Composition Blog #5: Using Indian modes to write jazz pieces, and suggest new harmonic pathways.

You Bring the Rain Composition Blog #5

Using Indian modes to write jazz pieces, and suggest new harmonic pathways.

Many years ago I began what could be described as a somewhat random study of Indian music. I never was a serious student as a player, as I never intended to perform classical recitals, but along the way I recognized a gold mine of information. One of the principal ways that I have tried to incorporate what I have learned is through the use of unusual modes. (Note that for our purposes I am using the term “mode” not raga. Why? Because a mode is, as it were, a blank slate, to be used in any way you wish. Ragas develop from modes, and each has its peculiarities, its primary note (vadi), its secondary note (samvadi), and various characteristic phrases that give it definition of form and feeling. A mode, on the other hand, represents raw material. (more…)

Composition Post #2: Respecting the 4 phases of your work

There are different phases in the creative process, and each of them must be respected for their unique qualities; the generative phase, the assembly phase, development, and the editing phase.

1. When you are generating ideas for a piece, NOTHING should come in the way. All ideas are welcome, and critical faculties should be turned on very low, if at all. This is a time of flow, excitement, emotion, the time where if you’re lucky, you ‘re in touch with the deepest parts of yourself. You could label this phase “inspiration”, but to me that word lacks the gravitas and subtlety of these precious moments, where you are knocking about the recesses of your being, opening an attic door, pulling away the cobwebs to see what’s there. (more…)

Reflections on Composing #1


This is the first of what I hope will be a bi-monthly composer’s blog. In it I will discuss not only insights from my own life as a composer but lessons gleaned from others, regardless of style. You can find a lot of basic information on the web, as regards the foundations of composing. I would like to focus on ideas that are perhaps less discussed, observations large and small from my own idiosyncratic journey. (more…)