Musical freedom

August 1, 2007


I am writing a musical with Mel Shapiro for a spring 2008 premiere. I write down the melody with pencil and paper and hear the accompaniment in my head. I copy it into music software (Sibelius) and then flesh out the song there. The melody/foreground has to be right. It is interesting to “watch myself” in terms of what I do differently composing my concert music (i.e. “classical”) as opposed to this more popular genre called musical theater. The process “tickles” because my brain searches what seems like an entirely different set of songs, melodic models and moods as stylistic references. The song I worked on yesterday starts as a kind of Vaudeville crooner song but ends sounding like a Patsy Cline ballad (like “Crazy”). I asked Mel whether he was ok about that and he said the it “sounded right.” So, away I go. If feels like coming out of the closet yet again.

[Photo by Larry Luchtel]

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