Painting with Sound

I'm a visual person, a visual thinker. So for me music is a very visual activity. When I'm working with sounds, I'm thinking of them as much as colours as anything. To me, both time, and the air, are my canvas. Sounds are colours to paint with. It's a type of painting that moves and changes, rather than being confined to one location (like a canvas or wall). 

And I see (or is it hear) mixing sounds like mixing colours to create different shades: a Gong and a bell, a drum and a cymbal, etc. In fact, my current fascination is combining sounds to create new and different sounds. I spend a lot of time working with different combinations to see what works, what type of shades I get. I also try out different sticks, mallets, implements, to experiment with different textures and gradients of sound. For me, a sound is never just a sound.

Different sounds & textures

I've always worked this way. I remember back in my early band days being as concerned about the texture of what I was playing, as I was about the rhythm. One result of this was how I often played with a mixed/mismatched drum set up. Instead of having, say, 4 toms of different pitches, but the same tonality, I would have a mounted tom, a timbale, a roto-tom, and a floor tom, giving me different pitches, but also different sound textures.

Magic bags of textures…

I know this won't work for everyone. But it's the way I think about and experience music. How do you experience and think about music?

~ MB


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