If you are one of us musical types who strives for originality, you’ll know it straight off the bat.
If you’re not…you might be thinking it over right now. It’s ok not to be sure…some people don’t need to be different – some can’t rest until they achieve something new.
In my experience, originality has a couple of origins. Personality and rumination! Yeah not the words that I’d expected to be there either.
Sometimes it can be the persons personality shining through that makes their music original. It’s like a kind of honesty…they don’t shape their music to conform to what they think the audience might like. They do what they do and let the audience figure out if they enjoy it.
Often, the stronger the personality is, the more a certain audience will be drawn to it. This where you get loyal fans…if you have put your thoughts out there as songs or pieces of music – the people that your viewpoint resonates with will naturally be drawn to you.
As for rumination – this is consciously trying to find things that are new for the sake of it. This path can lead to lots of experimentation…which basically means you’ll do loads of rubbish stuff, but possibly find a few absolute gems in there while you’re at it.
I suppose a third option is just a happy accident – bit that’s likely to tie in with one of the previous two ideas.
So – how to find your originality? Well…taking into account my theories about where it comes from you can either be honest about your feelings and express them how you REALLY want to, without censoring yourself.
Or you can try to force it by trying extreme and wacky (don’t you love that word, almost as good as “goofy”!) ideas for the sake of it, and hope you strike oil.
I recommend the first…it takes more soul searching, but when you find a way to express your ideas in way that works for you…and people respond to it. That’s when the power and glory of art hits you. It’s also when you go from thinking that being an artist is a right, to discovering that it is a privilege!
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini’s Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov’s excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.