The Music of J. S. Graves

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An attempt to describe my music.

An attempt to describe my music.

08.04.2013 Article

I am no longer a complete rebel. I like harmonic and rhythmic complexity within reason, but the older I get, the more traditional, the more tonal I become. I have never abandoned the notion that good music must have good melody. For me, good music is lyrical and always shall be. Those who attempt to call chaotic noise music are participating in the linguistic and moral confusion of the contemporary world.

I suppose it could be said that my music is some kind of a mix of neo-classicism and neo-romanticism. Like many composers today I utilize aspects of both traditions. (My Classical Romance attempts to contrast the two.) I am also a minimalist in the sense that I strive to support my lyrical ideas with simple, primary harmony. The main question for me while composing remains, “Is this beautiful, does it sing?” Beauty always proceeds from form and balance. To put it another way, beauty implies form. There is a grammar, a structure to music. Music has nouns, verbs and modifiers. There is an intimate link between music and words. Words supply the bones, the skeleton upon which to hang the music. The words, of course, also supply the emotional direction of the music. That is why so much of my work is for voice.

Am I an "old fashioned" kind of guy? More on these ideas at a later date.


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