Leave It Somewhere To Go

For my Gravity Falls piece, ryumarumg brought up an excellent point:

Hm. I like the beginning, builds a bit of suspense. I expected the brass to kick in sooner, but after listening to the whole thing I realized that it would have made the song feel much shorter and less full. Nice use of the strings for the main melody, too!

Here’s my thoughts on that:

Frank Sinatra always told Nelson Riddle to hold back on the brass in his arrangements because his thinking was to “leave the song somewhere to go”. It’s part of why Nelson Riddle is one of my favorite big band arrangers. He knew what he could do, but he teased the listener, push-pulled, and had a full bag of tricks that never got old because he sprinkled them in rather than beat you over the head with it.

To understand my style more, all you have to do is look at Daniel Kahneman’s TED Talk. The way things end matter more than the beginning or the middle. Almost our entire memory and/or rating of something is determined by the emotion that it left us, rather than what we experienced in full. For example, Transformers 5 could be the most boring movie ever, but if the final 20 minutes are amazing then we’ll say the movie was “OK”. However, if the very first 20 minutes were amazing but the rest of the movie was the most boring movie ever then we’ll say “the movie was absolutely horrible.”.

I grew up loving Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra’s advice because I apply it to everything I do. Sure, a movie’s first scene should grab your attention, but if it’s all explosions all the time then it gets tiresome. The same with any “art”: a book, a painter’s catalog, a chef’s dish, or even making love. You have to slowly build up on the intensity while making the entirety as perfect as possible. But if the final and last impression isn’t memorable, then anything that came before it is lost.

It’s said that the secret to a memorable piece of art is to make a good beginning, a good middle, and a good ending. But one thing I’ll add to that is to make the ending a lasting impression, because that’s what an audience subconciously weighs their opinions on.

Although some people dislike my arranging style, it’s about tension and release - to the point that you’re anxious to see where the road leads how it will progress.

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