Archive for December 28th, 2012

December 28, 2012

MAYBE JUST A LITTLE BIT CRAZY

One of my favorite lines from the classic holiday movie Miracle on 34th Street is: “Maybe he’s only a little bit crazy, like painters, or composers, or some of those men in Washington.” (Referring to an old man named Kris Kringle who professes to be Santa Claus.)

Although the film was released in 1947, the same sentiment toward composers pretty much holds true today. When I talk to total strangers and they ask what I do for a living, they inevitably have that bewildered look on their faces when I respond that I am a composer. Some have even said that they never thought about the fact that someone actually does that for a living.

I guess it might be because composers work alone, behind closed doors. We create something out of nothing. It’s not tangible. You can’t touch it. You can’t see it. You can only hear it. While most people respond to music, they don’t necessarily think about or care about where it came from. It only triggers some kind of emotion.

So what is it about being a composer that makes us be perceived as a little bit crazy? Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve spent our entire lives eating, drinking, sleeping music. We are entirely consumed with creating sounds that will be interpreted by an audience.

And music is one of the most subjective things on earth. People tend to have strong opinions, even if they’ve never played music. They know how it makes them feel and how it is usually associated with experiences in their lives.

Just as the listeners have opinions about music, so do composers. I have written about 15 hours of published music that is heard in all sorts of media worldwide. But I have also written pieces of music that never saw the light of day. I loved it when I wrote it, but it just didn’t fit into someone else’s notion of good music.

Ah Ha! That’s it. After a while, those little pieces of music that were never used come back to haunt us. As a result, we go just a little bit crazy?

Mmm. Now I want to hear those pieces from other composers that were never released. Maybe we can create an entire symphony of music that has never been heard. It would certainly be unique.

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