Friday, February 19, 2010

"What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a Really Cool Title and This is All I Got?"

"What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a Really Cool Title and This is All I Got?"

The title saga continues.

Why is it we "classical" composers are mostly inept when it comes to titles? 'Symphony #1.' Stunning title. Or, 'Sonata in G Major.' Yeah baby - that really says it all! Of course, I realize that our tradition of non-programmatic titles comes from an era where music was 'through-composed' and not programmatic. Pure. Idealistic.

This is a wonderful past and I embrace it and support it with all my soul. It just seems ... so sterile. Is it any wonder we feel a need to attach a descriptive title to a purely musical thought? A good example is the Beethoven "Moonlight Sonata," which Beethoven never thought of calling it. He called it - ready romantics?: "Piano Sonata #14."

So ... just what does this have to do with me and today's piece of music?

Well ... everything!

Most of the time I try to write very descriptive music essentially based on 'classical' forms and ideals. My 'language' as a composer is most decidedly not 'classical' - but my ideals are. And ... I have a tendency to call things with such descriptive titles as "Study #27," or, "Symphony #5."

Ooh! Be still my heart!

So ... today's piece of music?

"Study in Groups of Seven in a Chromatic Fashion," or, "What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a Really Cool Title and This is All I Got?"

Of course, in my defense - it is a study in groups of seven; listen to the right-hand in the beginning of the piece - groups of seven strung together end to end. (This rhythmic idea comes back so often it is almost motivic!) And, ... it is chromatic - related in a scalar fashion by half-steps.

This series of pieces has been terrific for me as a composer. I have been forced to create something new everyday, which, of course, means that I have had to try and make musical sense out of the smallest possible ideas and whims! So far it has been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed the emails and comments from all of you tremendously. (Included in those emails and comments are some of the most interesting people I have had the privilege of 'talking' to - including college music and conservatory students and ... a fifth grade class of elementary school students who discuss the music daily. Now that's a brave teacher!)

So, this is "What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a Really Cool Title and This is All I Got?" I spent a lot of time recording it this morning - couldn't get it really right until the last possible moment! (I must be getting old ...)

This one is for Mer the pianist and composer. Tomorrow? A piece for clarinet and sounds for my friend Eddie.

Thanks again!

Robert Ian Winstin

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  1. Nice - upbeat piece for a Friday morning. What blows my mind is that your fingers can move that fast in the wee hours of the morning. I am sure TC loved watching your fingers fly across the keyboard.

    Cathy B

  2. Thanks Robert! I am honored to think you wrote this with me in mind in any way at all! You are a sweetie! I was out of town at my Mom's house for her 80th (as I told you), and didn't get back to my computer 'til this morning...

    Many things I love about this piece - and you are quite the amazing pianist. That cascading line going in and out (because of volume, but boy it almost seems panned left to right like in the 80s rock songs) is a Wow!

    I just want to make it clear however, I am no pianist - I've just listened to lots of other pianists! I wish I was more of one, actually. My instruments are violin and voice.

    Again, thanks!


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