Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

A few thoughts on creativity from Aaron Copland

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Aaron Copland

Somehow, suddenly, a musical idea occurs to you; either a whole phrase, or three notes, or a series of chords, something that seems pregnant with possibilities for development. Once you have the kinds of ideas that fascinate you, you’re no longer in a position to decide the nature of the animal. It’s going to take its essence from the musical ideas that occur to you…Some musical ideas are too short, they don’t seem long enough to carry you through ten minutes of music, so you have to start searching about for other ideas; contrasting ones that seem to fit with the original ones…

You might collect a series of ideas without thinking about how they go or where they go, but then, one fine day, looking at them, you get the impression that Idea A and C and G go together in some curious way which you didn’t realize before when you were thinking about them separately…

Since balance and contrast of instrumental effect are prime factors in good orchestration, it follows that any decision as to timbre, too quickly arrived at, is itself a limitation, since it prevents freedom of action on other pages.

Aaron Copland, quoted in Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man

Written by nevalalee

August 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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