Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Imagination - The Transporter in Musical Creativity

Talent is, of course, the prime requisite of the creative mind. One of the elements embedded within that talent the composer calls upon to bring the creative gift into being is imagination.
I thought that I would put forward some examples of the results coming out of the imaginative process:
In Walt Disney's 'Fantasia", the array of abstract designs in direct coordination with the notes brought into existence in Bach's great Toccata enhances the power and direction of this masterpiece. Disney's artists are wonderfully attuned to the majesty of this piece, and the shapes projected onto the screen form a kind of extension of the ideas given us earlier by the mystic composer Scriabin, in his color organ, which would project colors onto a screen that, in the composer's view, paralleled the music having been written, in visual form.
Just the title of one of Debussy's preludes allows us to create pictures in our minds even before the music is heard; the title being "What the West Wind Saw."
The Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, in his "Pacific 231," gives us a vivid aural "picture" of the sounds of a steam train starting on its journey, attaining its top speed, then slowing down as it approaches its destination - all done with musical instruments; no computers or other devices that could emulate those sounds of a train.
How about a composer in the 20th century who, by way of a computer, designs a piece for piano that results in sounds produced by the simultaneous "playing" of thirty or more notes, something a human could not possibly do? The result is a mind - blowing experience, as we listeners are not prepared to hear a piano that produces sounds that a ten - fingered performer could never attain. A brilliant psychological premise by the composer!
And there are many more examples that can be given - I thought that I would submit a mere handful for the reader to contemplate.

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