My thoughts and out loud thoughts on composition, performance, and many things musical.

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*

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2 responses

  1. Robin Payne

    Hello, again, Joey…..not sure if you’ll remember me…I’m your Uncle Howie’s friend from Rondeau who played at his Dad’s nintieth birthday party at Erieau this past sumnmer….Howie sent me your blog and wondered if I recognized any of the images in the photo at the top….just thought I’d email to say what a pleasant memory it was to see that shot and think back to the fun I had that day.

    That’s it. Hope your studies are taking you where you want to go. And if ever you’re back in the Erieau area, and your uncle is too, I’d love to play some more music……if you’ve the patience to put up with me again !

    Be well,

    Robin Payne

    January 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    • HI!!! I do remember you!! hahah yes I love the picture at the top!! It was so perfect I had to use it!

      Everything is going well–if you read anything you can this is my center of “nerd-dom” where I just get musical things into words.

      I’m thinking about coming up to Erieau for my Spring Break in March just to hang out and play music with anyone I find. Maybe go stay with cousin Kristen!

      Thanks!!

      ~Joe

      January 16, 2011 at 1:27 am

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