Two schools

For many years, I wrote music regularly, but without having time to listen as much as I might have liked to the music of others. As I’m at the stage in life now where I’m close to retirement and only working part-time, I’ve been enjoying the luxury of listening a lot more to many different composers. As I do so, the experience has confirmed an old impression I have that music (at least contemporary classical music) falls roughly into two schools: one relies on pitch relationships as a primary organizing element and the other seeks to create coloristic effects and the interplay of different timbres. I realize what I’ve just written is a vast generalization and over-simplification, but in the interest of brevity, that about sums up a lot of what I’ve listened to recently. My own music is solidly in the former camp, but as a listener, both certainly have their appeal! As electronics has become an ever growing part of the composer’s toolkit, the latter seems to predominant, as it seems (at least to me) that what electronics brings is limitless possibilities of sound effects. In that sense, I’m definitely old school, writing notes for musicians playing orchestral instruments to play.