Creating music | Writing about music

Andrew Bird

I write music, and I also write about music. So this quote from singer-songwriter Andrew Bird has some res­o­nance for me:

Ulti­mately, I think that writ­ing about music is a delib­er­ate act and has noth­ing to do with cre­at­ing music. The lat­ter is mostly an invol­un­tary response to being alive.

He also writes:

I think we‚Äôve all got a well that can be tapped and there fol­lows the sort of sequenc­ing or curat­ing of one‚Äôs own ideas.

There’s some truth to this. I mull it over when I write about music. I delib­er­ate over each word.

I do this when I write music, too, but my first instinct when com­pos­ing is to just get it out. You should curate your ideas and col­lect them. It’s bet­ter not to edit your­self as as you go along. (As opposed to writ­ing words, where I do edit as I go along.) The idea when writ­ing music is to let the inspi­ra­tion carry you, invol­un­tar­ily, to where you need to go! Besides, you can always edit later, after all!

You can read Andrew Bird’s com­ments, along with sev­eral other song­writ­ers, at this New York Times blog for songwirters.

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.