Author Topic: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?  (Read 2198 times)

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Ron

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For me, my favorite time of year is the autumn. At its heart is a contradiction. It is both a time of new beginnings and a time of endings. Labour Day (first Monday of September) for most of my life has marked the beginning of a new school year--whether as a student, a teacher, or a parent. I loved the feeling that new ideas, new knowledge, new insights were waiting, like fruit to be plucked.

On the other hand, it is when I start ensuring that I am ready for the coming winter. As a homeowner it starts with simple things, like putting the garden hoses away and turning off the water to the outside faucets. Clearing eavestroughs where they can be reached; checking the siding, hoping a gale-force winter wind is not going to rip it off; ensuring the weather-stripping around doors and windows is in good shape. When we heated with wood, it was stacking enough firewood for the winter. Check out the snowblower to make sure it is in working order--as I don't want to find out it needs repairs when the snow is up to my waist. Oh, and I put away the Canadian flag that hangs over our B&B sign (and now "for sale" sign). In another month or 6 weeks we'll take the car  in to have the summer wheels replaced with its winter wheels.


I think my music speaks about autumn a lot. There is an undercurrent of anxiety, yet a hopeful element; some have pointed out the sadness that lurks in my works. It has been said that winter defines Canadians--it certainly shapes our attitudes towards life, I believe. Preparation, anxiety, hunkering down, defiance. I think that it all there.


Your thoughts?
Ron
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gogreen

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 06:05:55 AM »
Ron, your describing your winter preparations brought back a lot of memories! We did much of the same things in October, and topped it all off by firing up the snowblower around November 1. Now, though, living in southwest Florida we have two seasons--wet and dry. It's summer year-round here, with an occasional cooler day from November into April.

My composing was never affected by the seasons, except when I first started composing in 7th grade. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I'd compose band marches every spring. That lasted for several years. I have written music about seasonal activities, though.

Ron

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 06:26:37 AM »
Yes, I can understand wanting to write marches in the spring--surging forward and all that.

Another mark of the advancing winter I forgot to mention: about 1/2 of our local duplicate bridge club members disappear to Florida. "Not to worry," I tell them. "We'll stay behind to fend off the polar bears!"  Or, as Michel once pointed out and I never forgot: French Canadian wine: <<Je veux aller en Floride!>>
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 08:40:47 AM »
I suffer from S.A.D. very intensely (season affective disorder), which I have to treat with morning and evening sessions with a special light.

Strangely, autumn is also generally my most productive time of the year.

I think it's unrelated to the S.A.D. however. Probably more to do with the simple fact that for the last 10 years now I am alone in the house from late August until late December (my spouse works in a different city during that time period).

On a side note: this past year or so has been an oddly productive time, almost non-stop, with the quintet, the 3rd and 4th symphonies, and the violin concerto making appearances.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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saltamontes

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2016, 11:04:09 AM »
The only true seasonal change here in the Panamanian Highlands occurs when the dry season begins in January and will continue until the rainy season returns in May.  Being a retired botanist, I much prefer the rainy season, however the dry season is brightly sunny and pleasant except for the often quite strong winds.  So, it is mostly perpetual fall (or spring) throughout the year.  That being said, I am influenced to an extent by the majority of my lifetime being spent in temperate regions.  Mostly, the music I play and compose is sober and pensive regardless of seasonal changes.  This morning at sunrise, I stood admiring the beauty of our garden….. the nascent morning sunlight dancing off the dew drops on the vibrant green leaves of our papaya and parsley plants.  The Swiss chard leaves turgid with moisture reaching toward the sunlight as if in prayer.  At that moment, I was once again standing in the fields of my farm in central Oklahoma on a cool autumn morning…...  It was a moment of reflection and a sense of loss.   I thought of the happiness and hardships associated with farm life, the animals, wonderful fresh produce, the glassy surface of our pond reflecting rose-colored morning clouds, our farm cat rubbing against my legs while I would work, the loved ones who are no longer with me……  I now live in a paradise but also live in memories of the past.   
Hold gently the hearts of those you love. For once they are gone, you will shed a thousand tears for each one you caused and the memory of each callous moment will be your companion.   Saltamontes

ben

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2016, 05:01:25 PM »
Interesting question. Using the term "composing" for what I do is an overstatement (particularly before the last year), but looking back at my Finale folder of saved documents, there does seem to be a correlation between the seasons and the pieces I've worked on. I got Finale Notepad as a Christmas gift when I was in middle school because my dad thought I'd like it (and I did), and that winter, I "wrote" several "pieces" about snow days. Now, much of what I do coincides with the church calendar as far as holidays, so the seasonal distinction is more pragmatic.

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2016, 06:55:20 AM »
I'm also in the SAD camp, though I still love autumn and early winter the most. Here in Virginia, summer is no fun at all -- hot, muggy, and about 8 months long. I'm also probably more productive during my SAD months too, so who knows what's going on?

Here's hoping I get some more inspiration this season. So far, this year has been a complete bust for me.

sandalwood

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2016, 08:17:03 AM »
Fingers crossed here for a new set of Bagatelles or Vesuvius! They are welcome in any season :)

flint

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2016, 05:42:54 PM »
Count me in on the SAD bandwagon; it's ironic that winter is my favorite season (although to be truthful, I've always lived in places without seasons).

If I'm not working on an existing piece, I tend to start frivolous or manic works in the winter when I'm dealing with SAD. Most of them don't get finished since I usually get frustrated with them by spring.
"Music is like wine; the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

MikeL

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2016, 12:51:55 AM »
We have mild winters and hot summers.

Can't say it affects my composing too much but I did enter two contests recently.

One on the subject of winter in the middle of a very hot summer in this hemisphere and then one on heat in the middle of rain and wild storms that blacked out the entire state.

So it goes.......
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tbmartin

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2016, 06:40:01 AM »
No real difference for me. It more depends on how much time I have. Although, I do tend to think about working with Christmas music around mid-November, thereby guaranteeing that it won't be done until February!
Terence Martin

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RJB54

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Re: October, 2016: How does the season of the year affect your music?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2016, 06:56:01 AM »
Like Terrance, the time of year doesn't affect my writing all that much but having time to do so is always a problem.
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