This is my web page
In the world of art, and specifically music in this case, opinions vary widely on what is "good" and what is "bad" art. Although I believe that some music is unequivocally bad--unlistenable, even--there are often legions of devoted fans of the music or artist who disagree. I can argue until I'm spent about why this or that piece of music is poorly constructed or has no soul or has no point, but there are still people who love whatever it is I'm railing against. So what am I to make of that? To each his own. One person's boring is another person's intense. One person's beautiful is another person's bland. And so it goes, even if I don't agree.
If it lights your fire, I say let it burn. The best music is the music that means the most to you.
Why fight it? I didn't fall in love (and subsequently become obsessed) with writing music to be right; I do it because I love it, and I would like to share it with others.
I hope that some of the music you find on this site tingles that part of your musical senses, draws you in, and gives you something back. If it doesn't--well, thanks for giving it a fair shake.
I am an unabashed product of rock and roll, blues, jazz, and country music. (Although in truth, hardly any composer born since the 1940s can claim anything different.) It was my jazz training that prepared me for music school, although once there, my training was focused almost exclusively on art music.
Thus, I’m an art music composer. However, my number one musical influence by far is Mr. Johnny Cash, may God rest his soul. Everything I have ever written has in some way been influenced by him. It may seem paradoxical for an art music composer to quote Johnny Cash as a primary influence, but…well, it is a paradox, but it’s one with which I’m comfortable.
My music tends to be emotional more than heady. Further, I find that I prefer to work with smaller forces; for one thing, I like to hear each instrument clearly rather than try and make it blend into a unified sound, and for another, I like the challenge of trying to create a big sound from limited sources. I'm not the kind of composer who always has melodies floating through his head; rather, I'm more preoccupied with rhythms and textures. I try to make everything groove in its own way, even if it's a mixed meter comprised of 5s, 4s, and 3s, for example.
At the same time, I find great freedom in writing pieces that have little or no semblance of time. These pieces have sort of the opposite of a groove; they have their own drama and power, but the magic of timing, cadence, tension, and release is left to the performers to create.
I’ll write anything once, although over the years I’ve developed some proclivities. For whatever reason, I’m drawn primarily to writing vocal music of every kind, small ensembles, and opera. I’ve written virtually nothing for large ensembles; I simply have nothing to say in that medium. I also have a huge soft spot for popular styles of music, which I love dearly as a fan and enjoy writing immensely.
Every composer must find his or her voice as well as a place for that voice to be heard. For me, the voice is still developing, but one of the primary places where I want to be heard is in opera. I love everything about opera. I’ve attended many, performed in several, and written a few.
I should be ashamed to admit this, but it’s true: I first fell in love with opera because of a Mountain Dew commercial. (Fitting, I suppose, that a child of the late 20th century should meet a 400-year-old art form in this manner.) The Mt. Dew aspect was purely coincidental; it was the commercial’s soundtrack that captivated me. Essentially, it was punk rock with an operatic male voice blasting over it.
I believe it was meant to be silly or possibly ironic, but that sound shook me, hard. It suddenly occurred to me that opera was far more than fat ladies in horns and men with too much eye makeup—it was the historic predecessor to everything I loved about rock and roll, but better.
(If you ever want to experience something truly amazing, stand next to an honest-to-god opera singer while he or she is singing. How that much controlled sound at such an incredible volume can come out of an unamplified human being is something I still can’t comprehend.)
A second revelation came when I first heard Philip Glass's "Einstein On The Beach". I was captivated by the incredible texture, rhythms, and sounds emanating from my living room speakers. When I realized that the music wasn't going to fundamentally change for about 10 minutes or so, I became somewhat alarmed and confused. When the music caused my cat to lose it and tear around the room in a frenzy (she was named for Clara Wieck Schumann, after all--she doesn't jive with anything post-Romantic), I was amused.
When I realized that this so-called opera had no real characters...or plot...or story, it suddenly occurred to me that opera was the most limitless art form I had ever encountered. And then I wanted to give Phil Glass a hug for throwing open the doors of opera composition for me.
all materials copyright 2004-2014 seth colaner, all rights reserved