Saturday, 2 May 2015

See with music



See with music. I cannot really think of another term.

Maybe it is because I have so little music tuition that I see music so intensely. I am not within the ‘educated’ borders and rules to know where and what and when and quite frankly, I think it must be pretty boring to have such borders.

I am a free spirit, I want to see the big picture, not the one made by a set of rules. Rules rather belong in Law making, not creativity.

Remarks and comments people make (with specific reference now the creative arts) give me a good idea of their perceptions and personalities and it is amazing how many if not most, actually use the same boring rules over and over again, trying to qualify another’s style to be the rule. No originality, they are just slaves. I could imagine that if society would apply this conservative approach to their Laws, the world would have been at peace.

Rather weird, I’d say. I follow the Laws that count to be a better person to society and use my own style in creativity.

In a way I am then also happy that it took me so many years to the point of letting go of loving my lover music – I learned a lot about life and people in a non-music way through my life. Hardly ever listened to music for many years, once in a while to some old songs I like and maybe a new one that has the sounds I like.

This brings me then to a new phase of understanding myself now, I want to see the pictures a musician/performing artist creates. The more I listen to some, the more I realize how bad most are.

Whether a solo performer or a large Philharmonic Orchestra, it can be a matter of the amount of steel marbles I’d put into a container and shake it according to the perfect rhythm…..

It is a hollow music without song…..

So many want to act their part, doing it so perfect according to a sheet of paper instead of telling the story with passion, making it a music, a song.

Recently I heard the greatest piano playing ever and made the remark that now it’s as if other pianists have butter fingers, this one has butterfly fingers. I have heard so much heart and soul and total understanding of the music and full control with piano. I was fascinated by what I heard, it painted a world of pictures.

As composer I know that what I see also brings a music to me and I write that into my work. Not many performing artists can actually ‘read’ such pictures ‘between the lines’ and paint them with their instruments. (even including the voice)

I am happy enough to only now encounter this beautiful playing for even a year ago I would have known it is very beautiful but without knowing those that man thinks is perfection. The only other piano work I could respectfully enjoy were old recordings of Rachmaninoff playing his own work and Stravinsky conducting his “Firebird”.

It does make me wonder with some bitterness that if I was allowed to continue playing and learning piano after my only music year of 1970, what I might have created eventually. But I am thankful for that music did come back to me, even if it came so very late in my life. I won’t have time to learn piano again now that it does not hurt anymore, but oh boy, I compose up a storm when it hits me and thank goodness for modern technology for when it pours down heavily, I can do it fast…..

So, I am happy to have heard so many before which I thought were really good, and suddenly discover this jewel of sound. I feel like an orphan that suddenly found her family. (Now note, I had my ears blocked, closed for piano for the greatest part of my life because of sad memories)

I have been listening to orchestral works mostly, had my tapes and would unwind after stressful work with a good red wine and candle light. But even this became scarce eventually.

And I thought those were good, for they were indeed the ones most talked about, that is why I bought them. But oh, thanks to social websites, I came to know more in the later half of 2014 and I was surprised. I didn’t know a whole Philharmonic Orchestra. With nearly 100 performers could take me on such a wonderful trip, painting the pictures, the whole story with intensity and passion….. and I’ll probably find more during time to come. But this one was enough to learn from, learn a lot from.

I am extremely happy I don’t know the music rules to apply them. I rather remain a toddler looking at a picture book in colour than listening to someone telling a story in a boring voice.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Moods of a Composer



The little tantrum I had one day as afterthoughts washed over me…….

NOBODY must dare make rules for my music for it runs free on tracks into the unknown.

But I learn this unknown path that music takes me on.

BECAUSE
Much of my sounds are memories from long ago which I don’t always remember in full and when something sparks it off, then I begin writing them in music. It also happens that two songs become spliced and I have to figure it out. When I leave it for a while and return and listen, I sometimes find the two different stories and rearrange them or split them up.

I use this language, and it talks back to me. That’s it. I understand it.

And it can happen like this:
But hey! What about this and what about that and nope, that was not the end yet!
This is the rule that I follow, NOT that which someone else says.

Some of my compositions are new experiences and they don’t talk back so much……

and if another cannot catch on or catch up, well, its not my problem and I think it is very impolite for them to speak their limited knowledge of how they want my music to be.

So, that day when it washed over me, and anger sat in me, I measured my hand over an electronic keyboard, normal piano key sizes and checked how many notes I can do in one. I checked with my fist, gosh I would have jumped on it.

That was when I composed a short piece and some measures down the little lines, the tune became calm and so did I. (I didn’t publish it but later when I researched something of which I didn’t know the understanding, I learned that even this was some music style! I simply called this one “Anger Management” since even here music managed my emotions and calmed me down.)

I then thought it is okay to really let go of my emotions as I experienced that day when someone told me that I have to decide when to stop music. Oh, and I was told it’s a mathematical thing.

(hmmm. I love maths and physics, it’s part of my everyday life in design and manufacturing and of course I’d figured out long ago already that maths form a good part of some of music’s technical elements.)

So then, I’d let go and and the emotions came in this following order in five bursts and I thought to leave it as separate tracks to make up my own teeny little symphony of emotions.

