Sub Conscience and Composing

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DocFox, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    A rule of thumb for a long time was, if you cannot play it, do not write it. Now, that rule may be over 300+ years old -- back when Maestros were also the best players around on nearly any instrument. Then about 200-250 years ago, composers would ask great players if they could play a strain they were working on.

    Today, computer programs used to compose will also tell you if the strain is too low or too high. But these limits are quite conservative. One of the best examples is that today's computer programs often "recommend" that 1st Trombones cannot play above "G" (the G on the top of the Treble Clef staff). If that was true, Bolero was about a 5th to a 7th too high.

    I was working on a piece last night and I have developed a small "wheeze" from my spring allergies. It makes a small sound when I breathe out. I notice that the counter-melody rhythm I had in my head I breathed out during the computer playback.

    So what does this say? If you cannot wheeze the rhythm, it should not be put to paper :confused: :dunno It does say one thing, it is amazing what your sub conscience can and will do rhythms
  2. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I think we can thank Berlioz for breaking the rules about what you could and couldn't write for given instruments. The thing is that, these days, it is much easier to find out what an instrument is capable of by doing research on the internet. Think also about the reaction to Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto - it was described as unplayable - look how frequently it is played nowadays. Let your subconscious mind lead you where it will. Ask the people who are going to play your music whether they can do the techniques you require and let it flow! :-D
  3. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    A good use for the internet ... But Maestros 250+ years ago carried that info in their heads. Even today, the greats like the late Eric Ball wrote pieces that could be played by only by David Daws. An easier version was written for other players. Other players, after some work, could play what Ball originally wrote.

    I saw the results of Bone Players who auditioned for a symphony job that showed that over 75% of the time they were asked to play the trombone solo from Bolero. In addition, they often were asked to play a piece in "E major", "C# minor) or a similar key. In the US, any relatively large town or city will have an orchestra. In our area (a 20 minute drive in each direction) Bolero was used to audition for Lead Trombone.

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