Saturday, 13 June 2015

Rare Breeds



The piece became a bit of a Kwaito (in a Classical way), the way we feel sometimes about a situation, arguing in our own minds, forming dialogue in a way that makes us feel better.

I started it off with Harpsichord, because I felt so terribly 'old and long ago' and, gradually during the ‘prelude’ I kind of woke up to what I’m actually doing.

Most of this music came from the past months. Whatever I saw, heard and lived would at times also remind me of another ‘rare breed’ (mostly of the present time) whom I only know by music. Thus, the main influence is based on my own perception at a very moment when I’d experience something and would think of the other who also ‘runs free’.

Aaargh, I didn’t realize this when I began composing, the sound was sparked off when I heard an old ‘rare breed’ again who disappeared for a while and suddenly popped up again.

Later, as I did some analysis of “Rare Breeds”, I couldn’t help to smile and giggle at times, seeing even how a walking duck and a Maltese Poodle chasing geese, reminded me of a character behind music.

The Kwaito stepped in hard as I would be listening to India Mynahs performing at late afternoons for the best branch to roost for the night. They are not indigenous to South Africa and became a bit of a threat to the original bird species, but the weavers are a strong bunch and won’t give an inch.

And so the story went on and on once I was caught up into it. I lacked time and facility to work on it, and would spend my earliest morning java time over several days to ‘speak my mind’. It sure was a piece that had me fast up and going each morning, and even faster if I slept a bit late since then I’d not even have quarter of an hour to work on it. I was okay when I would have around 45 minutes on such mornings, then I could take my time tasting my coffee and music.

(maybe I should now mention that I can wake even earlier than 3am regardless of time zone, totally awake and ready to kick off a long day of duties which could stretch even up to 19 hours)

I recognize others like me who live in music, with music, using it as the best way to communicate and I realize more and more that this is a natural thing, nobody can teach you that. It is just the way you ‘speak’, even if you are pressed for time. I do not know how I do it, some educated folks told me that they don’t know how I do it. But I am crazy about doing it. I love it!

Fair enough, I cannot speak in words about music as most do for I didn’t study these ‘translations’ as they did, but I learn on the run with each composition I work at. I won’t speak with them though, for my tongue ties up and I have very little idea how to pronounce most of those fancy words. So I stick to the p the pp, ppp and pppp instead of even trying to utter it. I can say it in music already and that is enough for me. I'd rather pp than p-whatever by not getting the p's and s's at their correct place. Know what I mean?

It is to know music as a form of communication that gives one the ear to understand, not what one learns from books (or the www or wikipedia as I 'consult' for knowledge)… I did this for as long as I can remember after hearing the first human interpretations of this beautiful language.

“Rare Breeds” are people like myself, even if they are highly educated - because such folks in any case don’t follow the books, they follow their feelings, passions and interpret it all in their own unique ways. They understand what I ‘say’ in music.

A scarce breed, but oh so nice to hear them ‘speak’ from the bottom of the heart, whether a creator of interpreter (performing artist), we belong to a very rare group.

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: