A Man’s Will to a Woman
The title above is the name of a 3 movement string quintet piece I’m writing. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t completely influenced by the approaches of the Punch Brothers. I suppose I’ve always loved bluegrass, and the standard instrumentation. But upon hearing them over a year ago they are absolutely my favorite band for life.
Finally, I’ve found a band that has music that moves me intellectually and physically. Clearly, when listening to their music, there is quite a bit of knowledge as far compositional techniques go, and it also is not the standard “I’m-a-college-composition-major-and-am-going-to-write-something-that-is-only-fun-for-me-to-write-and-not-you-to-listen” piece of music that is often found. That’s not really an insult to those people: it takes quite a bit of intellect to do what they do, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it.
Chris Thile wrote a 4 movement piece called “The Blind Leaving the Blind.” There are sections that are carefully notated but still leave room for improvisation: cheers to the heart of bluegrass. Yet, it is not as repetitive in harmonic structure as bluegrass, a trait that I find necessary these days with music. Yes I can turn on the radio and perhaps hear a catchy song, but inevitably it’s going to have 4, 5 chords, tops, and I can tell you about it after 30 seconds of listening. Those are fun for the body, not the mind. But I should clarify: I write songs like that as well. I’m in the (slow) process of recording a CD with songs of the like.
Groups like the Punch Brothers have captured the very approach I want to apply to my music writing: don’t concern yourself with rules, but rather with what pleases you and if possible, your audience. You don’t write music to only please yourself, at least I don’t think you should. Writing music is meant to be a publicly shared thing. I intend to live around that idea, musically.
And with 2010 and all it’s technological annoyances, I have given in completely: writing this blog. I flinch when I type the word “blog,” but alas, here I am. I figure I have Facebook like everyone else, and dare I admit Twitter, so I have no shame in hopping aboard the techno-trendy train (alliteration: 1 point). I mean I’m writing a blog about composing music–*pushes up glasses*, *snaps suspenders*, *drinks coffee at every hour of the day*