Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Musical Coincidences - allow the unexpected

This is something I've meant to write about for a long time but didn't get around to it until this morning's practice session  when something strange happened.

I record a lot. I have a laptop and sound card and I either record for pleasure or work. One of the things I've noticed is that on occasions one records things that follow logically and musically - yet they've been recorded at different times and in different chronological orders.

Here's an example. This morning I recorded a backing track for a standard that I wanted to practice on. I recorded the piano part first - comping and solo. Later I added the sax.

Once I listened to the final track I remarked that the sax solo lead very nicely into the piano solo. In fact the piano was more or less a copy of the previous sax phrase. Yet - The piano solo was recorded before the sax! How was it possible for the piano to pick up from a solo that did not yet exist?!

This happens time and time again. Recently I recorded the music for a play. I added trumpet lines to a melody. Later I noticed that the preceding piano part exactly mirrored the trumpet lines that were recorded days before. It sounded like I had recorded the piano part - and followed up with matching trumpet riffs. It was however entirely the other way around.

Too me this boils down to one thing. No matter how much you practice and plan, there is always a greater force in music that one always has to be open to. Thinking and scheming during solos is great, but one must always let the unexpected to happen - the musical coincidences that you can never plan - and that will often sound a lot better than what you could have worked out in your mind. The same is with mistakes. Allow them to happen. Sometimes they can turn into something better than what you wanted to play.

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