“I don’t know how you could possibly write music!”
It’s a refrain I hear often, even from talented musicians. And I can understand why they say that.
Writing music might seem like organizing thousands of isolated pitches and rhythms. For example, my latest arrangement included 2320 notes, 1273 rhythms, and 281 rests.
That’s daunting. But there is another way, and Pachebel’s Canon and its friends reveal the centuries-old secret.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Why doesn’t it get boring?”
Some have taken an a mathematical approach to this question. Although these answers demonstrate a raw numerical reason, they offer little musical insight.
The problem is that their premise — “only 12 notes” — is a lie.
Why do altos and tenors often get saddled with parts like this?
Don’t composers know that singing the same two notes over and over again is boring?
To understand what composers are possibly thinking, let’s dive into some music theory . . .