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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey


One sometimes wonders if composers generate anything else but musical thoughts! Tush: we are all human and therefore susceptible to the joys and miseries of existence. Those with an above-average ability in any art may well enjoy (as well as 'endure') the trials of its demand for a high standard. What point in anything less?

Being a composer begins with such a demand, and only then moves on to the crucial test of his or her ability to draw forth musical ideas of such quality as to provide whatever basis is essential for original composition. And we know from our hopefully extensive experience of great music, composers capable of it are in possession of a supreme gift. Until music reaches our ears with that quality, nothing rises above average. Without it we stay in the doldrums.

My feelings did not rise to this understanding for a considerable time after the desire for greater intensity in my listening. Once this happened, I knew that music was capable of existence on a much higher plane, slowly drawing us up to the same level should our intentions be steadfast. The effect can be perceptibly dramatic, and once experienced brings us eventually to a wondrous level of understanding.

The quintessential factor is 'understanding'. All of us -- from professional to amateur -- need unremitting attention to the quality that arises from the musical essence. We cannot immediately hope to perceptibly catch it all, but its overall effect is crucial to reasonable comprehension. Remember, composers are reliant on listeners hearing what should be apparent. Without it our experience is flawed, and the composer's message is apparently misunderstood.

Copyright © 15 May 2006 Basil Ramsey, Yorkshire UK



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