - as I write this I am listening to a new CD by the Kenny Barron Trio "Book of Intuition" on Spotify. It was reviewed the other day with 5 stars so I'm checking it out. An absolute cracker! Very classy swinging piano trio jazz played by three master musicians, who are all 100% on top of the hidden stuff, both individually and as a unit... The best new CD I've heard in ages. Enjoy! 

Cheers 

Ralf

1 comment

  • Matt

    Matt Bath

    Does that make me a muse then? I agree, I see it in my own more scientific professional life - the more you know about a subject, the more you know about and can enjoy what's going on under the hood. I sometimes wish I had practised harder as a youngster and gone into music instead of pharmacy, but I usually conclude that I'm glad I can just enjoy it for its own sake and without excess technicalities, unless that's something I'm interested in that day.

    Does that make me a muse then? I agree, I see it in my own more scientific professional life - the more you know about a subject, the more you know about and can enjoy what's going on under the hood. I sometimes wish I had practised harder as a youngster and gone into music instead of pharmacy, but I usually conclude that I'm glad I can just enjoy it for its own sake and without excess technicalities, unless that's something I'm interested in that day.

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