What’s the first question you ask after listening to any piece of music the first time?
“What was that song about?”
We as a culture always strives to find the meaning in everything. That why the question of the meaning of life is asked in every culture around the world. We are obsessed with finding the answers. And art is an extension of that
What is art, if you think of it’s most rudimentary meaning? To me, art means to convey emotion and meaning from something that is physically worthless. Think about it. The paintings of Da Vinci and Picasso are literally different colors of oil placed on the canvas. It is our job, as the audience, is to derive meaning from these collection of colors and shapes on a canvas. Sometimes, deriving the meaning is simple. If it’s a painting of a girl in a dress, the meaning is simply a girl in a dress. (Unless the artist puts meaning behind the girl, based on what she is wearing, doing, or what is in the scene around her) Sometimes it’s hard. Picasso paintings come to mind. Music is exactly the same, sometimes the meaning of songs are easy or hard to determine. Music with lyrics is often easier to fin the meaning, because the meaning is being sung in a language that is easier to understand.
That’s my struggle when it comes to the music I write. There are no lyrics, but in most things I write, I have a very specific narrative. The problem is, how does one derive meaning or story with something that has no words or no pictures to assist the audience. I feel like this is going to be a lifelong battle for me. One of my life goals is to expand instrumental music as an art form into the general public. So that people without any musical knowledge can analyze instrumental music on a deeper level than just “I liked it, it sounded cool.”
See, this is why film is so accessible. Films are in the vernacular in whatever region in they are shown in, the story is (most of the time) laid out in a straightforward manner, and because of this, it allows directors and writers to add advanced character development into their films.
My problem is that I want to add this advanced character development into my music, specifically The Long Road. I am creating characters and ideas in the music that I make and the question is how do I get people to notice that? Back to my main idea, how does one express characters and complex ideas in a language that does not have the vocabulary to express those ideas.
Right now, my answer is in motifs. In my head, I have motifs and musical ideas that are attached to the characters of the narrative, but will the audience figure it out? It shouldn’t be too simple, or too difficult. I hope my compositional abilities are at a point where I can convey purposeful meaning.