Another day goes by. It is not ordinary because every day has its own unique personality. Each day is special. Today, I remember a birthday of a dear friend of mine. Well, there are a few others, but one in specific because he died in January of this year. It still is a bit unbelievable to think that he is not around anymore, that I don’t get event invites to a rock show from him, and that I don’t get to see any new projects that he was working on.
My friend Tim loved playing music and he enjoyed composing. I remember walking in the music lounge, several times, at Campbell University during my freshman year of college when he was working on some music piece or showing it to another classmate and explaining the specifics of the composition. He had a deep love for music.
Music is a powerful tool that connects human beings. It makes us feel emotions that we seek in order to feel understood.
I am always intrigued about why a person or a group of people write lyrics or compose a musical piece. That’s why I always enjoy hearing from my composer friends about what they are composing (I don’t know many but you know, like 3 or 4, not to sound like I am part of an upper status, God no). Why do they compose? What made them think of a melody? Or simply are they exploring music theory and figuring out what rules to break and not break? If you learned music theory and compose, then you know that you learn the rules to [sometimes] break the rules. At least that’s what I was told.
I recently saw a friend’s recital and it reminded me of how much music is so inspiring and just so expressive about a person, a feeling, a place, an object, anything.
I was reminded of this quote by my favorite composer, Sergei Rachmaninov, who is beyond an amazing composer. He said this thing I found in a book and it has resonated with me.
“Composing is as essential a part of my being as breathing or eating; it is one of the necessary functions of living. My constant desire to compose music is actually the urge within me to give tonal expression to my feelings, just as I speak to give utterance to my thoughts. That, I believe, is the function that music should serve in the life of every composer; any other function it may fill is purely incidental. I have no sympathy with any composer who produces works according to preconceived theories or with the poseur who writes in a certain style because it is the fashion to do so. Great music has never been produced in that way – and I dare say it never will. Music should, in the final analysis, be the expression of a composer’s complex personality. It should not be arrived at mentally, tailor-made to fit certain specifications – a tendency, I regret to say, all too prevalent during the past twenty years or so. A composer’s music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion, the books which have influenced him, the pictures he loves. It should be the product of the sum total of a composer’s experiences. Study the masterpieces of every great composer and you will find every aspect of the composer’s personality and background in his music. Time may change the technique of music but it can never alter its mission. -Sergei Rachmaninoff