David McIntyre

Getting Inspiration from Other Composers

One of the highlights of Monday's Calgary ARMTA Annual General Meeting was the lecture-recital by Canadian composer David McIntyre. I enjoyed hearing about what inspired him to write some of his works. For instance, he said that his work Better Days for solo piano was initially "Bitter Days" - written on a bad day. Another was nicknamed "Chuga" because of the rhythm. I need to get my hands on his Pro-Motion and E-Motion suites because I know my students and I will enjoy them immensely. I can picture a few of my young male students enjoying "Drive" (with its er, driving rhythms).

Several of his works are written for family and friends, such as his Anniversary Suite.

Something clicked in my brain after hearing that. Here I've been, stumped for the past two months on how to write a collection of reflections about my old babysitter who passed away earlier this year (she was like a grandmother to me). I was stumped on things like what colour her kitchen was and just what old toys and games I pulled out from the boxes in her attic. I couldn't get past those details so I kept pushing back the project.

When one can't find the words, why not use music?

I composed the first draft of the first of a set of three songs. It's about baking with Nanny, one of my favourite memories. I tried to create melodic lines to represent myself as a child talking with Nanny over what to bake. It's very sing-songy, like all children's songs. I just need to work out a few kinks.

I already have ideas for the other two songs (about adventures at the park and up in the attic) but I'll keep on improvising until the tune and rhythm bursts forth from within. That strategy seems to work.

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