08 August 2009

Informal Questionnaire

Upon finding out that I am a composer, one virtual neighbor queries:

What composers have influenced you?
It’s not a helpful answer, but really, every composer whose music I have listened to, has influenced me. As a composer, you have to make choices . . . the most-used tool in the artist’s kit, is his Filter. (Nor is it that all the composers and/or musical works occupying the overstuffed Reject Bin, are composers and music that I do not like; but that’s another tale).

The seven composers who have been my strongest overall influences, from the days I was studying the craft of composition, have been: Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Sibelius, Hindemith & Stravinsky. Three pop artists whose influence upon my musical outlook is at times nearly as pervasive are: Genesis, King Crimson & Zappa.

As you are composing, I am curious to what kind of style, musical “imagery,” modal usage, etc. you have adapted in your own compositions.
I work in a range of styles, which was one element of the June recital on which a large number of the audience & participants remarked; so if you would like to attempt to form a clearer answer, I shall with pleasure send you a recording of the event. Similarly, I enjoy working with a variety of pitch-worlds: some of the sacred choral music I have written is fairly close to Common Practice; and various pieces of mine strike out at greater or lesser distances from that ol’ Common Practice. I don’t believe there is really “atonality”; which is also to say, my understanding of tonality is broader than Common Practice. There is a pitch center, or there are some centers of pitch; and there are questions of the degree of strength of the musical activity’s attraction to those centers.

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