Some Things I’ve Read Recently . . .

. . . and why I’ve liked them:

  • “Sharpen Your Quills!” by Rob Deemer, NewMusicBox. After an introductory blurb about how composers use notation software in their composition process, you then get easily more than a dozen responses on who uses what software and how. A good number of composers have had strong opinions on what tools you should/should not use (piano, notation software, your instrument, etc.), but to my mind, prohibitions on certain tools are more a pedagogical exercise than a practical concern. Thus, I loved reading about the process of all these composers and how it intersected their use of notation programs. The variety of their experiences affirmed the idea that different creators will use tools their own way—that there’s no one right way for the act of composing just as there is no one right way for the style of composition. (By the way, the composers whose process sounded most similar to my own were Kevin Puts and David Little.)
  • “Crossing the Atlantic: A Primer on Euro-American Musical Relations” by Evan Johnson, NewMusicBox. I’m across the Atlantic right now at an international music festival, and it’s interesting to note the differences among my colleagues, too, regardless of their original nationality. One thing this festival has shown me, underscored by Johnson’s article, is that I’m really an American in my sensibilities. (As a side note, it’s been refreshing attending daily colloquiums led by Chris Theofanidis and seeing his understanding of and warmth towards a wide variety of music. In a discipline that has had a recent history of turf battles and parsimoniousness, his generosity is something I aspire to.)
  • Neil’s Carillonairum. Okay, so this isn’t so much an article, but did you know Neil Thornock has an entire page of carillon (bell tower) music, his and others? (Do you even know who Neil Thornock is? If not, you should. I love a lot of his music.) It’s a cool sound and really different.
The Centennial Carillon tower at BYU. (Yes, it always looks that pretty.)
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2 thoughts on “Some Things I’ve Read Recently . . .

  1. BUSNINJA - 30 July 2012

    I’m trying to think how my compositional process would sound in that first article:
    I compose on pencil and paper during other people’s recitals. Half my interactions with the computer are cursing softly at it because it won’t recreate my beautiful handwritten score. I write all my expression markings in Spanish. I used to draw my treble clefs backwards. If I had to learn a new notation program, I would complain about it until people started avoiding me.

    1. Joseph Sowa - 31 July 2012

      Love it!

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