Entries for 9th Jun 2012
For me, one of the interesting things about working with people that write/play very sophisticated music is hearing the linkages and connections that new music has with older 20th Century music. I'm thinking about my experiences with people like Robert Mitchell, Alex Hawkins, Nick Malcolm, et al., who use a language that's thoroughly informed by music of the last two hundred years or so.
Immersing oneself into that sound world—checking out the whole spectrum of jazz, Webern, Ravel, Bartok, Stravinsky, Ligeti, Arnold, Weir, and so on—is as an essential part of knowing how to play these songs as it is to be able to read them [which, in my case, is not all that essential at all since I cannot read music notation].
I think I'm thinking about this because I'm going to take the time out today to practise reading music. It's something I've struggled with... well, for ever. The thing is, my ears are quite good, so I've always relied on my ears to deal with what's coming. But that really won't last: the music of now is getting harder to anticipate—sometimes, the only way to GET something is to read it. So here we are.