Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Relying on Inspiration

Many of my students have asked me where I get my inspiration. “What’s your muse?” they ask. I don’t believe the question is meant to offend me, but my students don’t realize that the best composers do not rely on “inspiration” to create music. There are already systems in place to generate material without the need for such new-age nonsense. It’s just a matter of putting oneself in a focused and clinical mindset, being a vessel for the structures and mathematical formulae of music.

For many younger composers, the word “muse” is merely a euphemism for drugs and alcohol. Even the most secluded Professors know that Rochester is the cocaine capital of Upstate New York. I’m aware that some of my students travel to Canada to drink alcohol and gamble. These vulgar activities are not of the mind but of the flesh, just as music composed by “inspiration” is not for the mind but for the ears and the sex organs.

Young people like to get “high” on drugs and alcohol. It is difficult to convince them that they can get just as “high” analyzing the cosmocentric complexity and deterministic chaos of my TANDY compositions. All Professors have a responsibility to discourage their students’ dependency on alcohol, drugs, inspiration, and muses. It may be difficult to go through life with an underdeveloped sense of structure and integrity, but drugs and alcohol are not the answer. Composition students should look to their Professors as role models, and Professors should set good examples as intellectually mature, cultivated individuals for whom drugs, alcohol, and inspiration are not substitutes for structural superiority.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Marc Geelhoed said...

I heard that Prof. McJeebie's first masterpiece, TANDY Concerto No. 51, was written in three days in 1981 in a coke-fueled haze. Is this not true, Professor?

4:05 PM  
Blogger Prof. Heebie McJeebie said...

Critic Geelhoed,

Apparently you do not have fact-checkers at that magazine for which you write. Please do better next time. It is not my job to educate you.

I am still awaiting the publication of your review of my Etudes for Computer compilation.

Astutely and steadfastly,
Prof. McJeebie

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Prof. Timothy Boulez, distinguished synaptopaedist said...

Ah, eh, well, dear professor McJeebie, have you ever considered the possibility of designer drugs as algorithmic tools? A recent collaboration between Berkeley neurologists and a group of composers affiliated with IRCAM has recently resulted in the development of pills that send specifically designed tone rows whirling through the nervous system. An invaluable aid to composition and a truly cultural high!

Yours,

prof. Timothy Boulez

10:06 AM  
Blogger Prof. Heebie McJeebie said...

Dear Prof. Boulez,

Thank you for your comment. Is your name pronounced BOO-LAY or BOO-LEZ (as in "Lesbian")?

While I must admit a certain curiosity regarding these educational drugs, I am wary of encouraging the use of any mind-altering substances when composing. If you look carefully at the work of Prof. Karlheinz Stockhausen, you will note that his best works were written during the period of his withdrawal from chemicals while his worst works were composed either while on drugs, visiting other planets, or meditating (which is meant to clear the mind entirely, a potential disaster for the intellectual composer).

I have made up my mind, Prof. Boulez, and I would only change it if it helped to prove my point. In this case, it does not.

Reliably yours,
Prof. McJeebie

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Marc Geelhoed said...

I did listen to your "etudes," Professor, and promptly put them in my Crapola pile, where they remain.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Prof. Heebie McJeebie said...

Critic Geelhoed, I expect all reviewers to return copies of my CD if they choose not to review it. You can send it directly to the Hotel Cadillac. Please have your magazine pay for the postage.

Resignated,
Prof. McJeebie

9:37 PM  

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