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  • Writer's pictureAlex Huddleston

why blog?

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

The purpose of this series of informal essays is really to serve as a kind of sketch-pad. In all honesty, I have a great deal of trouble speaking about my music. Finding the right words is just so difficult.

In a number of ways my work dissolves the various entities that constitute a musical entity.

If that happens - if the various musical entities (think 'chord' or even 'sonority'; think 'rhythm' or even 'grouping'; think 'gesture' or even 'direction')- one really can't use those words to describe the music except to negate them. It's /not/ this that those these things.

So then, what's left?

This has been the difficulty for a great many years. It has only gotten worse.

The word 'flow' has particular importance for me, so it appears here as the first written blog post for this site. I should add, however, this is constantly and agonizingly subject to tinkering, editing, tossing, rewriting.

The verb 'dissolve' has recently occurred to me as a meaningful operation - encapsulating my relationship with the music I like. The fact that there's a clear thematic link with dissolving and flow is at the very least interesting.

Each word really is a fight. Each word needs as thorough a definition as possible. I need to not only know what the word means for me as a word, but also as a series of activities under the umbrella activity of composing.

I'm trying to do this not only to describe my own work, but also because I find the ways we have been taught to talk about music just do not work.

Even authors who's intelligence and eloquence I greatly admire miss the mark, or brush past the real issue.

Recently, I've realized that the 'real issue' is almost always a question of musical pleasure.


Our formal training tells us not to talk about it. But, like, that's in a context where we're always dealing with a canon. Everyone loves Beethoven's 4th concerto, you don't need to make the case for why it's a good piece, so the thinking goes. Pleasure set to the side, time to do some maths. Hence American New Music.

But everywhere and always, the actual issue surrounds the pleasure given by that concerto and exactly the not-pleasure given by the Triple Concerto.

Here I will stop.

This post is itself an instance of sketching ideas, rather than the purported what-is-this-page-for?

Pleasure is a thing we need to learn how to deal with.

So is the fact of time as physical entity in music - that's flow.

So is the fact of memory and fading - that's dissolving.

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I've encountered some version of this sentiment many times since starting my formal education in music, if not earlier. From all sorts of people on the spectrum of musicality about all sorts of music.

I was recently asked to write a few paragraphs about an ensemble piece I'm currently in the throes of composing. I produced the following text: My piece is titled Books II III VI VII XI XVII XXIV XXIX


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