Thursday, December 19, 2013

The birth of a song

I have a bachelor's degree in music composition. I have always found it difficult to write music without the immediate possibility of a performance, though. I have this unshakeable idea in my head that music isn't music until it is heard. And more than that, I believe MY music isn't music until it's been through the mind of a performer. (Granted, sometimes that performer is me. But writing music is very different from performing it.) In my mind, a composition is never truly whole, never a fully formed entity until it has been performed.

So, I wrote a song this week. I was in a holiday concert last weekend, and one of my colleagues in VOX3 has a spectacular voice and I was just totally inspired. Actually, ALL of my colleagues in VOX3 have spectacular talents and I am often inspired by them. This time I did something about it.  I pulled out the book of poems that my aunt gave me a few years ago. "Feel free to set anything in here!" she said when she gave me the copy-store bound volume.

So I made the computer play my brand new piece for me. Finale plays it using sounds like a computer. It doesn't sound like a song. It sounds jagged and rocky. I know it's not going to sound that way when humans perform it. If humans perform it. If my colleague even likes the piece I wrote her. Now my nerves kick in. What if she doesn't like it? What if it never gets performed? What if it languishes in a computer hard drive...never to be born?

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