Zoom in – Zoom out

We got stuck in a Zoom-in-meeting about details. Now, let’s Zoom-out of this meeting and write some Beautiful music. Let me explain:

Inventive composers are always educating themselves. So it’s important to think about the best way to study your whole life, all the time.

My personal experiences come from a self-educating perspective, an autodidact point of view. I used my own Zoom in-out way of working, formulating learning goals for myself and work with my teachers on those and found this worked very well for me.

I think that the education of a composer, who is burdened with holding the past, present and the future of music in his/her hands, should be in a Zoom in – Zoom out way and scheduled around individual questions, rather then a continuous curriculum that follows history or teaches the system from easy to difficult exercises.

I think a traditional chronological educational system fails creativity, where a Zoom in Zoom out strategy could support it.

This is what I mean by Zoom in – Zoom out. For me, this system (in combination with thinking as a scientist) gives the best results:

  • Zoom in: an articulation of a note, a chord, an instrument.
  • Zoom out: an instrument, harmonics, a phrase.
  • Zoom out: form, the composition,
  • Zoom out: The oeuvre
  • Zoom out: the place of that oeuvre in the musical history.
  • Zoom out: the place of your musical soul in the musical universe. Thoughts on Inspiration.
  • Zoom in: a New Beginning (I call those Beads): a new Idea in your oeuvre.
  • Zoom in: This piece needs a new warmth, a new sound you never wrote before: Harp.
  • Zoom in: Contact a harp-teacher.
  • Zoom in: Does that chord work for harp?
  • Zoom in: What sounds when this articulation of that chord is played by your teacher?
  • Repeat the process:
  • Zoom out all the way to: How does this sound work in the SPACE idea of this passage, in the FORM you designed for this
  • etc.

Lack of zoom in, zoom out leads to sticking to details- renewal or overthinking big philosophical questions, when actually the form should be reVisioned.

The hyper-focus of modern music on atonal notes, or sound-design are both signs of a system that got stuck into ‘zoom in’-mode. The sounds and the harmonics are new, but in the light of what ‘Zoom out’ are we going to See them?

People lost track of the greater whole, they forgot to zoom in and out. I think that the focus on renewal by form, hasn’t been seen, because everybody was busy zooming in on atonal notes and sound-design-details.

It’s now time to zoom out again and ask yourself what you see. What is the bigger picture? What is the place of your music in the musical universe? And after working on details, you zoom out and find out how you can compose Beauty? With or without these new harmonics and sounds?

We got stuck in a Zoom-meeting about details. Now, let’s go out and Zoom-out of this meeting and See the Horizon where you can set your little dot of a note.

By Anneloes Wolters


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