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

Thoughts on motives

**A disclaimer should be noted that I’ve only had as much music theory as is necessary for a Music Education major.  Though, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, and always got “A’s” in the classes.  That being said, thus continues my rambling of what I want out of my music.

I’ve decided to have this piece of music revolve entirely around a four note motive: F,E,C,D; or rather, that group of steps–m2, M3, M2. There is really no rhyme or reason for using it other than I like it.  When moving fast and sliding on the guitar neck, it’s quite fun to play, especially when I continue transposing it all over the neck.  It’s more technically fun than anything.

I tried to use it all throughout the first movement, as a surrounding theme, a transitional property, and a guideline for choosing the harmonic structure.  I feel like Messiaen, making up my own rules, just minus the organ playing, and super religious aspect.  The first movement, uses the motive all over the place in each section.  There are many sections in the piece:  the same genre at any given point only sticks around for 4-5 minutes.

I can’t decide if I want to do any revision (though I’m sure I will many months from now) and incorporate some sort of set of leitmotives.  It seems appropriate for the emotional/musical approach I’m taking to writing the music.  After all, unlike anything I’ve ever written before, the lyrics came first in this piece.  I had some feelings and a story in my head, so I started writing it down.  The theme for the entire piece came 2 or so months later after I had chicken-scratched (quite literally) simple chords around the lyrics.  I suppose it was the text that prompted the amount of musical emotion I would need, and that dictated that this would not be another one of my acoustic/pop-ish songs that was restricted to an AABABCBA form. (Verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, verse–typical).

Wagner, Brahms, Berg, Stamitz, Haydn–everyone and their mother, very intelligently used motives.  I can’t tell if I’m just hyped on coffee and the idea that I’m attempting to write something, for me, bigger than other things I’ve attempted, but I fear that without proper time, thought, and information, this piece will come out to be something merely elementary.  I am definitely going for something to wow the listener, intrigue the theorist, move the emotional, and impress the poet.  Also, to accurately get out what I need to, for me.

I think the most difficult task ahead of me, for this piece of music, aside from making each genre/section blended fluently, is to add a central route from beginning to end where my motive is the engine, or maybe the fuel.  Or maybe the vehicle. Oh jeeze, I can’t decide.  I get lost in my own metaphor cities…ayayay.


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