Thursday, October 30, 2003

Organic Structures

Writing Creative Nonfiction has actually been a very interesting book. Again, it's the sort of thing I wish I had found more interesting freshman year in college. Along with other recent books I've read, it's making me think more about the writing I'm reading, and appreciate better what's going on in it.

Probably the most interesting chapter for me was the chapter on Structure. That's always something I'm curious about in a work of art: how it's put together. It also tends to be the aspect that's most mysterious to me, and the one I wish I knew more about. I particularly apply this to music. From all my music classes, I've managed to get Sonata Allegro form down pretty well, but I'm still pretty vague about anything else. (Whether this is my fault or that of the classes, I'm not sure. If I could, I'd take the classes again to find out.) Whenever I'm in a compositional mood, what I most want to find is an interesting structure, but I don't know how to go about creating one.

Part of the Structure chapter in this book was on "Organic Structure." Based on the name, this is the sort of structure I tend to be looking for. I've had those keywords knocking around in my head for a long time. I like the idea of a piece that seems to have evolved naturally somehow, with the interconnectedness of a living organism, and without blatant marks of human creativity upon it. I've even drawn some things that somewhat approach what I'm thinking of, but I don't know how to translate that sort of idea into music. The mention of Organic Structure in this book got me excited, since it seems that getting this sort of structure in writing would relate to music in it's linearity, which to me is the trickiest thing about it. Unfortunately, this section of the chapter was the least understandable to me. After a few readings, I think I'm starting to understand how it works in his specific example (somebody writing about glacier formation) but it's still hard to make it into a more general idea. But it'll give me some stuff to think about at least.

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