Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Today it was a harp plucking E-flat unison with a soft sustained flute as a viola slides down its fourth string in an eerie decrescendo over three slow beats. On beat four, a bass drum quietly bathes the room in its wide rumble. And I hear something metallic there as well, I don't know what.

While my time is currently scheduled in such a way that I do not have lengthy swaths to allow my creativity to be completely unleashed, I cannot keep ideas from drawing my interest. In the midst of an email or organizing my desk or driving I get snippets of sounds that persist in my head. The first thought is usually how much I like the sound, and the second thought is usually "Where have I heard that before?" Once in a while, I'll be able to place it in a film score or some classical piece I enjoyed at some point in the past, but I am often convinced that it is original. Mostly at least.

With just a hint of inspiration, I am able to see a wealth of possibilities. From one sound or musical idea, any number of paths can emerge. Where does it want to go? How does it want to evolve? And when will I take the time to bring it to life? That last one is a bit frustrating, but I can accept that I don't know the future.

The bottom line is that I write down what I can of the sound. It may be a particular melody, a timbre, a contour, a rhythm. I usually have staff paper close at hand, but sometimes it winds up on a napkin or an envelope. They will wait for me, and I will continue in my journey with a purposeful intention to find ways to allow my creativity to have my full and undivided attention. At least long enough to develop some of these compelling sounds into something complete, whatever that looks like.

As long as the sounds keep coming, I'll keep writing them down and watching for the chance. And each little inspiration gives me another reason to keep stepping forward.

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