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16 Jan 2014

How to Write Music When Inspiration is Gone

How to Write Music When Inspiration is GoneThe good thing about inspiration is its spontaneity – it may come down at you at the most unexpected moment letting creativity boost and pour out some chef-d'oeuvres. But at the same time spontaneity is its bad feature too – it may leave just as suddenly as it had visited you. That’s okay if writing music is one of your minor hobbies and those splashes of creative energy are just a means of getting you distracted for a while. But if music plays a more substantial role in your life and even comprises a part of your life-earning sources, it would not be superfluous to learn to manage the ways you are inspired for work. Hopefully, some of the inspiration channels described below will be the right for you to find the Muse when she’s so needed.

It is not always necessary to go too far in search of things to inspire you. As Frederick Delius used to say, “Music is an outburst of the soul”. It is first of our vision of the world so why not delve in your own life experiences. We all store moments that affected us greatly at some point – memories of interesting people, exciting trips, controversial disputes, random meetings and what not – that’s a perfect ground for cultivating your enthusiasm for music writing. You could express musically your opinion towards these personal experiences. Or use them for defining the direction for further work. Or simply recall the emotions that used to be stirred when living these moments and get them afloat.

Music is an outburst of the soulAnother great composer, Igor Stravinsky, was convincing us that “Lesser artists borrow, greater artists steal”. Let’s make use of it too and try to turn our mind at other music works. Go back to your favorite compositions, albums, bands, musicians and name what you love about them most and what it is about their music that gives you an example to follow. It doesn’t mean you should steal others’ ideas or style, but people whose creative work we respect make our inner selves aspire to create something no less wonderful and worthwhile.

No matter where you live, we are all bound up with Mother Nature and it can help us regain strengths and provide an additional charge. Especially if you are ‘a child of concrete jungles’, try to take a longer walk in the park or better get out of town to enjoy a wilder spot. You don’t need to be a romantic nature to find sheer pleasure in sunsets, for example – there are no equal sundowns anywhere in the world so your experience is sure to be unique every time. Even better if there is a contact zoo nearby – communication with animals can be a very sincere and invigorating experience. No zoo, no parks, no wild nature? No problem. There are lot of amazing HQ photographs that can be inspiring as well. Surf the net for outstanding nature photographers, or visit some world panorama sites or have a look at the online webcams to watch, say, an eagle’s nest in the real time. Anything may work! romantic nature

The biggest masterpieces are usually reflected in more than one form of art. Thus, where there is an awesome book, there are movies based on it, where there are great paintings, there are beautiful poems dedicated to them and so on. Why not use other form of art, let’s say poetry, as a source of your inspiration too? Reading the lines of an impressive poem you can have your inner voice prompt you some ideas of wrapping the verses in a music cover. Same about any other work of art that has influence on you. All you need is to concentrate on your associations and impressions triggered by it.

It goes without saying that inspiration is a very individual thing and there is no universal recipe for causing it. But even if you are not feeling inspired at the moment do not leave your work for later – rather keep trying to find your own secret means of getting encouraged and the Muse will no doubt will be back. Good luck!

24 Dec 2013

Enjoy the Spirit of Christmas!

The Christmas season is the time of the year when we can just sit back and enjoy sharing most wonderful moments with family and friends. Gathering together around the Christmas tree, unpacking small pleasant presents, laughing and sharing – the spirit of Christmas makes cold winter evenings cosy and comfy and they remain our best memories for the whole life.

The year 2013 has been very fruitful for MusicaNeo: more than 182 000 of classical and contemporary scores by over 1000 composers are now available at the platform, a digital booklet for children “Maestro-in-the-Making” has come into the world, new widgets have been implemented, and all this has become real thanks to you. The upcoming year is going to be that rich as well – we are gearing up with new achievements and directions.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas time!
Your MusicaNeo Team

19 Dec 2013

“Maestro-in-the-Making”: Results of the Project

MusicaNeo’s educational project “Maestro-in-the-Making” has almost come to an end. We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in it and helped to make it come true. Special thanks to the composers who responded to the call and created new wonderful music works for children.

Our team at MusicaNeo had to face a real challenge: 102 applications had been received, and each of them had to be considered thoroughly – the music experts listened to them repeatedly and analyzed each composition in detail. The incompleteness of some applications and the lack of audio samples in some cases significantly delayed the whole process.

