The New Rules (part 2)

I made a promise that I would list the potential shortcomings of the contemporary composer who lacks traditional classical music training. Here is my list in no particular order of importance.

  • 1. Your “classically educated” friends will think you’re silly when you mispronounce tricky composer names like “Haydn.”
    2. Allegretto? Is this something off an Italian restaurant menu?
    3. If you’re going to compose a piece comprised of one note for an hour, you should fucking know how to read it! I mean, how are you going to memorize one note if you have to repeat it?
    4. A true story (composer to remain anonymous) – Says he likes MIDI and works with Finale “Notepad,” and then tells me, after some direct probing on my part, that he has “Logic.” Hey people, how are you going to use your “classically trained street smarts” if you can’t figure out what program to use?
    5. You annoyingly clap at the end of every movement at the symphony. The hot date you brought along (first date no less), whom you’ve been emphasizing your “composer” status to use as an aphrodisiac, now thinks you’re a moron and a phony.
    6. You have repeat nightmares of sonata form, in the form of a horribly gigantic wig chasing you down an illustrious, lavish hallway. You reach the end, but are brought back to the beginning. The nightmare seems to change slightly, but the end result is always the same with the wig recounting your steps and, surprise, a piano falls on you (THREE TIMES!).
    7. You don’t know what you’re doing!! Its that simple!
    8. Someone approaches you with a commission for flute and violin. What the fuck is a flute?
    9. You decide to compose a piece with pitch material comprised of a porn soundtrack.
    10. How do you plan to have a good concert if you conduct like someone playing an air guitar at a karaoke bar?
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2 thoughts on “The New Rules (part 2)

  1. 11. You’re not a composer but a radio show host. Your young composer friend says you play too much music by the “old farts” (in your case Cage, Xenakis, Feldman, Crumb, etc.) and why don’t you play more music by composers in their twenties and thirties? Please refer him to rule no. 7.

    I believe rule no. 6 is a La Monte Young composition, never realized because you’re not allowed to drop pianos on people’s heads!

  2. Hi, Max. I love that your program plays Cage, Xenakis, et al. In the big scheme of things they still sound new and, obviously, are the inspiration behind so many new music styles

    Nice to see you over at ImprovFriday 🙂 I have a sneaky suspicion its going to be busy there again this week (starting tonight thru Sat.)

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