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Archive for February, 2011

On using notes!

Nowadays I compose using conventional notes. I gave up using special effects and wacky notation some time ago. Why?

First, I found that special effects have to be integrated into the musical conception of the piece from the start. Too often they sound like add-ons designed to sound clever or original.

Second, I found that I could achieve far better performances by communicating with performers using the conventional notation which they are so highly trained in using. Making them learn new signs and symbols tended to detract from the performance – and to me the music only exists when it is being played. The score is not music,  just a set of instructions for producing it.

Third, I became increasingly critical of the post-modern aesthetic, with its emphasis (Quoting one of its first theorists, François Lyotard) , on originality as a self justifying concept. To me, originality should arise from the expressive needs of the piece concerned, and the area of human sensibility or experience which it seeks to explore.

So, I write notes. Most of my postings here will deal with my latest pieces and how they are progressing, and I hope they throw up ideas interesting to other composers and to performers.

See you again soon.

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