With July 4th around the corner, and a Veteran's Day piece to start writing, my first post will be about how I plan to go about writing an "American" piece of music.
So here's the plan, compositionally speaking. I've found that when trying to create a certain "sound," listening is the best place to start. The more I get certain harmonies and melodic phrases in my head, the easier it is to create music in the same vein. So, what music should I listen to that's quintessentially American. Well, let's start with Copland. More specifically, Lincoln Portrait. For those people who know this piece, it is truly a journey. Aside from imitating the harmonies and melodies created, I really do like the range of colors and emotions he creates. At times, triumphant. At times, playful. All of it powerful.
Next, I plan to take a detour to Bernstein. Though it will be a short detour, Bernstein has created so many great works of music, I certainly want his melodies spinning through my head. After listening to some Bernstein, I plan to end up on John Williams. I will specifically be listening to the patriotic films he scored, as well as his music for the Olympics. I'll probably watch Saving Private Ryan which will help with my own reverence factor. I am composing a piece to salute veterans and what a sobering reminder of how many Americans gave their lives for freedom.
So here's to listening for a few hours, then to sit at a piano for a while and start writing. Wish me luck!
The musings of a composer that also band directs!! ... or maybe it's the other way around..