Despite the tight deadlines composers managed to deal wonderfully with the task. Among the works sent in, there are music cycles and collections, compositions for school orchestra and choir. Unfortunately, we had to decline a few applications that came in after the deadline in order to preserve the equal conditions of participation for everyone. The style range turned out to be very broad: from melodic pieces with harmonies in the styles of classicism and romanticism to ultra-modern works that at times are very daring even for the ear of an experienced listener.

A few words about the criteria for selection. We took into account not only the artistic element but the educational value of the pieces as well. Special attention was paid to aspects concerning the social development of the little performers. We are convinced that performing in an ensemble is one of the best ways to cultivate communicative skills in children, to develop their attention and teach them to hear not only themselves but to listen to others, too. Besides, collective learning and performing of an interesting music piece is a great opportunity to spend a good time with friends! As a result, three quarters of the works selected for publication represent ensemble pieces. The booklet will also include bright compositions for solo instruments that will no doubt become a perfect adornment for any concert.

At the moment, the “Maestro-in-the-Making” digital sheet music booklet for beginners is prepared for publication and will soon become available for free download at a special page dedicated to the project. We will announce its publication additionally. All the selected works can already be downloaded from the composers’ personal websites at MusicaNeo.

The list of compositions included for publication in the digital music booklet “Maestro-in-the-Making”:

  • 10 Little Duets for Teacher and Student for 2 Flutes (Jordan Grigg)
  • A Little Hedgehog is Off to a Party (Vladimir Malganov)
  • Camel of Mine - Travels with a Three-Legged Camel (John Gibson)
  • Exercises and Etudes in the Country Style, Op.15 No.3 (Alexander Khodakovsky)
  • Fly, Carpet, Fly (Robert Barr)
  • I Own A Rocking Horse (Seth Evans)
  • Red Boy (Kirill Voljanin)
  • Sha-la-la Song (Dieter Angerer)
  • Suite for the Young (Malcolm Dedman)
  • The Farmyard (Sonja Grossner)
  • The Letter from Kansas for Piano Four Hands (Ariel Davydov)
  • Zita in Wonderland (Stephan Beneking)

In conclusion, we would like to once again thank everyone who supported our educational project and to wish all the participants further success in creative endeavors. Please follow our official blog announcements and take part in other upcoming projects by MusicaNeo!

Photo by Jabawokjayuk at the English language Wikipedia.

30 Oct 2013

What Time Does It Take to Appreciate Great Music?

Have you noticed that most of the music pieces you now consider great rarely took just one listen to fully appreciate right from the start? It can be really hard to start appreciating complex music at once and there may be a few explanations to that. Here are some.

Too Much at a Time

First of all, complex music is difficult to comprehend because it causes a sensory over-load to our perception. Our brain is built in layers, and it’s not possible to operate all of them at once. In this sense, we can compare the catchy pop music to a bubble gum – you enjoy chewing it for a little while but then it loses its taste too fast and becomes flat for you. That’s explained by the few layers your brain needs to process such music. On the other hand, if we take a complex symphony where the number of music layers is significant, our brain works differently: it learns them gradually, and once another layer is taken in, the next ones become even more anticipated. Such music can be compared to a good wine – it takes time for the aftertaste to settle in. But it’s important to understand that ‘music layers’ are not to be understood as just the number of music instruments involved. The following are to be considered ‘layers’ as well:

  • Various sounds effects
  • The depth of the lyrics (if present)
  • Music extras that are revealed when you listen to the same music on a different sound system

Mind them, too.

No Clear Structure

You may simply not hear certain notes or parts if you do or cannot envision the piece’s structure completely. That is another crucial moment besides the layers factor. If you can clearly see how the melody builds - when it reaches its climax, how it switches from one part to another and when it fades – your picture assembles into a unity. But listening to the piece for the first time will not allow you to predict how the music line will behave (unless it’s a basic 4x4 timing song with repetitive beats). Therefore, even when you consider some music “messy” at first – give it a chance to listen to it again.

Music Evolution

Today you may hear something new in the music you are used to listening to. Art is an ever-evolving phenomenon. To be a part of it, one has to grow with it, to be multi-faceted and flexible. We all favor certain music genres over others, but that doesn’t mean we should close up in a world of one style. Due to the constant interpenetration of music genres, you may not recognize some new elements in the habitual sound and get disorientated. Pop music didn’t come right after classical music, did it. Thus one needs to be open, stay informed and be interested in various music genres. Otherwise, you may rob yourself of the opportunity to benefit from the diversity of the music world.