I can’t do this. The gulf between the way the author puts things and the way I already understand them is too wide to be worth the effort for me to continue. Repeatedly I read a passage and puzzle and struggle for an undue amount of time only to discover that what I am reading is something I already understand so well that it is a part of me. Ultimately I believe that it is not the fault of the author and it is not my fault, but rather that in a very real sense we speak two different languages.
I will provide a couple examples of english language usage that non-musical types can more easily relate to, namely the Harry Potter books and the King James version of the Bible. Continue reading →
It’s almost like A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” — Charles Dickens. There was confusion, and then there was clarity.
OK. The Composer/Arranger is a difficult book which to my eye is for what I’d call an advanced educated musician (or I am rather stunted). But where the opening of the book changed topics and perspectives at rapid pace, here in the ensuing pages about melody while the author makes frequent references to clarification in later parts of the book he does stay on point. And they are very good points indeed.
Let’s talk about melody, and in the larger sense talk about creative construction in general. Continue reading →
Oh boy. Major problems trying to understand what is going on here after reading the first 21 pages. It feels like the author is trying to say everything at once in a rather disorganized manner jumping wildly from topic to topic and intellectualizing and abstracting what should be rather simple ideas about overall form. Add to that British terms like “quaver” instead of eighth note and “crochet” instead of quarter note and the level of difficulty in reading is further increased. While I do indeed understand every sentence, this jumping around all over the place and the confusing diagrams that only the author could love make for a tedious read (I do understand the diagrams but they don’t really work as intended). I’m 7% through and honestly don’t want to continue even though the subject matter is something I am very much interested in.
Let me take a stab at describing “form” while describing poetry and see if I can do a decent job of it. This is bound to be a lot harder than it seems. Continue reading →
As you might remember from last time I bought John Morton’s book “the composer/arranger” and went on a playful tirade about how it was not available in e-book format. That really is a complaint but let’s not dwell on it. Let’s instead dive into the introduction to see where we might be going with this book. Continue reading →
As a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step so does learning music start with sitting your butt down before an instrument. I’ve done a lot of butt sitting and banging on a piano, even doing a year where I would practice upwards of 4 hours each day including holidays such as Christmas. I earned the BS degree with a major in classical piano and have performed in a classic rock band for ten years. I started doing this the summer before kindergarten and am now 56 years old. As time has gone on from then to this very day I have tried very hard to understand how this music thing works, particularly more in recent years. I’ve even dabbled in composing here and there and I try to teach my own students an understanding of what is really going on from day one which is something my early teachers never bothered with. I recently discovered John Morton’s blog and have read his articles very closely — this guy knows more than me, particularly where writing and arranging are concerned. And he has written a book. I bought the book and I invite you to join me as I take that first step and turn open the cover. Continue reading →