The art of sound in time

Music in time

  • Composing during your lifetime: Working from your first piece onwards towards a repertoire build from a few golden bricks (Eric Withacre) works best for composing over a lifetime. It also makes your work recognisable for others, gives it a unique sound. (Thomas Trachsel, Stephen Melillo) I tested if people would recognize my music by having played different pieces based upon the same musical idea and that worked just fine.
  • There is the timespan you use to compose a piece: If that is a longer period, things happen and you might change yourself so your music changes over time. If you work long on one piece, you have to be aware that you stick to the initial idea. A workflow that emphasizes quantity avoids this problem. Also you learn when a piece is ready or not and why.
  • There is the timespan of the whole evening, with arriving, moving around the venue, eating during the break, dancing afterwards etc.
  • There is the fysiological timespan of the evening: how long can a body sit still or play an instrument? When does it want to move, eat, go to the toilet? When do people feel the urge to move, sit, be still, concentrate, laugh etc.
  • There is the timespan of the concert program (how long are the pieces, where is the break, how are the emotions experienced timed)
  • The timespan of the piece: The story in time you want to tell with energy curve and the timelapses build in by a (fibonaci)structured numberseries in the composition. Originaly the timespan of a piece was defined by the golden rule, which you must see as a nice tool that uses the numbercombination 0,66 – 0,33
  • The time of the piece does not relate to the chronological order you wrote. Composition improves when you start composing from the climax backwards to the beginning. You can develop chuncks and place them in your timeline. It’s good to lay out the choir changes in time on the map before writing the composition.
  • There is the musical representation of time in custom forms: Symphony, Sonata etc. You have to rethink these forms into their historical backgrounds to understand them well. The symphony is designed for a whole evening spend, with dancing and a big finally to send people home impressed by the evening. Somehow we ended up sitting a lot, not moving to the music. I think this is wrong, I think that the menuet is needed still because people want te relax and move around at that point in time. This form used to be prescribed by royalty for formality reasons, but I think that people still have this urge to talk and move a little at this time in the piece. Knowledge of music, mind and the body will provide insights into the length of pieces people can sit through based upon sicentific facts. This wil determine the length of your pieces in seconds that people can listen to concentrated. Great composers had a natural instinct and looked for this type of timing.

By Anneloes Wolters


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