Saturday, May 25, 2013

Manner and Methods

Nothing meaningful is effortless.  To devise an original, personal technique is a challenge in any field of endeavor.

Concepts, principles, and the ways and means of bringing these into being are not always apparent, and thus demand development and experimentation fraught with implications of failure that are to be expected.

There are any number of ways, for instance, of manipulating sound as an art medium, but the creation of desired effects- the expansion of atmospheric spaces, a degree of unpredictability similar to that of sounds in a real, natural environment, aesthetically pleasing arrangements of non-linear, yet cohesive, tones, notes, lines and clusters- is contingent upon factors that must be independently advanced and realized.

Such a perspective encompasses the work of a lifetime, demanding patience, persistence, and the long view.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Walk Through a Room

First see the obvious.

Notice how the attention is directed, and for what purpose.  Now perception and will are engaged.

Look where focus is not emphasized.  Take in the small details.  A piece of red thread, paperclip, cobweb; age of the furnishings, textures, stylistic features; regard how these offer a sense of human presence and unseen activity.

Why, then, are these elements present?

Following the same pattern, listen. Hear each sound and its identifying aspects.  Consider intention, reason, the tone and mood of the setting, and how these may be translated and brought into being as musical designs.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Occasionally I hear the river, and across it, the Westminster chimes of the village clock.

To the southeast, a steam-driven electrical plant drones, and sometimes roars like a waterfall.  Traffic on the surrounding highways is light, growing sparse in early evening.  This is a refuge for birds and wildlife of all kinds, a well-kept habitat.  Above, commercial and military air lanes hum with passing flights while thrush and woodpecker, chickadee, whippoorwill and hawk scatter calls and songs.

It is not these sounds, but the ways in which they rise and fall, emerge, expand, and dissipate in the environment that are of constant interest in structuring atmospheric sound compositions and designs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Provoke the Mind

Engage unaccustomed sights and sounds.

It is the common viewpoint, rather than the common lot, that stultifies.

While the impressionists and cubists and composers of tone poems observed with human senses, they engaged cultural, scientific, and philosophical ideas regarding light, sound, and relationships of a temporal and spatial nature according to personal and unique perspectives.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Color the air.

Set aside cultural associations and emotional connotations, experiencing sound as environmental art.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Limits and Expansion

Consciousness of sound, like its effects, depends upon individual perspective.

Cultural and environmental factors place demands upon point of view.

For listener and composer, this implies a choice between the given currency of genre music and styles or sounds that spark individual curiosity.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Experience and Imagine

See and hear with the mind's eye and the inner ear.

The sound of tea roses spilling over a garden wall.  Deserted street in evening mist.  Summer lightning, early starlight, scent of salt water and wood smoke.

Voice says, "Listen..."