Yearly Archives: 2016

A Facebook discussion forum for media composers recently had a conversation about “starting points”. How do you deal with the fact that some composers may have more connections, resources, or advantages than you do?

It developed into a conversation about perseverance and attitude, and reminded me of an experience that taught me about “creating luck”.

Years ago in Boston I was walking with a college buddy to dinner somewhere. I said let’s take Commonwealth Ave, a quiet street. He said no way, if we walk on Newbury Street we’re more likely to run into somebody we know.

We took Newbury, and sure enough ran into a couple of women our age whom we’d met once or twice before. Spur of the moment, they joined us for dinner, making the whole thing a lot more fun.

I remember my friend’s wise counsel that night often, to remind myself to be consciously open and create possibilities. Whatever our relative starting points, it’s a long road for all of us. I figure if I’m trying to get somewhere, it might as well be by Newbury Street.

Posted 2 years ago by John Piscitello

One of my composition professors once told me “don’t be overly pre-occupied with originality”. For years I’ve been trying to understand that advice, but this scene in Vinyl puts it together.

The Nasty Bit’s lead singer Kip gets frustrated while trying to write a song, complaining “there are no more notes”:

Two thoughts on that scene. First, the folks making Vinyl really love and get music, and I hope the show succeeds.

Second, in high school, I thought the exact same thing: I-IV-V was overly simplistic. Despite the fact it occurs in masterpieces over and over, like the first 30 seconds of Beethoven’s Sixth:

So, there you go. Don’t worry too much about originality. Form and progressions are just the foundation for your composer voice. If I-IV-V worked for Berry and Beethoven, you can probably use it as a foundation too.

Posted 2 years ago by John Piscitello