Saturday, November 27, 2004

Well, not exactly final

Sure, you think you've done a good job. You think the new part you added to the melody of R ubber D ucky is pretty interesting. Then you play it for your band mates and there's an awkward silence. When pressed, each of them say they thought you'd played it wrong or perhaps added the wrong track during mixing.

Yah know, I thought these folks were musicians. I thought that maybe I didn't need to explain beforehand that there was a new part. If I'd known how they were going to react I would have warned them. In soft tones, with soothing gestures to belay any confusion or fright they might have at the thought of something different.

In my mind I had pictured them hearing how the repeated figure goes subtly out of key as the chords change underneath. Their faces light up with understanding and delight as they realize this conflict of keys drives the tune towards the bridge.* But no. Their immediate thought is I've done something wrong. Fuckers.

To be fair we've been playing this tune the same way for a long time. But I kind of hoped they'd trust me enough to believe I wouldn't play them something that wasn't ready. Certainly not when I intro it with: "I'm pretty happy with this."

To me being a musician isn't just about listening, it's about hearing. My fellow tinnitus inflictors listened to what I'd done but failed to hear what it was all about. It's a small but disappointing failure on their part, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

It often feels like I'm surrounded by people who don't think. When I see or hear something unexpected the first thing that comes to mind is: "Why did they do it that way?" I like to come up with at least a plausible explanation for myself. It's fun in a mystery novel sort of way and helps prevent hasty misunderstandings.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of examples of my own mental failures. I don't think I'm a misunderstood genius or anything; the possibility exists that I'm the only person on the planet who would enjoy what I've done. On the other hand, I'm prepared to defend my artistic decisions. Odds are pretty good I'll have better arguments in favour of it than they have against.

Gah, not a good night.

*Bridge: a short section that connects two larger sections of music. Used to add variety and sometimes to smooth over transitions and key changes between sections. By going out of key (a few notes clash here and there) with the underlying chordal structure of the tune my new part creates tension. That tension resolves when the two parts return to the same key in the bridge.

No comments: