Blog: Signs You May Be A Pretentious Art Music Composer

6/14/13 - Signs You May Be A Pretentious Art Music Composer


The weather has been atrocious here in PA for a solid week, even including a rare tornado watch this past weekend. Growing up in the Midwest means that tornado watches happen almost every time it rains; the natives in my area generally hear there is a tornado warning and head outside to watch the green clouds. On this side of the country they send out emails telling you how to identify a tornado and bottled water is sold out in a three-mile radius. The one positive thing to come out of the foul weather was the thunderstorm that awoke me at 4:30am. Ordinarily this would be a cause for complaint, but I was having a terrible dream in which I was to go onstage and do some sort of comedy routine before introducing someone else at a music-related dinner. Now, I pride myself on being a pretty funny guy, but I am not very good at remembering multiple jokes. I am more of a Seinfeld-esque, situational humor kind of guy. (And not THIS kind of "Situation" - yeeesh that was painful). However, I had NO material in this dream and I was on in 30 seconds. The last thing I remember before suddenly waking up was a Jeff Foxworthy-esque joke about contemporary composers.

There have been a few cantankerous discussions in the classical music world in recent weeks - "What's The Matter With Being An Academic Composer" and the rebuttal, along with this discussion on ageism in composer opportunities - and rather than add to the whinging comments, here is a bit of lame humor to start your weekend off right. Please remember that I kid because I love, and it's funny because it's true. Without futher ado, here was my bit in the dream supplemented by a few waking additions and commentary:

If you had the urge to correct my use of the term "art music" to something else ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[Let's just get that out of the way at the start]

If you correct your relatives at holidays when they refer to Chopin as a "Classical" composer ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you wish Anton Webern's works were just a little bit longer ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you get angry when your default bank PIN is not in prime form ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[(0153) you've GOT to be kidding me here, PNC...]

If you think Magnus Lindberg's Kraft has too many singable tunes ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If your profile picture contains a meditative expression while hunched over manuscript paper ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you randomly start humming the opening row from Schoenberg's fourth quartet ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[Admittedly that is quite the catchy tune - I think the rhythm helps.]

If your pets have names like Dallapiccola, Xenakis, Stravinsky, or Ferneyhough ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you ever felt bad for John Luther Adams for being the "less famous, 'other' John Adams" ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[Hey it was like five years ago, cut me some slack]

If your scores are written using any of your own bodily fluids ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you have used the phrase "syntonic comma" in casual conversation ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you change your spelling of Schönberg/Schoenberg depending on the date you are referencing ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you find yourself subconsciously tapping the Piano II rhythm to Boulez's Structures 1a ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you insist on using normal order because "those are the ACTUAL NOTES" ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[Seriously though, it's not useful. EVER.]

If you occassionally mentally continue the infinite rhythms in the cymbal parts of the Turangalîla-Symphonie ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[Julian Hook - "Rhythm in the music of Messiaen..." look it up, it's wonderful]

If you get irritated that the violas never quite nail that quintuplet rhythm in Il Canto Sospeso ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you lament the current state of art music because we haven't had a good "-ism" in a while ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

If you use a ruler for your sketches in your Moleskine notebooks ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.
[YEP]
And finally...

If you understood AND identified with more than 10% of the yellow text ... you may be a pretentious art music composer.

Thank you, folks, I'll be here all night! Try the fish.






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