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music music Monday

Music Monday: Minimalist Compositions

Great composers can hear the music in their heads and know exactly what the notes are. Many can write them down without needing to hear them out loud. Can I? not even close.

My composition method relies on a fair amount of trial and error, testing out different note combinations. Sure, I can hear if want the melody to go up or down (voice leading), and the rhythm, but not to the extend that I know exactly what I want. This is probably why some of my compositions tend to be minimalist in nature. I also like how meditative a slowly changing or repeating set of notes can be.

Fast Ride on a Slow Train, which was almost called Slow Ride on a Fast Train, although I’m not sure it makes a difference, makes use of two things: Repetition and dissonance. Dissonance is the sound of two (or more) notes that the ear perceives as not pleasant sounding. I know that this can be subjective but since much of western music is based on certain scales, we do have a common perception of what sounds “right”. I’m sure this could have turned out differently if we had divided the scales into 13, 14, 15 etc. notes instead of twelve.

Anyway, I like how notes can clash, but after repeating them many times, the ear gets acclimatized to the sound. Well, mine does. So here we go-let’s take a ride.

By Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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