There is an old adage that says, in effect, that before you break the rules, you must first learn them! This must surely apply to most things in life, unless you are a determined dadaist that wishes to make some kind of intellectual statement. But for most mortals, with nothing to prove, it simply makes sense to absorb what has gone order to perhaps nudge things on a little...or a lot depending on the size of your ego or the scale of your ambition...or both etc...

Just don't reinvent the wheel!

This advice applies to music as much as anything else.

So, don't be thinking that the only way to create something 'original' is to avoid the past, to not absorb it, learn about it or engage with it in any way, lest it influence you subliminally. Consider that a lifetime is short compared with how long humanity has been around; many more lifetimes have gone in to creating this thing we call 'music', largely through discovery, trial and error, happy accidents and who knows what. But the point is, it was passed on, perhaps theorised about...and each person that comes along, stands on the shoulders of giants - the people that came before them.

Instead, use the past as a launchpad from which to project your own creation. The chances are that it will sound a whole lot more acceptable to not just your ears, but everyone else too.

But there are times when you ought not to be thinking about...originality but rather respecting some kind of tradition; especially where authentic musical styles are concerned.

I can't just turn up to a big band rehearsal expecting to 'comp' classical piano style when you haven't listened to the great Jazz pianists; and if you don't have that tradition then you have some homework to do. That's if you are going for an authentic sound; which might well be 'expected'...depending on whose paying for the gig!

So, the advise is: study the past, learn about it all if that not only can you create authentic sounds when called upon to do so; you can also use it to create an original twist. That's enough in any lifetime!



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