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Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Next?



I've been listening, very slowly, two interviews of Philip Glass by Ira Glass. There is a lot of very poignant ideas that seem to transcend music. I am ignorant enough of music and the language composers use, but what he said makes sense for making up and telling stories as well.

In both interviews, he mentioned that a composer's work is fundamentally to resolve a problem, or "What next?" And the propensity each (good) composer resolves problems defines his style. Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Philip Glass each has his own way of coming up with the answer to the question of "What next?"

When I heard this I had to chuckle. A few weeks ago I was sitting in a doctor's office with the classical music station in the background. At some point I thought, "That sounds very Rachmaninoff!" It was a piece I was sure I had never heard of, but it just reminded me of all the other Rach pieces I had heard. And at the end the radio host said, "That was Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 4." I pumped a fist in the air.

Needless to say, the question for every storyteller (or perhaps even for every nonfiction writer) is also "What next?" How do you get from point A to point B? That is the question.

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