Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Reusing music to create multiple compositions.

   I have written over 650 pieces of music. People ask me if I repeat myself. The answer is yes and no. No I never write the same type of piece more than once, the same idea, same essence etc. Each piece expresses a new thought. I try to find a unique sound a brand new idea with each new composition, yet retaining my language and musical voice. But yes, I do sometimes take a piece of music I already wrote and rearrange it, re orchestrate it, reinvent it into a new (or part of a new) composition. Sometimes, if its a multi movement piece, I think of a shorter piece that can be a movement in this larger work, or sometimes, within a longer piece, I will put in melodies or even full compostions from older music. It has to fit, it has to excite me to do it. It is never about time (making a piece longer) or about running out of ideas (I have a more of those then commissions usually) its always about "how would this sound if it were...".
   The other day I was at concert of a piece of mine for piano called 'Lacerations II', and yes it has a 'II' next to it because it was originally a guitar piece, but the question "how would this sound on a piano" came to me and it became another piece.  The pianists took liberties and made the piece very romantic, which I though was great, since originally it had a Brazilian rhythm feel to it (at least in my mind - thats what I was inspired by), I thought this is great since it really is another piece, the way she plays it and the sound of the piano etc. But the music is exactly the same. I also used this music in another composition called 'Lacerations & Lesions' a chamber piece for flute, violin, electric piano, electric bass and Repinique (a Brazilian percussion instrument). All there use the exact same music but I think are very different and unique compositions.

To demonstrate, here are links to each of the pieces and to the first pages of the scores.

'Laceration'  for solo guitar
from the suite 'Scars, Wounds, and Lacerations + Snow to Numb the Effect'

Here is the 1st page of the score:

Here is 'Laceration II' for solo piano 
as performed the other day by Jasna Popovic notice how different the piece sounds 

Here is the 1st page of the score:

And here is 'Lacerations & Lesions' for chamber ensemble 

Here is the 1st page of the score:

To me all three of these versions of this music are unique and have their own character. even thought the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic content is the same. I would like to, in future blogs, explore more of my music that has a life beyond its original inception and discuss and demonstrate how I approach composition and re composition.

- G 

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