I went to see Eighth Blackbird perform today. They're a local-ish quirky semi-experimental sextet, so I expect stuff out of the ordinary from them. I was not expecting...a Schoenberg operetta/song cycle. Had they published the program prior, I might not have gone. It ended just as I had had about enough and was about to leave. I find Schoenberg annoying in the same way I found Joyce annoying when I tried to read him, the same way I found Bauhaus design to be annoying when I learned about it: it is Art[tm], seemingly meant not to inspire any emotion or communicate any message to the listener, but, from my after-the-moment viewpoint, aimed at making a larger statement about music, one which I, with my lifetime growing up in a time of excessive postmodernism, no longer find relevant. It's a dogged emotional monotony to sit through, because when you abandon tonality for the noise of something like Pierrot Lunaire, it's bloody depressing music--to see what I mean, try closing your eyes and banging keys on a piano at random. Not only is it unpleasant, it's anti-cheerful.
I don't like abstract art, either, so it's possible my mind just isn't the sort able to fill in the blanks with anything meaningful. Regardless, an unhappy experience.
On the other hand, I made the most awesome pepper cream pan sauce for my steak tonight, patterned on this Good Eats recipe (I bothered to measure the beef stock and cream but estimated everything else, and cooked the steak as detailed in episode 1). I'm not sure I want to bother eating steak without the cream sauce now. I mean, damn.
The other thing is I dug out my staff paper and started playing with my keyboard and making serious notes for the music I want to make. I've had an album accumulating in my head in a way I think is peculiar to me: my thought processes are generally very spatial, with these kind of thought-blobs, object hanging in space representing concepts and ideas, with connections to other blobs. That's part of how I pick up words from other languages (and how other languages are structured) pretty easily: the idea of Milk and the English word "milk" are separated for me, so way back when, it was no big deal to take the Spanish leche and German milch and associate those with the idea of Milk. I say "milk", they say leche. No big deal.
Music induces spatial reactions for me as well, and the different parts in a piece of music become dancing shapes and patterns in my mind's eye. (Perhaps this is why Schoenberg, with no such contuity, irritates me.) Other things can induce music-like feelings in my mind's eye, too, and over the past couple years I've been finding that happening with certain words or phrases. I'll be letting my thoughts ramble along, or I'll hear something on the radio, and there will be a sequence of words that seems to have a song attached to it for me, a song that doesn't exist yet. I started writing down the phrases, and the songs have stuck around, but now it's time to start writing down the songs. Eventually I'll have a new Mac laptop to assemble it all with; it will be distinctly mine, but I think it will fall more or less in the realm we refer to as "downtempo". This music is my goal for this year, just like blacksmithing was it for last year: I want to make some finished music that I enjoy listening to.
Many folks I know are much more into clicky electronic stuff than I am...I mentioned I had dug out my staff paper:
Necanthrope asks, "how does one represent 'bleep' on staff paper?"and quickly got labeled as something of a traditionalist. That's okay. It'll be fun.