This will be my last “Orchestra of One” post for awhile. It’s been fun, but I only have so much time available to me, and I want to put other things on Screenhog.com (comic updates, for instance, have been pretty sparse lately). However, before I go on my hiatus, I’d like to share a story.
Last year, I attended a concert in which an orchestra was about to perform Beethoven’s Symphony #5. Now, I’d already been composing music commercially for a few years, and I was feeling pretty confident about my own skills as a composer, thinking that I was a pretty awesome composer, if I said so myself.
However, any pride in my own abilities was pretty much crushed as soon as the orchestra started, though. The entire symphony was absolutely beautiful, and I sat in my seat amazed by the skill in what I’d heard. “Beethoven was able to come up with something this beautiful? 200 years ago? Without computers? WHILE DEAF?!?”
Clearly, I still have a lot to learn.
You do too. Beethoven1, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach… we will likely never get the point where we’re considered a master like they were. In some ways, that’s kinda depressing.
But on the other hand, we also have advantages that they could never have dreamed about. We have access to instruments that weren’t even invented when they were alive. Every major song created in the last 200 years can be instantly available to us to learn from. Musicians are paid more than they ever have been in history.2 And, most importantly, we have tools at our disposal capable of almost perfectly recreating the sound of an entire orchestra… by ourselves!
There has never been a better time to be a composer. I hope that the articles I’ve written so far have helped to inspire you, and I imagine I’ll be writing more in the future. If there’s a song you want to share, put it online3 and post about it in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve made.
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- It’s difficult for me to think of Beethoven without thinking of Schroeder from the Peanuts comic strip. So, here he is. ↩
- Yes, despite the high number of “starving artists” out there. It’s a frequently ignored fact that, throughout most of history, artists didn’t get paid (or if they did, it was in tangible things like room and board, not in money). ↩
- Getting a song online is actually pretty easy. There’s a lot of free webhosting out there. ↩