thoughts on music, design and literature

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Writing Music In My Sleep

Sometimes I actually write music in my sleep. The most common scenario is that I'll be doing something random in my dream, like walking on my old college campus. And in my dream I'll be listening to my Discman (this was the mid-nineties)...and on the Discman will be playing a new piece of music that I've never heard before.

Sometimes, if it's simple enough, I'll wake up and actually *remember* what I heard in my dream. Most of the time, that doesn't happen...especially if it's a complicated piece. In one dream, I went to the Disney Concert Hall and listened to the LA Philharmonic perform a very complicated symphonic work for a good five minutes. I woke up, and couldn't remember a damn thing about the piece.

Last night, instead of writing music passively in my dream (that is, by dreaming that I was hearing new music), I actually dreamt of sitting down and writing it. It was sophomore year in high school (which would correspond to the approximate age I started composing). My friends and I were riding our bikes in circles around my front lawn, when one them stopped and told me that he was taking a class on commercial production. His homework assignment was to create an ad for a beer company, and so he asked me if I could write the music for his ad. I said, "Sure, let me think up some ideas," and went inside, and sat down at my old out-of-tune upright piano. I then banged out a Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque Southern Rock tune, complete with lyrics:

"Where you gonna go, Jimmy...
Where you gonna go..."

Okay, well, the lyrics aren't exactly brilliant...but hey, it's not like dreams are supposed to make *sense*.

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