Friday, February 19, 2010

"What the #$%^ - I Tried to Come Up With a ..."

This is the nineteenth installment in the "28 in Twenty-Eight" blog series by Robert Ian Winstin.

"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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