My colleague Bill Neil recently wrote “Why waste the time and notes at the fundamental level when you really want to get at the notes with meaning?” We were discussing a composition we’re collaborating on.
Anyway, the power that sentence really struck me. Exactly! He condensed the essence of musical expression into a short question. BTW, he has an incredible knack for doing that sort of thing.
Consider Miles Davis’ use of space, Charlie Parker’s use of flat nines (among many other incredible note choices) and Coltrane’s use of extended chord tones…they all create meaning. Sounds quite simple when you distill it down to this. However, we all know just how difficult it is to create meaningful music.
Perhaps Bill’s question suggests a way to approach making music that will guide us toward creating meaning.