Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Experiential music, architectural music

Experiential music, architectural music

Throughout a lifetime of listening to Classical music and making my own music in a broad variety of genres, I've come to the conclusion that there are two primary approaches to how the performer relates to the music.

One is experiential: the musician takes the music as it comes to him or her and purposely cultivates an active experience of response to it, living in the present and developing a unique personal event associated with the amazing original art coming out from the page.

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The overall arch of a musical piece

The overall arch of a musical piece

 If you’re a musician, do you keep in mind the whole length of the piece you’re playing?  At the beginning, do you see ahead to the end and work with every phrase as a part of the journey toward that ending?

When I listen to a symphony or a piano concerto, my subconscious mind seeks to follow along on that trip, and the performers who speak to me the most are the ones who seem to be tapping into that overall arch. 

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Top picks for symphonies --- with Youtube links!

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century a new phenomenon arose in serious music: the ‘sonata form,’ in which a melodic theme was introduced, then developed, then recapitulated, then brought to a special conclusion, all done over a significant amount of time.  This differed from earlier ‘folk tune’ or ‘fugal’ approaches to musical structure. 

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EXCELSIOR! Ideas concerning the concept of “Up” in music arranging

EXCELSIOR!  Ideas concerning the concept of “Up” in music arranging

“Excelsior” is a Latin word meaning “ever upward.” Aspiration is an important part of every aspect of our lives!  We need a sense of hope for better things, more noble things, more joy and adventure and ultimate fulfillment.  Certainly our music arranging can reflect this.  I have compiled ideas here that I employ to give a sense of “excelsior” in my arranging and playing music, and I often experience a new elation as I perform, no matter what the form of the music is.  Some of this concept is already built into the source melody or chords --- perhaps that’s why I choose to use them in the first place --- but I can consciously incorporate many other techniques as well to flesh out the progressive joy or drama.  I do hope that you too can find your own elation through using some of these!

(A couple of references in the text are for players of hammered dulcimer --- but all of these thoughts can be used by any musicians.)

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