Re: Playing your own music... Just a though

Subject: Re: Playing your own music... Just a though
From: Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 06:32:27 EDT

Hello all.

I did not want to enter the discussion, but since I am now responsible
of the musical awakening of a portion of the next generation of
composer, I feel like I should at least read the thread. And there is
an idea that irritates me seriously.

But first, I would like to thank Louis for bringing this idea of
playing our music. And to all of those who expressed their point of
view on the matter. Otherwise, I would have feel guilty to do it, but
since it is the only music I can talk about the composer's intention
for sure, I think it will give the students glimps of the eternal
questions even a 'experienced' composer still ask himself. At least,
the one I ask myself, and the tentative answer I give with my music.

But where I feel irritated, is when I hear everybody talking about
analysis in compositional tutorials. And about the 'formative' studies
concept. Imitation is a dangerous game, where the fragile personality
inherent to anybody could be lost under the heavy burden of tradition.
For exemple, just listen to what is coming out of jazz school to
foresee the danger that is getting us: poor anachronistic imitation of
30 to 60 year old masterpieces that were at the time contemporary jazz.

I was very lucky to be thought by teachers who helped me, at the very
beginning of my 'composer's life', to try to find myself. Not by
analysing other people's masterpiece, but by asking me what I wanted to
do, helping me to put the project to execution and pointing me to
references pieces to listen to.

For sure, I was introduced to analysis, music history and all those, in
group lectures by other teachers, but they were considered as tools,
like studio techniques and psycho-acoustic. Nothing about composition
there. They were barely referred to in my individual compositional
tutorials. But what we did talked about, was my music, my project, my
intention and the result. And about literature, painting, politics,
food and whatever could help me put my artistic vision clearer.

Of course, that involved from my teachers a total generous dedication,
completely forgetting themselves and trying to find solutions to issues
that were not theirs, but today I thank them very much, and I will try
to do the same with my students. I will consider my pupils as full
composer with less experience... and I will surely grow from their

To quote someone eveybody should know here:

‘L’analyse est stérile par définition. S’en servir pour expliquer
revient à décomposer, à mutiler l’esprit d’une œuvre. La critique est
inutile. Une œuvre n’est jamais objectivement belle pour tous ; elle ne
l’est que subjectivement pour chacun.’
        VARÈSE, Edgard. 1983. Écrits. C. Bourgeois, Paris, p. 37

My 2 cents / 1 penny / 0,01€

Pierre Alexandre Tremblay
Lecturer in Computer Composition
University of Huddersfield
Queensgate Campus
England HD1 3DH

(t) +44 (0) 1484 473608 or 472007 (f) +44 (0) 1484 472656

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