Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Inspiration and Influence, by Jason Rico

The cast and band of Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir get musical-y.

"Musical compositions, it should be remembered, do not inhabit certain countries, certain museums, like paintings and statues. The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg; I have it in my pocket." - Henri Rabaud

It’s somewhat hard for me to know how to explain this from anything other than a composer’s standpoint since that is all I know, but I’m going to give it a damn good try.

Music is what feelings sound like. This is why when you hear particular pieces of music they invoke certain emotions and reactions that often times you can’t explain. As someone who creates music I feel these same things and often store these feelings in my brain for later use. This is how I get inspired by this music at a later time when I’m writing my own. It’s similar to you as an individual becoming who you are as a result of all your experiences and the people in your life who have influenced you. You are still a solitary being but people say “you have your mother’s temper” or “you have your father’s devilish humor.”

Considering we start listening to music at birth and start absorbing it and remembering it long term around the age of six or seven, I have about 25 years of aural input stored in my brain. It’s somewhat funny to me that I have become this flesh and blood encyclopedia of music. I get texts and phone calls all the time asking “what’s this piece?” And I usually know what it is and how the rest of it goes. All this wonderful knowledge that the human brain can store is waiting up in there with bated breath to pop out and influence what I put on a page.

So when you listen to the music in Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir, keep this in mind. Listen for Mary Poppins, South Pacific, Bach, Hill Street Blues, Samuel Barber, Kurt Weill, Gypsy, Mozart. Their notes, their rhythms impacted my life just enough to convince my pen to reuse them, reinvent them and make them relevant in a new and different way. I hope you enjoy discovering them and perhaps get some inspiration of your own to listen when influences speak to you. They make us who we are.

That's great advice, you should absolutely listen for all of that. It's wonderful. Jason's musical written with Aaron, Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir, opens this weekend. Don't miss it.

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