You Should Not Be Writing Music | 05/10/04
Well, well, well. If it isn't the easy-going me needing a haircut. So I didn't make it to the gym today for logistical reasons. Those reasons were that I didn't have the needed parking pass and I was too lazy to walk. I also put it off to work on some stuff. I got my eBay stuff shipped out, tagged along for some mattress perusing and purchasing and finished my Africa parts. So 3/6 is not bad for me. I did a lot of work on other songs and made labels for most of the folders in my new organizational filing cabinet. My printer is now out of paper so I guess I'll have to mooch some from the university tomorrow (on my way back from the gym, of course). In going through so many pieces that needed editing I was surprised to find so many poorly written pieces. Hence, here is my rant tonight.
You should not be writing music.
By Mike C.
You should not be writing "classical" music if you are uninspired. Sure, everyone goes through periods of non-inspiration but honestly, you have to look at yourself and say, "Am I a creative person?" If the answer isn't a resounding yes, stick with performing or teaching or theory or whatever you're good at. You should not be writing music unless you have something to say. Honestly, Composer X, I looked at six of your pieces today and the were all the same. And, what makes it even worse is that, like the oft-maligned U2, you have nothing to say. I don't care that you're supposed to be writing for a beginning steel band. I don't care at all. There are a great number of composers that wrote great children's pieces and you, my friend, are not one of them. I know you love the excitement of labeling yourself a composer and having all your friends refer to you as Maestro or Beethoven, but do us all a favor and just stop it. Even when you do unorthodox things, you don't have a reason for it. There is no need to cross voices to make a line disjunctive with steel pans. Especially for a beginning piece, you want to make the parts linear, not all cho(m)ppy. Now, I'll be the first person to admit that I come up with really stupid titles for my pieces. I do. Constantly. I don't think I've ever had a good one. But honestly, if you're going to be trite, at least have a sense of humor about it. Go to NY and look up Jim B., the master of titles, and have him help you. The problem is that not only are you going to continue to do it, *I* have to clean up after you. You're like The Ab, running around peeing Nazca Lines into the South American soil that is my carpet because you deem yourself a "creator" and I, the lowly pauper, have to fix it. Well, create this: you suck. Do you not even know the ranges of the instruments for which you're writing? Make a little chart, or (Glord forbid) memorize the ranges. There's only six different voices (five in your "music") and it will take all of two minutes. Now, buddy o'mine, don't get me wrong. We all hate the time it takes to stick dynamics and markings into a piece. And fine, I understand it's my job to decipher if your handwriting is saying f as in forte or f as in fine because of course, you have no knowledge of how to write a D.S. al Fine and your haphazard placement of dynamics sporadically above and below the barlines can't help but make me wonder if you're having a hiccup seizure while you're "composing" this "piece" of "music" but come on(!)--write a TEMPO or a STYLE. I'll be happy to fill in the drum set parts for you on my time when I could be writing something good but at least tell me if you want a calypso or soca. Agh! If you had any skill whatsoever I could discern this from the bass line but obviously your knowledge of the theory of Caribbean music wouldn't dare allow you to write anything close to a normal line. Oh, nice try, poopy. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "I wanted to break away from the traditional styles, etc". Ok, genius, then why is there NOTHING for the style? You don't even have the knowledge to break away from ANYTHING except from the mediocre-composers-club because they're too good for you. Just like a freshman in Theory I, you think you can be cool and write parallel 5ths all over the place and say "Debussy did it, so booyah". No. No booyah. You don't even recognize you're doing things wrong! And believe me, I'd love to help you out but you're too good to even listen to my suggestions. Now listen up, dork-o. You're the reason that people only think of steel drums as background music at Hawaiian themed parties with Red Stripe and leis.
And then there's college professor X at X University (no, not Xavier) that thinks his music is so great. You suck too! Take a class on composing! At least the first guy wasn't raving about his music like you, you idiot. Your "original compositions" (that you're asking $70/each for) are nothing but glorified arrangements of good pieces! But do you even acknowledge this? Hell no. Why? Because you're a hack and you think no one will notice that you lifted entire lines from other pieces and stuck your stupid name at the top of the page. Well guess what, poop-scoop, I noticed. And just because you stuck the lead part into the cello part doesn't mean it's ok. At least write some new chords around it or some new counterpoint! And, by the way, when I googled you and found your picture at X University, you look like a total sleaze bag. Nice mustache you creep.
I would love to see some "real" composers (of the classical vein) try writing for the steel band. Maybe then some good music would turn up and we wouldn't have to play regurgitated versions of the same three songs. I'll even do the editing.