Monday, 11 November 2013

Re-express your idea

The British Composer Peter Maxwell Davies arranged a keyboard piece by J.S. Bach, the Third Prelude in C Sharp Major from the First Book of the 48 Preludes and Fugues, for a small instrumental ensemble, giving a prominent part to the Glockenspiel. This instrument consists of wooden blocks that when hit can create a uniquely mellow, delicate, slightly reverberating sound. Maxwell Davies re-expressed Bach’s piece through another musical medium, and in so doing brought to the fore an aspect of its character that perhaps had been hidden or at least not so easily appreciated in its original arrangement, this being its gently percussive quality. Additionally, the difference in sound texture between the glockenspiel and the other instruments in the ensemble served to illuminate the delicate, transparent interplay of the various musical lines and rhythms.

Re-expression is a tool commonly used by composers to enhance musical interest and bring out new, original perspectives. The same principle can be used to creatively explore the everyday problems and issues presented to us. What new perspectives are gained when different words are used to describe the problem? What happens if we re-express the problem as a picture or a sculpture? What happens if we invite someone else to express the problem in their own way, using their own words and phrases?

Re-expressing an issue or problem through a different medium can highlight the key fault lines that lie within it and illuminate unseen perspectives and avenues for exploration that could prove useful in effectively addressing or solving it.

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