Monday, 4 June 2018

Repeat, develop and combine

'One of the things you start to realize is that anything starts to sound more musical when you hear it again, he said.'

Gary Marcus (A quotation from the New York Times article 'When the Melody Takes a Detour, the Science Begins' by Pam Belluck.)

The above quotation resonates with me.

Often, as I improvise, my hands can seem to have minds of their own: forming unexpected gestures and falling upon unexpected notes.
Sometimes, these notes sound all at once: forming sudden dissonances. Sometimes, they run towards or away from each other: forming sinuous snippets of melody accompanied by gradually building dissonances. Sometimes, single notes are repeated: creating more or less regular rhythms (a type of musical arrhythmia).

I have the habit of repeating all these sounds; I linger with them for a while and hear more and more of the music latent within the apparently messy notes. Eventually, I hear enough  within these notes (and my hands become familiar enough with their feel) for me to begin developing their potential: I play them quick; I play them slow; I change them: playing them at higher or lower pitches.

I also gather all my unexpected discoveries and order and combine them in different ways.

I follow where my hands lead and create a new piece of music.

This is possible because I allow myself to repeat the unfamiliar and the initially unexpected or unattractive.

And doing this is essential to not only musical improvisation but also creative innovation.

When you need to be innovative embrace the unfamiliar and unexpected, the quirky and eccentric, and even the initially unattractive. 

Be prepared to explore them repeatedly. Then, gradually, familiarity will not breed contempt but uncover potential. As you get 'used to the ideas' you will begin to explore, develop and combine them.

Eventually, what may have seemed unattractive propositions to avoid will become attractive options to pursue.

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