Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Art of Music Creation

In response to how I create music:

I'm totally different than most people I think. If I sat down to write a song, I'd be sitting there staring at the wall until I gave up on the idea. For me, it either happens or it doesn't. I don't really feel like I have any control over it whatsoever. It is dependent though upon what I am going through in my personal life or what is going on in the world around me. That influences what I do in a very dramatic way.

For me though, my music comes in one big moment. I am always creating and just playing whatever it is that comes out. I basically sit at the keyboard and my fingers play music that is created in the moment. If I thought about it, the fingers would stop so I just have to let them go. Sometimes I can sit at the keyboard and know that this is going to happen and sometimes it doesn't. Again, I don't feel as if I have control over this.

So when my fingers begin playing something, I have a nice little record feature on my keyboard and I hit record because I never know what is going to happen. I'm very picky though in what others get to hear so many of the things I create never make it to the light of day where others get to hear it. I'm just too picky. Once it is recorded, than I go back and listen to it because usually when I'm recording my stuff, I really don't "hear" the music. It isn't until I play it back, that I truly get to hear it.

For me, it is like a conversation between "someone out there" and myself or "some deep place within me" and my conscious self. I don't know how else to describe it. Once the conversation is spoken, than that is the end. It isn't like I can go back and play the music over either as I'm just as lost if I attempt to do this. I've tried to print out sheet music but there are so many notes and nuances in the music that I can't even replay the song from this format. So, it is a one time shot for me. I do wish I could go back and replay it but to this date, I've not found a way to do this.

Of course, once I listen to the song that I recorded, if it has one note that is out of place (and even if that means the note doesn't fit in the way the song goes in my own mind), the song just gets filed away on my computer. To most people, they would never hear that note, but to me, it stands out.

I know others create music in a much different way and I wish I could do that but so far, those methods are just a mystery to me as even the way I create music. It is frustrating to me that I can not replay my stuff so if I ever play in front of people, I end up just creating in the moment. Creating in the moment is fine but it takes so much energy out of me that I can not do it for long periods at a time.

I read some music but not enough to play complex stuff. Ever since my paralysis in 1991, I sometimes struggle to play music that is already written. I've recovered from the paralysis but I still struggle with getting my fingers and my brain to play in unison and with flexibility.

So much of the music growing up for me was music that I played in church or heard in church. We weren't allowed to go to concerts or listen much to a radio, so my musical influence is really the church. In many ways, some of those sounds come through in what I create. The rest of it, I have no idea where it comes from.

And when I create a song, there is usually a thought or series of thoughts (conversation) going through my mind. Most of the time I record those thoughts in my journal and then name the song around them. Many of these I have shared in a summary form on my website but for the most part, I think those thoughts come through in the music to the subconscious mind.

So that in a nutshell is how I create music. Maybe one day, I'll figure out how to do it like everyone else does.

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