Variation in music is like having a good set of kitchen knives.
- If you use them properly, cooking becomes easy and fun . . .
- If you use them carelessly, somebody loses a finger . . .
Likewise, in composing music, variation is NOT inherently valuable.
How you use it makes the difference between
- Giving your audience goosebumps . . .
- Or making them fidget, cough, and check their watch . . .
Less deadly to be sure, but still deeply disappointing.
To use another cooking metaphor, wantonly adding variation to your music is like using too much salt — it makes your audience want to spit it out.
In short, musical variation is essential, but it is NOT inherently valuable.
(Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/stijnnieuwendijk/)
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