Lolita, our Composer of Music for Art, and her Spaniel muse, Deuce, were thinking this morning about how different people approach new projects. Deuce likes to look at the big picture first. What subject does the artist plan to portray? What is the underlying narrative? What moral, or emotion will be conveyed? Despite Deuce’s own focus on particular trees and bushes, when it comes to getting started on projects, he advocates conceiving the forest, then going to work on the trees.
Lolita acknowledges the wisdom in Deuce’s approach – but she modifies it somewhat with respect to the very initial impulse. Our Composer likes to mess at the keyboard, fall upon a melody, a rhythm, a sound, an effect. She channels basic creative energy as much as she can. As she works at this creative kernel, she begins to ask the bigger questions: “How can I expand on this melody? What image or narrative does this effect evoke? Given the image or narrative, what other sounds, instruments, harmonic choices further support this image, this narrative?
While Lolita and Deuce vary slightly in their initial step to conceiving new work, they are in absolute agreement on the importance of flexibility. As work progresses, we hit up against technical limitations, knowledge limitations. We take the challenge and do some new learning, but we also recognize that often the project needs to be modified to accommodate our current technical skill level. So we begin to make the compromises necessary to move a project along – to allow a project to reach fruition.
This process of compromise ultimately changes the vision and the narrative somewhat. Perhaps you started with the notion of depicting a great galactic battle. Somewhere along the way you arrived at describing the mystery of outer space. A more humble result than originally conceived, nevertheless a product that represents your best work – technically competent, effectively conveying feeling and drama.
And you have created another building block, another foundation stone which you will build upon the next time.