Mister Link®

Who Writes the Music?

Some days I really do wonder - do I write the music, or does the music write itself?  I'm not talking about in some esoteric, mystical, what's behind the inspiration type of way; I'm talking about songs springing to life seemingly without conscious thought or connected inspiration.  I remember taking a class in Sherlock Holmes (yes, a college level English class - who woulda thunk it!).  One thing that stuck in my mind was how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would often write Holmes short stories at the dinner table while conversing with family and friends.  He would seemingly pay only the most passing heed to the stories development during this process. Perhaps it was just genius, or perhaps Holmes and Watson had their own stories to tell?

Okay.. I guess that does venture forth into the esoteric realm.  But seriously, it often puzzles me how writers, musicians, poets, painters and others can seem to be mere conduits for their talents rather than active planners and thinkers about what will come next.  This also seems to be an interesting juxtaposition with those who can create at will on a particular topic or theme directing the finished output into a framework desired by the author (and perhaps targeted to a specific opportunity or market).

I'm afraid I fall into the former, muse-inspired and muse-required context.  Some may say I have no clear vision.  I prefer to think that my gaze is cast over a wide landscape and I am merely the reportorial conduit for the emotions, ideas, ideologies, and images that present themselves.  That, it seems, can be a handicap in a world where sync licensing has begun to transcend direct sales opportunities for the musician/songwriter/band.  In the world of sync licensing, it's usually emotional content that rules the day and story lines, plots, commentary, names and places must all be set aside for the greater marketing good. 

But, if the music writes itself, then one must wait for an opportunity to match the vision. If we write the music, then the vision must conform to the opportunity.  Does the listener care? Is one the greater art? What do you think?

Thomas

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