Spooked (I was disappointed but for little while only)
Chagrined (as the word says)
Reduced (as much as it was suggested I must decide how long music runs)
Prepared (after I finished “Anger Management” and knew music decides)
Fugued (I thought this to be the better title instead of what I originally had in mind)

And then I went ahead and created a little animation about it. And afterwards I thought that one or other time I would like to get software with which I can make little animated stories coz I love it.

It can be watched at:



Friday, 24 April 2015

October 2010



October, most beautiful month – most painful month...

It was indeed a blissful month, as all Octobers in South Africa always are. Perfumes fill the air, colours in the fields become more prominent on a richer green and birds are breeding and may already have hatchlings.

Yet, Papa was in his autumn years, gold, gold gold. He was a bit groggy as he had shingles just before winter began, suffered all that pain, and even contracted a bit pneumonia. Papa has hardly ever been ill in his life, and it has hit him a bit on the psychological side of things. I was happy to be home in the south and could be there for Papa.

(I am still amazed at how things happened that I remained home that time.....)

End August saw me helping my daughter moving into her new home and afterwards I’d spend a week with my Godmother (Papa’s sister) and then daughter and granny girl would join us there for the weekend. And that fine Sunday we went back to my daughter’s place and she would take me home to Papa the following Sunday.

Monday 25 October Papa phoned me on my mobile and told me he bought three packets of cheese and placed in the cabinet where we’d mature the cheese. He still asked me if it was okay. I was a bit agitated to speak to him that day, I wanted to cut our conversation short and mentioned also that the unstable mobile connection can disappear at any time.

(I felt terrible afterwards, yet, when I think, we had time to say goodbye that day before the connection might have disappeared and we’d never have had to opportunity to say goodbye. I was in any case going to be home that Sunday and we’d again talk as much as we wanted to.)

On 27 October I was not feeling too well. I had something that felt like an angina and got a bit anxious. I decided then I am not going to worry and rather relax. I had some wine and took even more, ate small lunch and went to rest a bit on the couch in my daughter’s lounge. I actually slept.

I woke when my cellphone rang and recognized the number (otherwise I won’t even bother to answer). I answered and this chap simply said: “We have problems.” I asked what problems and he repeated. This went on three times then I just said to him “What problems, speak to me.” He then replied: “Your Father is dead.”

I was horrified, thinking this is a sick joke but he insisted and then asked me who the undertakers are. I was in shock and couldn’t even remember a single thing and the first that came to my mind was the name of Papa’s second wife’s undertakers.

I became like a zombie, walking up and down, lighting one cigarette from another, still not believing what this man told me. He was always so nice to Papa, how on Earth would he just say “Your Father is dead” ????? It just didn’t make sense.

I phoned him later again, I really thought it was a sick joke – yet he simply just confirmed. He said again that “we” have problems, the Police didn’t want to give him the key of our home and Papa’s car and that he couldn’t arrange anything with the undertaker because it was not the same undertaker as I told him.

(Logically the police won’t give him anything, he is not next-of-kin, why would this man have wanted the car and house keys? It seems then, this was the only problem he had, definitely not “we”.)

Later that same day I received another call from a Police Officer who informed me with tender respect about my Father’s death and that I should see him when I am back. Only then did I know, accepted what happened. Papa was in this world no more.....

Agony followed, I phoned my daughter at her work, I just wanted her to get home immediately. She was also shocked but kept a very clear head and said that there is nothing we can do for the moment, it is late and it is best that I have, or try to have, would be a good night’s rest and that she’d take me home the following day. It was already nearer five ‘o clock in the afternoon and we’d be at my home only after dark.

My daughter still had work commitments and it took a slow city rush hour for her before she’d be home. Bless her soul for the strength she had that day. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

I won’t forget the Dettol soap I used while showering, I washed and washed and washed myself as if I want to wash this reality away. I kept the water running over me, trying to rinse this horrific truth as if it never existed.

Early the next day I packed my daughter’s little Peugeot with things I had at her place which she won’t use anymore to take back home.

(At the time I also rented an additional tranquil two roomed apartment where Papa and I could spend peaceful hours together, where we hadn’t had a worry in the world of anyone interrupting us. I decided that I could use those items there. I was so confused, I wanted to believe that Papa and I would still be together.)

(My Godmother also visited there earlier, it was easier for her to move around there. She still said that she wanted to spend some time with her brother, especially after Papa had pneumonia and was hospitalized – in case she might not see her brother again.)

(She was very concerned, those two were true buddy siblings, dynamic together since they were kids in a home of 10 children.)

 (photo of them shortly after Second World War)

(All the lovely memories we’d share those days were fantastic…..)

Oh God, it is hurting so much, but I am so thankful for those blissful days, the last seven months of Papa’s life, that we could have been together.

The missing will never go away, it still hurts badly. Each time I make food, each time I brew my coffee, I miss this great man of my life who’d greet me in the mornings with “Hallo Mrs Coffee” when the aroma of my early morning java floats around.

October is beautiful, it is also the month the Almighty chose to take Papa home. Praise the Almighty for how He decided to choose.

My music began to play so loud - less than a year afterwards, so strong as if even Papa is also conducting this gift, cheering me on.