Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how the great composers came up with so much music. It just seems impossible! When you think about Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and so many other composers, it almost seems like magic. It’s as if something was handed down to them from the heavens. It doesn’t seem like anyone could write so much fantastic music.
The truth is that we only have a tiny glimpse of their music.
Most of the great composers made music up spontaneously, constantly. They were known to be tremendous improvisers. But because audio recording was not developed until centuries later, we only have the written scores of these great composers to go by. But we get glimpses as to what the great composers actually improvised, and some of their fantasies. For example, you think about Bach and you think about very regular, beautifully crafted music that obviously was written out. But what about music that he just made up? Are there any glimpses into that? Yes! For example, Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. The way that starts out is very rhapsodic and spontaneous in nature. It’s an amazing work that goes places you would never expect. It gives you a little glimpse of what these composers were able to create on the fly.
Improvisation can sow the seeds for compositions.
This isn’t just true of the early composers. Think about when you listen to a Chopin Nocturne. Just imagine the melodies that Chopin and Liszt made up. Sometimes they would have parlor gatherings, and they would go back and forth. As did other great composers of the 19th century, such as Anton Rubinstein. It was one of the things that they did, where they played for one another spontaneously. Listen to the opening phrase of the B-flat minor Nocturne of Chopin. The second cadenza is something that no-one would think of writing. He must have just played this and figured out a way to write it down. It’s very rhapsodic, off the cuff phrasing. It’s not metered. And it gives you just a little hint as to what these composers did on a daily basis, by themselves, for their family, for their friends, and at all kinds of get-togethers.
Have fun with music!
I believe all the great composers have joy and passion in their music! It wasn’t just a tedious task. It wasn’t all lonely nights of crafting great compositions, although that’s a part of music. A part of practicing and learning music is spending the time to learn scores. But having fun with it and not losing the love of music is what it’s all about! I believe those are the seeds of the great composers. So enjoy your music! Explore things and see what you can come up with! I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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