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Topic: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

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  1. #1

    Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    Hey everybody,

    I got another philosophical conundrum that I'm debating in my own head and heart and as usual I'm taking it public here because when I do I usually find the answer among the very talented and hard working composers here.

    Question: Do you need a personal connection to the music you write or can you write music for film or anything objectively and make it good as music but not really care about whether or not it moves you emotionally?

    In answering please include what you're doing in music too. Pro. semi pro, or hobbyist. Whether you work for a living in music or have a day job type situation.

    We've tossed this around a few times in other battles but it's still not settled in my heart.

    Cheers,


    Jose

  2. #2
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    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    every piece of music I write no matter the style or arrangement or instrumentaiton has to practically rip out my soul for emotion, it really has to do more then just be, for me at least. Composing music is like drinking water or breathing, it's something that has to happen, part of my being to live.
    At the moment I am working on getting jobs writing music for anything(I am about to write music for small animation soon, even though right now i am really sick(cold thing) My goal however is to write music for japanese console games or film.(since i compose jpop as a style) I think music is part of the soul of the composer, the voice of the artist.
    When you are an artist you have to create no matter what. A lot of times it's more then an expression of yourself, you just have to do it, you hear music, you feel music, it must be. well that's my answer

    I would also like to say that music is spoiled if the listener is not feeling or hearing what you hear and this goes for publishers too, and it happens a lot.

  3. #3

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    I've been playing and writing music for many years. Here's my take on the process -YMMV.

    Performance can be 'faked,' to the degree that you know how to make someone respond to the emotional content of a piece even though you are not feeling it yourself But first, you have to have played the song, or the groove, or the concept, many times when you DID feel it, so your hands and 'performance mind' (the mechanical performing part of your brain) know what to do to achieve the effect, how to hit the keys, breathe and lip the mouthpiece, etc. Once you have achieved this degree of understanding of your instrument, the technical aspect can make up, to a significant degree, for the emotional distancing (I really didn't just lose my baby to another man, but I can tell you in son that I did so you'll know what it's like, or I'm not really happy because I just met the girl of my dreams, because in the real world I'm unhappily married and going through a divorce-just an example, neither are true...) The great performance will come when you DO feel the emotion, but a very convincing replica can be performed nightly with no problem.

    But in composing, if you don't feel it, you probably won't find the melody that strongly supports the emotion. hough again, with practice you know the way to make it pretty convincing, the truly memorable melodies are not mechanically contrived.

    That's me. Irving Berlin and John WIlliams may disagree...
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  4. #4

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    As a professional composer, session keyboardist and producer, I pour my heart and soul into everything I do, otherwise I might as well hang it up. I can only think of one exception: There are times when I'm hired to play on someone else's recording session, and occasionally what I'm asked to play I completely disagree with. Depending on the attitudes of the artist and producer, I'll usually attempt to diplomatically suggest better alternatives. But if they are steadfast in what they think they want, I just have to shut my mouth and give it to them as efficiently as possible. Ultimately I leave the session feeling like I wasted my time, but at least I gave them what they hired me for.

  5. #5

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    I've balanced my artist side with my whore side for years with no real problems but as the years go buy the whoring part really does get a lot harder. But I try to be the best whore on the block. It's always redeemed by the fact that it allows me to indulge my purely artistic side.

  6. #6

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    Not just to play Devils advocate here..but if you just want to work and you dont care what kind of writing gig you have, then i dont think is possible to pour your heart out and absolutely love every single cue you ever make or are asked to make. Thats sort of been my experience in my 3 years of non- stop slogging out cues for T.V shows. Plus your asked to create or re-create style that you dont nessesarily dig at the time but grow to like.
    The trick of course is to be professional about it and learn as much about the stuff that you dont like or isnt your bag so you can grow as a musician.
    But the truth is most of the stuff that i create that i really DONT like ,almost always the producers or editors will LOVE it.. And the more i like it, the greater possiblility that I`ll have to rewrite it!! Murphys law?
    Its not about loving what your do always its often more about creating something appropreate. Other wise, I`d be writing Stravinsky pieces all day and watching my contracts ignite into flames.
    So to answer the Q: Sometimes its better NOT to love your piece and try to create the most apropreate thing ,secretly knowing what your client wants but going against the grain of what your heart and soul desire to create, leaving self-indulgance behind.
    This was a hard lesson me me to learn and a hard pill to swallow.
    Dont get me wrong , most of the time I`m pinching myself unable to believe that im actually getting paid to write the stuff i get to do...I just think sometimes it not about heart.. its about head and survival. Rich

  7. #7

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    Rich,

    Let's also make the distinction between "absolutely loving the result" and "trying to make a piece of music as musical as possible to the best of your ability". While the former is always preferable, I'm usually willing to settle for the latter as well when others are involved in the decision making process. It's when the result fits neither scenario that I come away dissatisfied.

  8. #8

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    Given the constraints of some of the assignments I get when doing TV commercials, there is a part of me that suffers while making the client happy.
    I of course try my best to come up with the best possible result but the overall content (TV commercial) is sometimes so poor that it is very difficult to feel fulfilled.
    Luckily, there are other projects to compensate for the uninspiring ones and you get to appreciate these even more...

  9. #9

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman
    Rich,

    Let's also make the distinction between "absolutely loving the result" and "trying to make a piece of music as musical as possible to the best of your ability". While the former is always preferable, I'm usually willing to settle for the latter as well when others are involved in the decision making process. It's when the result fits neither scenario that I come away dissatisfied.
    Agreed, good points. Also ,this Q:.also got me thinking that this is one huge diff. between Commercial (T.V., Film, multimedia etc..) and concert or artistic band stuff. You just know that Marvin Gaye or Beethoven totally put there heart and soul into what they did. You can just feel it and thats what makes it so great. On the ther hand, and this is not a diss., but its almost weird when you hear a commercial or some cable T.V cue and its super soulful, your psycologically not ready for it.
    Theres a Bank commercial (or something like that) out right now with an Allman Bros. tune (i think it Mellisa) on it and its soo hearfelt and then the Bank logo comes up and it almost sureal to me....doesn`t feel quite right
    Its definately a delema that your soul and integrity have to wrestle with from time to time, if you need to work solid..(kids ,home , etc..) Rich

  10. #10

    Re: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Music

    I have absolutely noticed that with almost all the music for hire I've ever done the client's love of it is in direct proportion to my hating it. If I write the biggest pile of crap I can it's usually a sure winner for a jingle or background piece.

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