I recently finished my bachelor thesis on the neobaroque composer Paul Hindemith’s proposition to expand our current tonal organization. I chose the subject because I’ve often found myself limited to our traditional western conventions, and wanted to challenge myself cause his expansion seemed too comprehensive and time-consuming to learn on my spare time. I’m really glad I did take that challenge, as I found the assignement liberating and I have been more satisfied with all my composition since. Despite having learned this system that more accurately explains all styles of music around the world, my compositions are still very much influenced by having been brought up on traditional western music and local norwegian folk music.
The piece I composed for my assignement can be heard here.
The music I’m the most passionate about creating, however, is about combining different genres and attempting to break the, in my opinion, unnecessary barriers between classical and non-classical music. I’ve uploaded the piece I’m currently working on for you here, but keep in mind it’s not finished.
My workstation where I compose nearly all of my works.
I’m interested to learn how music and the conventions that follows has evolved differently around the world, to get more influences to my own work. Greek music will be particularly interesting to me and a fitting place to start, as the music of Ancient Greece layed the foundation for the oldest known well-documented western music, Gregorian Chant. It was them who brought us the popular modes (or scales) that are still used in popular music today, and I’m looking forward to observe the similarities and deriviations of our musical evolutions.
In preperation to the trip I will gather information about traditional greek instruments, their strengths and limitations, and how to properly write and notate for them. During my stay I’ll seek out concerts and interview the locals on how culturally significant the use of music is on Lesvos, and how they personally use music in their everyday life. I am prepared to be flexible, and not get too hung up in seeking out one specific piece of information before starting my composition. My initial idea, however, is to observe their instrumental usage and scale material, and create a tone poem hopefully based on a local’s personal story and my musical observations. A tone poem is a piece of music consisting of a single movement, which illustrates or evokes the content of a poem, short story, novel, painting, landscape or another non-musical source. Traditionally it is made for the orchestra, but I’ll try to combine it with and evoke the sound of Lesvos in my instrumentation (and maybe even add some synths if its appropriate).
This course will hopefully be the first of many ethnographic studies of folk and world music that I’ll participate in, and I’m looking forward to expanding my musical understanding and palette.