It’s been almost six years since my previous post—six long years of silence haha. So many events and experiences—National Service, undergrad Music course at Cambridge, various internships… too many to be listed here publicly—have happened in and around my life since then. From time to time, it did occur to me to post some thoughts, especially in my third year at Cambridge when I was taking the Music and Philosophy course, and my assumptions (regarding music and aesthetics) were being boggled, challenged, and reshaped. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak; nothing has been produced. Until now.
Last year, I took part in the Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition (SICCOC) with an entry entitled 黑光 Dark Light. It was my first attempt at orchestration. To be honest, I felt rather daunted initially with the mammoth task of scoring for so many instruments. Nonetheless I kept to my usual working style — think of a strong idea on which the work could be based, develop a neat structure, then begin the actual writing phase.
” … How should I present this project to my schoolmates such that they can get a meaningful experience out of it?
Wait… should I even be doing this project, when I’m not doing well in Chemistry, and I’m in such a lack of time, busy with A-levels preparation, music prac and all my CCA stuff … “
These were the thoughts circling in my mind as I was desperately, frantically asking schoolmates (through Facebook, Raffles WUTW bulletin, e-mail, SMS, phone calls, word-of-mouth & whatnot?!) if they had clock-wound metronomes they were willing to loan me for the Poème Symphonique project…
Every music student should recognise the importance of growing and maturing in musical style — be it in their playing, thinking or writing. This is definitely not to say we have to throw away our youthful thoughts and start being old-kok-kok, all chim and complicated in our musical expression. In fact, we should make it a point to develop a youthful musical style that holds a salient level of mature thought.
Good music, is good design.
It’s important to realise the virtues of design in music. While “design” is a term used very loosely by almost everybody I come into contact with nowadays — some use it to refer to presentation slides layout, others use it to talk about architecture, and yet others refer to the development of curriculum courses — they all boil down to something really very common — to make sense of our human-human & human-object interactions. Yes, that would also mean that without a carefully thought-through design, music would be senseless.