I want to tell you about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I’m not sure that this is a concept that non-musicians will care about or even understand, but I’m hoping you can. I’ve never really thought to tell anyone about this before, not because it’s a secret, but just because it’s such a regular part of my internal monologue that I forget that not everyone thinks this way.
In the my world, there are 2 different kinds of music: headmusic and heartmusic.
It might be obvious already what each one is. Headmusic is music that comes from your brain and heartmusic is music that comes from your heart. But those who aren’t artists might not understand the not-so-subtle differences between them.
Headmusic is music for intellectuals. It’s where you go in thinking you want to write something innovative or something virtuosic or new. I’d label much of Radiohead and Mozart, all of serialism, and most contemporary classical music as headmusic. Composers of headmusic want to make their audiences think, to notice what they’re doing.
Heartmusic is different. It’s all emotions. The composer writes from his or her gut. Romanticism, impressionism, film scores, and sad folk music are examples of heartmusic. Heartmusic may not be genius or innovative, but it makes the audience feel something. It’s music you don’t have to think about.
I’d say most of what I write is heartmusic. I have been criticized for my music being too pretty. First of all, I actually take that as a compliment, and secondly, I don’t see why my music always has to do something BRAND NEW!!! Art is all recycling anyways. We steal bits of what we like and mix them together and make them our own.
Of course headmusic is important. Without it, there would be little very innovation. And I do write it sometimes. But I can notice a distinct difference in how I write. Headmusic is all planning. Heartmusic is when the piece writes itself and all I have to do is figure out the notes. Sometimes I switch between headmusic and heartmusic modes within the same song. In fact, I’ve never written a piece that is completely headmusic (but heartmusic, many, many times).
Why am I talking about this? Because for the past week, I’ve been terrified that the new music festival I’m going to be participating in next month will be full of headmusicsnobs who look down on my work because it uses chord structures that Bach or Beethoven would approve of and can be enjoyed by the general public. But I never understood these atonal new music composers, these snobs who look down their noses at “sell-outs” like John Williams and Philip Glass, because if your music can only be enjoyed by other music theory nerds, then what’s the point?
I write pretty tonal music because people like it and it makes them happy and it makes me happy to create things that are beautiful.
In conclusion, HEARTMUSIC 4 LIFE!!!!!1
PS: I’m not dissing atonal music. Apparently it’s actually genetic whether you enjoy it or not, isn’t that strange? I am, however, dissing people who write weird music for the sake of being different. Stop it. It’s insincere and I hate you.