Thanks to my internet breakdown, I am hopelessly late for this side view theme, but because it is so near to my heart I intend to go for it anyway. I shall do so in a boringly conventional and – as my heading suggests – musical sense.
Almost all great music is made up of a theme or themes, and then variations on that theme. Some music has the whole piece built around just one tune. The classical masters manage to make such pieces fascinating throughout. The sort of jazz I like is also based on variations (most often improvised) on a particular melody line.
Why have a theme? Without some ‘hook’ to give a grounding, I think most music fails. In addition to the melody, that ‘hook’ might be the scene the music is designed to paint, as in the Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) overture of Mendelssohn, or the 1812 by Tchaikovsky. Even with a title to give direction, though, music which just meanders every-which-where in an attempt to give an emotional experience, without having any form and structure, has little appeal for me.
Most modern composers shudder at the idea of including any sort of tune or melody. Like modern artists, I think they are outsmarting themselves, and what emerges is only art to the pretentious types who like it because they feel they should. I am not one who sees genius in an arrangement of what could be squashed cockroaches; nor do I find merit in a set of cacophonous sounds where the only rule seems to be to avoid assonance like the plague. If it isn’t a discord, then it must be made into one. That is music?
I have had tremendous fun, as well as hard work, on my own themes and variations for the Immy series. Having written and orchestrated themes for Immy, Fernis the Dragon cross, Fernis the Dragon friendly, Goblins, Knights, Immy’s Mom and Immy’s Dad, the Carving Song, Townsfolk, and finally Playground, I then had to adapt and vary those to fit the various scenes. The timing also had to be to within half-a-second (quite literally) for it to work properly at a normal rate of reading out aloud.
Currently, I am working on a ‘flapping’ sequence where Fernis tries to take off and fails, but then Immy makes him get it right. There is a limit to how much one can use upward scales and runs, as well as trills, so it is tricky to keep the effects from getting repetitive.
Anyway, just to give some ideas of variations on the themes I have done for the final book – Immy Goes Flying – I am putting the music for pages 2, 3 & 4 on my player in the sidebar. Do note the two references to Brahms’s Lullaby, as well as the opening bars of Fingal’s Cave which come in at the point Fernis’s cave is reached. I have no hesitation in putting them in – most composers, including the ‘greats’, quite happily ‘borrow’ tunes and snatches as a compliment to the originator.
The pages are shown below:
© Colonialist August 2012 (WordPress/Letterdash)