Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

wooden mallet to a 2 x 4

"He who attempts in these days to write a Theory Book is confronted with a problem. Music, the youngest of the Arts, said by some to have culminated and by others to be still in its infancy, is in an interesting stage of development"--Preston Ware Orem, 1923

Last night I heard a radio program speak of the various composers named Strauss, and their many waltzes.
Then a piece by Nilsson began to play, which interested me, but soon I found myself changing the channel to another radio station, distracted. Then I heard a piece on the BBC about the brilliant Congo musician Papa Wembe, and his rather sad human smuggling operation, replete with taped conversations in which he expressed contempt for the persons he was smuggling. Feet of clay abound.

I have a mental image of getting different sizes of wood, and making a home-made marimba. Rather than choosing notes of a size to make proper harmonics, I'd just choose sizes which differ in relation to one another. I imagine numbering the notes, and writing music based on the numbers, the most primitive form of composition possible, based on a spatial relationship of the sizes of the notes rather than a harmonic relationship.

My idea is not new, as virtually every method to alter western harmonics has been tried, and the marimba in particular lends itself to DIY improvisation. I'm intrigued, though, by the idea of an ordered sound played as music, which is not in some ways a very "musical" sound. It's a way to break out of the prisons in which I find myself bound from time to time.

People take their arts and their music seriously. Nothing wrong with that. I don't take anything creative very seriously. Nothing wrong with that. My mother was probably right, by the way, when she wanted me to play in the band. I played junior high football instead, showing basically no talent for the game. Now I want to learn the simple musical things I can play (all chosen for their simplicity) and make new things that nobody can play, or anybody can play.

I listened to an indie CD tonight with a great melodic texture and I thought to myself that I have very little natural sense of melody. I can't draw, either, for that matter. These are things you can learn with practice, I suppose, but I always found that ample practice produced little reward. I admire technique, but I rarely have a burning longing to acquire any.

Everyone has their own agenda about such things, I suppose. I think of the fellow who posts in an electronic music LiveJournal community to which I belong. His posts often feature his latest eBay ad of altered musical devices. I'm all for him making an honest dollar, but I wonder if it occurs to him how little many folks really need to read one more link to one more ad, when we're hunting for insight and the spirit of adventure that a weblog community can achieve.

Tonight I'm pondering living life as a kazoo rather than a saxophone, and I am not sure I have quite gotten the hum down yet.

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