Tag Archives: composition

Movement two is released. Take a listen…

The second movement of my string quartet has been mixed and edited and the program notes have been written up. http://musicvstheater.com/wordpress/works/string-quartet-no-1/tango-a-la-peachy/ And if you haven’t yet listened to the first movement, check it out here: http://musicvstheater.com/wordpress/works/string-quartet-no-1/on-the-rails/ The third movement is mostly finished and will be released very soon.

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P. Diddy. Songwriter? Or Composer?

You heard me. P. Diddy.  Songwriter? Or Composer? Perhaps I should back up… After yesterday’s  composition lesson with David Conte, he mentioned an upcoming radio interview with NY Times blogger and critic about town Chloe Veltman.  (The interview will air next Friday, on her VoiceBox show on KALW). He thought that one of the topics wouldContinue Reading

2 Responses to P. Diddy. Songwriter? Or Composer?

  1. > there are no convincing reinterpretations or adaptations of Schubert songs or, arguably, classical pieces in general

    There are countless examples of cover versions of lower-case-c classical music: let’s start with Brahms’ “Variations On A Theme By Haydn” (although it has been suggested that the theme didn’t, in fact, originate with Haydn), Gounod’s adaptation of Bach’s Prelude in C, and any number of orchestrations and reductions. Then we move on to “A Lover’s Concerto” by The Toys, an adaptation of the minuet in G from the Anna Magdalena Bach book (sidebar: I once heard a ghastly Muzak version of this song — NOT its forebear, which is in 3/4 — in a Safeway); “Joy”, Apollo 100s revved-up version of Cantata 147; the Roto-Rooter Good-Time Christmas Band’s hilarious brass version of Sacre du Printemps; “Past, Present and Future” by the Shangri-Las; … There’s no end to it. Classical pieces can be reduced to melody and chord changes along with all but the most idiosyncratic pop tunes; there’s even a Classical Fake Book or two on the market.

    And the most sublime pop music is no less reliant on specific arrangements than classical music is; comparing a cover version of, say, The Beatles’ “Yesterday” (of which there are many) with the original shows the differences. I would add that production technique is a third element in modern music of all genres; thus a cover of “Tomorrow Never Knows” or “Revolution No. 9” (or “Powasqaatsi” or a Nancarrow study) couldn’t possibly match the original exactly.

    Such distinctions as “popular/classical” or “composition/songwriting” are convenient shorthands for marketers and critics, but evaporate under the mildest of scrutiny.

  2. Brian Rosen says:

    JR Brody! An honor to see the likes of you on my humble blog. Wondering how you came upon it…

    You make a very good counter argument. While there is a distinction between music that can survive a distillation into “simply” changes and melody and music that needs to remain intact to retain its identity, there are examples of both in classical as well as pop music. The distinction between the two is, of course, a false one, but there still seems to a nugget of useful idea in the notion that some music is more wed to any particular realization than others.

    To the point of the original post, I would still say that the person responsible for “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Revolution No. 9” created them through a composition process as opposed to a songwriting process. But further thought might make me abandon the semantic construct and just get back to writing more music…

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First movement now available for download

I’m happy to announce that the first movement of my string quartet is now available for free download. I’ve also written up extensive notes for that movement if you’d like to know more about the composition and where it came from. (Of course you’d like to know more. Why else would you be reading thisContinue Reading

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Eight days a weekend…

Well this was a big weekend.  I presented a thirty minute excerpt of Failing That at StageWerx, including twenty minutes of brand new material.  If that was all that was going on this weekend, that would have been plenty.  Unfortunately, it was one of those weekends where just about every aspect of my life hadContinue ReadingContinue Reading

2 Responses to Eight days a weekend…

  1. Sister says:

    Phew. For a moment there I was worried that you actually might have bombed. Glad to hear that you were able to pull-through in your usual way.

  2. Sean Gugler says:

    I’m impressed you then have time to write it up so eloquently. Each paragraph would have taken me a half hour. Thank you again for sharing, I’m an eager audience.

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Precious Toothpaste (or Why Bother?)

Why toothpaste? Composing music is not easy.  At least not for me.  It’s hard.  And slow.  And kinda lonely.  And it requires a lot of sitting around with a piano or computer or piece of paper and trying to will something into existence.  Ironically, it has almost nothing in common with the activity that usuallyContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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