Author Topic: March, 2020: How have you changed over the years as a composer or have you?  (Read 599 times)

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Do you think your compositions can be subsumed under distinct periods with marked stylistic/idiomatic or other differences? How? Or can you name other markers that describe any significant turn in your outlook to composing music?


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For the last 20 years my “style” (for lack of a better word, and I not going define it in anyway) along with my thought processes towards composition, music, and sound  has evolved and changed I do see any marked boundaries  or distinct periods, it all sort blends together. 

However there is a marked boundary between my music  36 years ago and 20 years ago: a 16 year silence.   Roughly 36 years ago I took a 16 year sojourn away from music.  And in fact in the middle of that period for about three years I did not even listen to music I turned off the radio in the car and at home I turned off the turn table.  When I took up the pen again 20 years ago it was like all of the noise and junk that was in my head had been cleaned out; allow to drain out.  Now I could come at music with a fresh and rested set of ears, all the old preconceptions and stale ideas had been wiped away and I could approach writing music afresh.



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Before going to music college I tended to only write songs, piano pieces and guitar solos. Voice, piano and acoustic guitar are my three instruments. I wrote homophonic songs, although quite modal in nature, not adhering particularly to conventional theory. For example I've always loved consecutive 4ths and 5ths, that were very much frowned on at school. My greatest interest was melody.
Once I got to college my use of instruments increased.... writing for full orchestra and ensembles... but kept with homophonic writing. This developed though as I started to realise I could combine two strong melodies with or without harmonic support... with just implied harmonies.... so my workings became more horizontal than vertical. As I started to push this further my tutor felt that I ought to push in to serialism.... which I did ....but this became a dead end for me ....although probably encouraged me to push a few more harmonic boundaries. My tutors style was along the lines of Messiaen ..... which does interest me.... but just doesn't feel right for me.
So I've returned to melody and have written mainly choral works since, but trying to use the horizontal line. For example the piano part doesn't particularly accompany the voices.... it adds another musical line and identity which works with and amongst the voices.
As for the harmony, I still try to bend 'the rules'.... In fact love to.... And tend to use 'pivot points' as opposed to modulations, or build up harmonies from single notes in a minimalistic way.
In answer to the question... Yes I do see distinct influences on my style.... but in essence the main part of my love of composing has always been melody... and will continue to be melody. I am looking forward now to further developing that and trying to develop a style that I feel is really 'me'.