Monday, 26 October 2015

Haiku Music


No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.
- Matsuo Bashō

They say that an artist should not release his ideas and creative processes into the world until they are fully fledged and ready to go. I'm going to write a piece of music and see what it's like to do the opposite. So, this blog and possibly others if it comes to anything, are the jottings of ideas as they come to me and a record of the music as it comes into being. Usually, I spend time with half-formed ideas in the background; get tired of waiting for them to form properly, sit down and begin to write almost at random. You have to start somewhere and see what happens. I'm often struck by how this seemingly random process yields up a piece of music that, without too much trouble, takes on a form and life of its own.

However, this time, I'd like to be more prescriptive, clearer about what the aims are. So, here is what I have so far. I thought of using poetry as a means for defining a narrative about facets of life: birth, youth, work, relationships, old age, death - that sort of thing. That might be too big a brief for a single piece of music - unless you are a Gustav Mahler and about to write another symphony, which I'm not. Instead, I said to myself, how about using the brevity of the haiku and applying its principle in the music: three lines of five, seven and five syllables. The haiku has a stable pattern and applying this to some music could be a means of organising it, for example in phrases of 5, 7 and 5 bars.  It could also suggest a rhythmic pattern or even a chordal structure.  Hmm, that seems to be a good start to me.

Scenes from a life or a journey in haiku form might introduce equally concise musical sections.  Those scenes could be philosophical (about life and death), practical (about getting a job, marriage, divorce), chance (events, discoveries, illness, accident), turning points (birthdays, moving home, meetings).  The list could go on. I'll put together a rough programme based on this and post again.

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