In the XXI century, by breaking the conventions and the traditional relations of sounds as used in the XVIII and XIX centuries, sometimes the music seems to go nowhere. There are changes in the music but one is expecting the music to go somewhere in a certain way and it does not. The chords don’t change too much and although you hear that the notes are changing,  you cannot detect a melodic thread that is pushing you forward. IN other words, the instruments may be playing all kinds of notes and yet you feel you aren’t going anywhere.

I found this happening recently when I was hearing new choral music at the American Choral Directors Association convention. Much music didn’t have a clear melodic element, you couldn’t come out of the concert remembering even one melody, and yet the compositions were varied, interesting and sometimes emotionally moving. So the music might feel like is not really moving, it might feel static and yet be able to affect you emotionally in a different way.

I’m still a fan of melodies but I can see the emergence of music that can impact you emotionally and intellectually without leaving you humming anything. It is something new. And I am seeing it more in choral than in instrumental music. But I am talking about classical music, not pop or rock or commercial music. That music is still using the harmonies of the past, the patterns and conventions of Western Music as practiced in the XVIII and XIX centuries, the “common practice” period of music. But I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there is something new coming. We’ll see how that affects my writing in the future.

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