Towards Greater Clarity Of Sound

While I think percussion can be some of the most beautiful sounds in the world, others may feel that a lot of it is noise. This difference in perception often has a lot to do with both the clarity of the sounds being made, and the message being transmitted by these sounds.

As a percussionist, I have always striven to create a good sound. This is important to me. Even when I'm creating more of a noise type sound, I still want it to have a certain quality to it. I don't like leaving things up to chance, or just making an indiscriminate racket. To me, everything starts with a good sound. 

I also strive to have a sense of purpose in what I play. Paradoxically, in improvising, I never randomly strike things. There is always thought behind what I am doing. Even in the moment, at an instinctive level, I'm always asking myself questions about what I'm doing:

  1. What sound fits with the previous sounds I've made (or that others have made in a group situation)?
  2. What rhythms fit with what I've been playing?
  3. How can I connect things, especially disparate elements?
  4. Should I keep on with what I'm doing, or change course?
  5. How will what I do affect the things around me?
  6. Is what I'm playing clear or ambiguous?
  7. Am I doing something just for affect, or to show off?

These are the types of questions I also ask myself when composing. And the point for me is to always strive for greater clarity in what I do, both for my own understanding, and that of my audience.

~ MB

Deconstruct Yourself™


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