Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ah, Bach . . .

I think I've shared this video before:


I've listened to Bach's music -- and this piece in particular -- since I was old enough to tune in NPR on the little transistor radio I got for Christmas all these years ago. This piece particularly captivates me in how Bach uses the same motifs, stretches of tune and other bits and bobs over and over again, changing them in pitch, speed, et cetera -- you can tell I'm not really musically inclined -- to make a wonderful bit of music out of some pretty basic parts.

Tonight, as I watched this video and listened to the music again, it dawned on me how similar writing music is to writing in general.

All regular readers here know I'm writing novels. And as all novelists, I have a few set pieces I may use over and over again, some to great effect, some to lesser effect, but they're always there, in the foreground, in the background, changed a little but always recognizable.

There are some writers -- like me -- who handle such repetition clumsily. But there are others, ah, the others, the Steinbecks, and Proulxes, the Clarkes and such, who re-use to great effect as they take familiar material and stretch and pound it a bit until it's something new.

I strive to become such a writer. We shall see.

1 comment:

Exploding Unicorn said...

Writing music is similar to writing in general, but the payoff varies greatly. Great music is rewarded with a standing ovation. Great writing is rewarded with weeks of silence followed by a single comment on your blog telling you to keep up the good work. To each their own, I guess.