Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Final Score

A couple of years or so ago I had an idea for a piece of music and began to write a few ideas down. Somehow, the whole thing spiralled and before I knew it I had the makings of not only a new composition but a book to go with it. A few random notes turned into quite a major project. That was a while ago now and it has recently come to fruition. The book, called The Final Score, is available and the music will be published in a couple of weeks time or so.

The music is called and is inspired by Alchemy, the idea being that a wide variety of my experiences as a musician would go into an alchemical melting pot and out of it would come the new piece of music, the gold that I was aiming for. That process took me on a journey not only into my own musical past but also into the history of and the roots of music making. I was trying to discover, explore and understand the powerful effects of music and to achieve this, I went on my journey.

Embarking on this project, I realised that I would have to delve not only into how people listen to music today but also into how they have perceived music in the distant past. For example, the ancient Greeks developed theories about music not as entertainment but as a means for describing how the universe works. The journey goes via amateur orchestras, rambling in the countryside, rock festivals, quantum theory, astrological charts, singing bowls, onion fayres, alchemical experiments and string quartets, to name but some of the disparate stops along the way. There is also background information about listening to and making music, an historical context, anecdotes and thoughts about contemporary music. The result was an account of how the new music was conceived and of everything that went into it, both personal experiences and musical ideas.

What drew me to the alchemy (the psychology of the process, not the physical chemistry)  was that it talks about becoming whole by marrying opposites together. It represents these symbolically with a King and Queen, or Sun and Moon. My interest in music includes somewhat irreconcilable opposites, such as contemplative and spiritually expressive classical music on the one hand and more primitive rock and contemporary music on the other. Those are the opposites that I've brought together. It will be for others to judge whether or not I've been at all successful, but I know from the rehearsals already experienced that the combination of percussion, electric bass and string quartet worked well. I've already had a ball with this new music and hope to perform it publicly at some point. Meanwhile, to round off this bit of self-publicity, if you are interested in reading the book or finding out more about it or will help you with this.

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