Antti Hernesniemi

Thoughts about Composing - Ajatuksia säveltämisestä

I am happy that I didn't study full time academic composing. Instead I studied medicine in Helsinki and played piano now and then. We had something in medicine that was in “apartheid”. It was (Finnish) ethnomedicine. I had to study to that without any formal training.

I began to study composing with all my energy more and with university musicology teachers at Helsinki University for ten years ago. Fortunately I was not in my twenties five-six years in a row in the hands of some academy composing teachers. I think I have found many, many good things without any formal education. Of course it is important to get influences and inspirations. But to be in a composing military, it is a different thing. And, I am a pacifist.

I think that composing education in Finnish classical music institutions is neglecting composing by intuition. I am myself making music with the momentary feeling - that I now want to play a new composition. In that way I have composed into large forms without a single written note e.g. on my first CD "compositions 1 - sävellyksiä 1".

I feel that we should begin to see that many other composing and music systems - than only the European / Western note-bound music system - are as important as that. I trust that new and vitalizing music comes from the composers and musicians - no matter what gender - who play music "straight to the sounds" - making "classical contemporary music without notes". We have very good music recording devices for that.

At the same time, musicologists should educate themselves to understand and analyze such hearing and instant instinct based music forms better and better. E.g. some fine jazz-musicians have always made expressive colorful music by playing it straight to the sounds. Sculptors and painters do it quite often : create their art straight into the material. Why not musicians too ?

Composers can compose large and quality compositions without a pen and a paper (or a computer program) - only with a proper instrument, e.g. piano ?

I can't see any great advantage in the common Western tradition that most teaching in the Western world in classical composing is done to make pupils learn to write notes - symbols of sounds, and not to play tunes, sounds.