musical ignorance?

I like music. Who doesn’t? For myself almost any type is fine as i’m generally not too picky. Some types i will listen to if it’s on but not tune to it on my own.

This past weekend i went to a nice concert by the local philharmonic. Three different pieces. Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes, Walton: Viola Concerto, and Dvořák: Symphony No. 8. Two before intermission and one after. All of them were enjoyable, more so with the help of the preconcert lecture from the conductor. For anyone that hasn’t gone to a preconcert lecture, it would be analogous to the ‘making of’ for a movie. The extra information can help enhance the viewing experience with a greater appreciation and understanding.

Throughout the performances i had moments where i felt i had heard a piece of the music before. As this kept happening i found myself thinking of modern movie scores. Now i know the pieces in the concert were not written in my lifetime but i assumed the composers of the music scores had probably heard them before. So i kept wondering…

In many books i’ve read over time you can find similar themes and approaches. At a basic level, protagonist, antagonist, struggle, redemption, etc. In movies you might find similar ideas like Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. Unfortunately i don’t read as many books or watch many mainstream movies and tv shows because i sometimes pick up too easily and too quickly on the expected plot/theme and the rest of the movie becomes far to simple to figure out. Sometimes as far as making good general guess on what a character might even say. How boring! That’s mostly why i like my independent films and books that have a different way of thinking. I love not being able to figure out where things are going as long as they ARE going somewhere.

This musical night had, without any insult intended, a sense that many parts were like modules. I know the modern scores came after these pieces but that’s me trying to look back. I kept hearing similarities from many John Williams’ pieces like Schindler’s List, Star Wars, and Jaws, as well as Fiddler on the Roof (not John Williams’) and other composers/movies i can’t remember as i write this but thought of when i was listening.

In continual wondering i pondered on the question that if i keep listening to more and more classical music, will they begin to seem less and less original? Just more variations on a theme? I do appreciate the differences in pop songs that i’ve heard that were remade by a different artist with their interpretation even with the original lyrics. Even the same artist but an acoustic version instead can bring new life to it. This is slightly off topic as this is what can happen with the same conductor on a different night mainly as different conductors can do to the same symphonic piece.

For anyone that goes to symphonies/philharmonics (pretty much the same word) i’m not sure if i want to encourage or discourage you from trying to tease out those modules that might have been heard or felt to be similar to parts from other pieces of music.

I know just had hard it is for me to compose a blog entry, so i can’t imagine the depth of work necessary to compose for a trio let alone a symphonic orchestra. It probably doesn’t help that i don’t have any musical background either, other than trying to teach myself how to play the guitar. Speaking of… practicing once a week probably isn’t cutting it. I should get back to something else.

-Santa’s Fallen Angel

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