Thursday, August 03, 2006

AI 03: Aural Stimuli & Influences

Do people 'mellow' as they mature, or are they actually returning to their 'roots' –turning their ears towards music whose melodic content is reminiscent of what they became acquainted with in early childhood –and regardless of whether or not they enjoyed it in their youth? Contrast the way you felt about your parent's music collection when you were young, for one instance, and the way you feel about it now:

Do you think you enjoy Sinatra or Chopin because you've acquired a level of sophistication that only comes with age? Or does this music appeal to you now because you were exposed to it long ago it at an impressionable age, while your parents played it for themselves?

Just what is the underlying impulse that makes you musically you? What’s at the sonic core of your soul? Maybe it’s Sesame Street? Maybe not –or maybe so! Personally, I think it’s whatever you were listening to before you reached your twelfth year.

Actually, I don't want to limit early 'sensory gathering' to mere listening alone. When I was a child I noticed sunlight flicker through trees, and I thought how one day I wanted to write music that sounded the way the light in that moment danced across the branches. So, I experienced a persuasive aural response to visual stimuli which I found not only entertaining, but it thereafter left a residual effect on the way I listen for music when I create it and generate it myself. What the eyes witnessed, the ears wanted to replicate. It was more than an influence, it produced a creative framework.

I once read a magazine article with some young rocker impressing upon the interviewer that his 'major' influences (dude) included Metallica and Nirvana. But I couldn’t help but think to myself: ‘Well, maybe you were influenced by Nirvana –but you got your mojo from Sesame Street.

And 'Metallica is to your soul what edging is to a Mother Goose granite counter top.'

One only has to consider how Carl Stalling's repertoire of Warner Brothers Cartoon Scores has shaped the inner ear of the latest generation of classical composers to realize that this must be at least somewhat true.

To read the complete Aural Intelligence Article, follow the links:

AI 01: Aural Intelligence
AI 02: AI Quotient
AI 03: Aural Stimuli & Influences

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