Indeed, musicians find inspiration in creating music. This post shares a few ways. Let’s listen to discover some influences.
Sometimes musicians are inspired by something small or large. Either natural or man-made objects may influence. Our emotions are wonderful incentives for composing music. At times, the sublime and magnificent moves musicians to write.
Let’s start with the small. Listen to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tale of Tsar Saltan from 1899-1900. A character is turned into a bumblebee. This enables him to find his father. The musical section represents the flying of this insect. Here is the famous, Flight of the Bumblebee. Doesn’t this help you visualize the bee’s dramatic whirlwind of a flight? It is certainly circling near and far, up, down, left and right!
Inspiration in Creating Music: Dvorak
Secondly, we move to a larger influence. Antonin Dvorak had come to the “New World” in New York City. He moved from his native Czechoslovakia. Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “reflected his impressions and greetings from the New World” in 1893. Because he missed his homeland, loneliness is musically evident. Dvorak originally titled this symphonic section, Largo. Later, William Arms Fisher added lyrics. The newer version is renamed Going Home. Does it make your heart swell with longing to hear these sweet voices? Just listen to the music which fills this majestic space!
Sometimes inspiration in creating music finds composers motivated by other art. Marco Ricci’s landscape paintings inspired Antonio Vivaldi. Check out some of Ricci’s paintings here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/335594 Because of this visual art, The Four Seasons was composed in 1720 – 1723. Here is the season entitled Spring. Can you hear a lighthearted, springtime frolic? Is it within a sun drenched, tree lined flower garden?
Another musician, Shulamit Ran, is similarly influenced by other art. Her 2014 composition, Logan Promenades, is inspired by architecture. She translates the building’s artistic elements into beautiful musical form. Are you able to visualize the golden trumpets’ description? Do you hear the glorious strength and height of this structure? Can you imagine the echo of the trumpets representing the echo of nature reflected in the windows?
Additionally, George Frideric Handel’s 1741 Hallelujah Chorus always mesmerizes me. It is from the Messiah. In recounting his composing experience, he writes, “Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not. God knows…I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God Himself.” Is six hundred voices enough to feel the grandeur of Handel’s transformative experience?
Inspiration: Matheson on Music
Finally, here is a favorite musical detail. It is from Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come. This is the book, not the movie. The novel surprisingly contains a five and a half page bibliography. Its characters and relationships are certainly fictitious. However, all other details are research based. This particular part chiefly describes music in the afterlife. The music possesses not only sound, but also a simultaneous, ethereal display. It exudes energy, color and light! The music constructs a magnificent architectural structure!
I purposely chose these composers. Initially, the classical music example in Matheson’s book starts out small. Perhaps it is as tiny as Mr. Rimsky-Korsakov’s bumblebee. As it grows, it exhibits as much color as Mr. Vivaldi’s Spring. With time, the size increases in height. It is probably not as large as Mr. Dvorak’s “New World”. Next, this music is structured as an architectural wonder. Architecture inspires Ms. Ran. Finally, this multi-media experience is in the realm of the sublime as is Mr. Handel’s music. What an amazing production this must be! For now, our imagination must suffice!