Close your eyes.
Close your eyes. Listen to a piece of music. What pictures does the music create in your mind? Chances are you get some kind of image. What aspects of the music created the picture in your mind? The melody, chords, texture, instruments, or lyric?
Movies in your mind
I'll never forget the first time I noticed musical imagery. My first grade teacher played us "Peter And The Wolf" by Sergei Prokofiev. Each of the musical instruments plays a character from the story that's being narrated. Except for the narration, there's no song lyric, just instruments. It painted vivid pictures in my head. I had a definite sense of colors, textures, and personalities. It helped to not only convey the story, but to add depth and realism to the characters. Walt Disney's "Fantasia" focuses on musical imagery. He took it a step further by providing animation to go with the music. While imagery is somewhat subjective, there are definite similarities that can be conveyed.
While synaesthesia has more to do with the perception of musical shapes, imagery can also elicit the idea of shape, size, speed, friction, color, and texture. Tools that are used to convey shape are melody structures, chord progressions, lyrics, as well as many other tools at a composer's disposal. Claude Debbusy was motivated by literary Symbolism and Impressionism in his compositions. They convey a deep sense of color, shape, and movement. It has been hotly debated whether the imagery of an artist's music is planned or accidental. The short answer is, with some it is planned, with others it may be either accidental or unintended. Obviously in "Peter And The Wolf", it was meant to have that effect. Did Beethoven write with the intention of getting a visual idea across? Again, music scholars have debated this issue.
Absolute MusicSome feel that imagery is of secondary importance to the mathematical and auditory effects of absolute music.
The traditional word used for music which attempts to induce pictures in the mind is program music. Examples of program music would be "Sorceror's Apprentice " by Dukas, and Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition". There are several pieces of Popular music that contain vivid imagery. The Bealtes used imagery in much of their music. So did Roxy Music, Jimmy Hendrix, and several others. I personally think imagery is a major enhancement in music. While some may feel that it's secondary in importance, my feeling is - why not make the piece multifacted? If you can make the song musically satisfying on more than one level, why not do that? I think it gives the listener more bang for his buck, and it's just one more layer of depth for each additional listening. I try to go the extra mile when writing a song. So, if you're listening to a piece of my music, go ahead and close your eyes and watch the movie. Just don't do it while you're driving.
Still more stuff...
- Being taken seriously.
- How my father became a star.
- So, you wanna' be a country star?
- Who do you like better, Garth or Gershwin?
- You'll eat what you're served...
- The Media: Out with the old, in with the new.
- It's great exposure.
Thoughts on some of the people I've played with or known.
- Charlie Rich
- Freddy Fender
- Smokey Robinson
- Jo-El Sonnier
- Randy Meisner
- Billy Swan
- Flaco Jimenez
- Augie Meyers
- Doug Sahm
- Jerry Lee Lewis
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