Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Creative Drive; Art and Music

I wonder what the drive to create things is.  It's a drive and you can have it even when you don't have the skills to do what you want to do and it can make you (me) crazy.

I'm a good writer, a good photographer, I'm great visualizing things.
I learned to paint decently.  I'm not the best drawer but I do ok.

But I struggle with audio and music.  I love music and learned guitar at an early age though stopped due to a hand injury though I might be able to do it some now.

But what I'd love to be able to do is composition.  Hearing Cirque du Soliel is an exercise in ecstasy and torture as I really would love to be able to create that kind of music, but even after studying composition in college some my mind just doesn't seem to work that way very well.  It's a struggle in a way that I have trouble describing, but I'm sure it's similar to people who struggle with visualizing things.

But I don't think I should ever accept "I can't" as by not accepting it I accomplish some very rewarding things.
I can paint, I can run, I am working on being able to climb to altitude, I'm competing in herding with a talented dog who has behavior issues and many people would have given up on him.  All these things I had to work at and overcome mental ":I can't" obstacles, and it means so much more when I succeed.

And I've have more training beyond college and guitar lessons.  While my hands were injured I couldn't play an instrument, so instead I learned to listen to music very carefully.  Someone told me that the brain of a musician listening to music is much more active than the average person and I can totally understand why.  When I'm listening to music carefully I can follow the components.  What is that violin doing?  How about the guitar or the drum, and that vocal is incredible, and is that 3/4 time, funny it's not a waltz but just feels like it...

But there's still a block.  I can analyze music up to a point (some things are too subtle for me to follow), but I am just amazed at the incredible complexity that Cirque or Mozart come up with.  Not to mention I find a lot of classical music kinda boring (save for Herr Mozart), so I was thrilled when Cirque appeared.

Now I'm realizing what I love is film, play, and even TV (yes, Survivor) music, but I really don't know how to move forward with my enjoyment of it.  One way is to get a lot better at the piano (and consider replacing my sorry old completely worthless family piano - though my mother would kill me if she found out.), but what I love is the full effect of all the instruments at once.  Real composers can hear the full effect in their head.  That's a skill I've yet to develop and I'm not sure how to do it.

There's a scene in a Juliette Binoche film (possibly Alice et Martin or maybe it's the oh so cheery Three Colors: Blue) that I just love.  She is composing a piece with her partner.  He is playing what they' have so far and she says "Wait Wait" in French "Attend attend..." and then makes a great suggestion of what should be added.  I would dearly love to create this way.  In DVD special features I love the ones where they talk about the music and the process just as much as I love how they talk about creating the animation and the art.


Elf said...

I invent tunes from time to time but very simple ones and have seldom written them down (although I have blank composition notepads upstairs with my flute & all the printed music). After many years in choir and orchestra, I also pick out the pieces and I think it makes it much easier to enjoy the music as a whole when it's not just one big smear of notes to you. I took a couple of music appreciation classes at cal berkeley which also opened my eyes to why some composer did the things they did in certain pieces--I'd be hard-pressed to identify any of those specifically now, but I often wonder. (Hmmm, wonder whether I kept my notes from that class? Kept the record album & book that went with it and have enjoyed revisiting those over & over.) San Jose State has a pretty active music program--oh, wait, you're wayyyy up north. Hmm, Cal Berkeley does, too, but I don't know what community colleges might offer in the way of composition classes for you to get back in the swing of it? I think composition is like a lot of other mental games--you have to really inhabit that space a lot in a knowledgeable way for it to start coming easily.

Elf said...

I said "choir and orchestra" but that's incorrect--choir and band (I was in an orchestra only once briefly in all those years). Funny that I would say that--?!