Musical Quotes

In fact, quite a lot of what I do has to do with sound texture, and, you can’t notate that. You can’t notate the sound of “St. Elmo’s Fire.” There’s no way of writing that down. That’s because musical notation arose at a time when sound textures were limited. If you said violins and woodwind that defined the sound texture; if I say synthesizer and guitar it means nothing – you’re talking about 28,000 variables.

Another way of working is setting deliberate constraints that aren’t musical ones – like saying, “Well, this piece is going to be three minutes and nineteen seconds long and it’s going to have changes here, here and here, and there’s going to be a convolution of events here, and there’s going to be a very fast rhythm here with a very slow moving part over the top of it.” Those are the sort of visual ideas that I can draw out on graph paper. I’ve done a lot of film music this way.

I feel that as a writer and as a performer too. I never really thought about backstory for characters. It was much more of a musical approach: You learn a melody, and then you sing it, I suppose, or you find a rhythm or a cadence that works for the material. And then it’s sort of about hitting that note correctly and finding those beats.