Imaginary music

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Dog Sniper
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Imaginary music

Postby Dog Sniper » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:19 am

Describe your experiences in imagining music, viz., performing pieces of music, whether in fragments or in whole performances, entirely from memory and within the imagination.

My understanding of imaginary music has come to be thus: there are two levels to it, viz., 1) the knowledge of the melodies and other basic "data"; and 2) the capacity to produce, within the mind, a realistic and satisfying orchestral sound.

The first point implies that you know enough about the music in question to be able to hum, or whistle, the melodies accurately; the second point implies that you have become familiar with a specific performance, viz., through repeated listening to a recording of it, that the sound of the music can be heard in the imagination, in momentary glimpses, as with myself, or, for some people, in protracted states of audiation, in which the recording plays itself back within the mind, in the same manner in which people with photographic memories can remember the exact details of a visual scene. Point 2 implies point 1, but not vice versa; point 1 can be constructed, as it were, from the memories of different performances, whereas point 2 implies a deep intimacy with a particular performance, viz., a recording.

As I have said, I have had brief glimpses of perfect imaginary musical performances, and they always have a profound effect on me, emotionally speaking, because the music that I am so familiar with as to be able to play it in my mind, from memory, is generally music that affects me on an emotional level, and thus appeals to me. These brief experiences have not been voluntary, but seem to me to be the result of some subconscious phenomenon in my brain; typically, I'll have the melodies going through my mind, and suddenly they'll morph into the exact and perfect sound of the recorded performance, as though someone had spliced the recording in at that particular point; and, oh, what a beautiful and electrifying experience it is to have the exact sound flowing effortlessly through the mind, as though a temporary breach in the divide between the conscious and subconscious minds had been formed, and beautiful and perfect music had been allowed to pour in from some recess of the subconsciousness, where it had hitherto lain dormant, and off-limits to the conscious part of the mind; thrilling sensations move through me, and it is as though I were stricken with an astounding revelation; yes, liken it to an orgasm, if you must :twisted:; but these experiences are never protracted, and always fade from my grasp after a few seconds, leaving me to lust for more, or better yet, for that secret which will grant me willful control over this wonderful phenomenon of the mind, so that I might experience these sensations at a conscious command, on a whim.
Last edited by Dog Sniper on Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby emeraldimp » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:33 am

I experience both; I don't usually listen to the radio or my iPod because I have music playing in my head nearly all the time. Admittedly, some of the time I can't remember the entire piece (or I blend two or more together, oh the medleys I could write if I could remember what I did!), but generally I get full orchestral sound, not just a fleeting melody. Sometimes I can even create substantially new pieces (usually at about 2:30 in the morning when I'm trying to sleep) in full orchestration (sometimes played better than the orchestra I'm imagining actually plays...), but writing these down has never been successful.

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Interesting...

Postby Dog Sniper » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:43 am

Interesting...have you ever been seized by stetches of perfect performance, in which you hear not only a relatively vague orchestral sound, but the exact orchestral sound of a particular recording? This is the phenomenon I seem to catch brief glimpses of from time to time, and which I suspect certain others can obtain on a whim, that is, it's a perfectly natural and effortless feat for them.

I don't seem to easily create new pieces, though sometimes I fancy I dream of original, and quite nice, melodies while I'm asleep, which I believe to be an action of my subconscious, or some hidden mental facility that is denied my conscious mind to utilize; but as I fall asleep, it slowly comes to life, and I fancy I perceive vague musical sounds entirely of my own invention, and which seem to please me to a fair degree; as though I were standing shrouded in a thick fog, and were hearing faint sounds of music from the interior of some building just beyond it. However, I never remember these, and they certainly have no structure to them. While awake, I've utterly failed at penning any good music; I've no compositional talent whatsoever. Whenever I try to think of new music, the music of other composers keeps intruding, as though my mind were more at home imagining music I've come to be familiar with, rather than inventing new melodies.

As to blending two distinct pieces of music together, I certainly can't do that; I can only switch between two train tracks in my mind, and when I try to blend in the second piece, my mind can't help but divert 100% to this second track, and follow its course instead. A common phenomenon is for me to be imagining one piece, when, at a particular point in the piece, viz., a kind of junction shared in common with another musical piece, the performance will "morph" into that of this different musical piece; I mean, it continues from this junction as though it had been playing this different piece all along. This can be controlled, and is merely a consequence of me giving my mind too much slack, as it were, or allowing it to wander.

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Re: Interesting...

Postby emeraldimp » Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:11 pm

Dog Sniper wrote:Interesting...have you ever been seized by stetches of perfect performance, in which you hear not only a relatively vague orchestral sound, but the exact orchestral sound of a particular recording? This is the phenomenon I seem to catch brief glimpses of from time to time, and which I suspect certain others can obtain on a whim, that is, it's a perfectly natural and effortless feat for them.


Well, whether or not it is exact I'm not sure I could say, but it certainly often seems to be, although I doubt I could discover new nuances to the recording from my memory of it.

Something I can't do, and have always wished I could, is look at a score and hear the full orchestra playing it. I can get a line or two, but anything else requires me to actually hear it or analyze it.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:11 pm

oh the medleys I could write if I could remember what I did!)
You know, it's quite likely that becuase you are falling asleep the melodies you feel at the time are good would not be as good once realised.

I'm the latter one, I can orchestrate in my mind.

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Postby emeraldimp » Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:42 pm

ArcticWind7 wrote:You know, it's quite likely that becuase you are falling asleep the melodies you feel at the time are good would not be as good once realised.


Maybe, although I frequently do it while wide awake, too. (Maybe I'm just delusional... ;-) )

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:18 pm

Oh I don't doubt the ones while you are wide awake are indeed as good as you think the while you conceive it. I am just a little bit cautious as to the strength of pieces conceived while half asleep. Because I have done the same (Although luckily I remembered it {well... the beginning of just the melody} and wrote it down in the morning... it was quite bad :p). Not saying that is definitely is bad or worse than you think, I just question it a little. I may be completely wrong, but I hope I'm right for it really would be a waste just forgetting good melodies!

Interestingly, when I had delirium from a fever or something (I actually think I stayed up to late composing...) I remember trying to analyze the whole of Schubert's Erlkonig while in bed. Without much success I might add. :p

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Postby kongming819 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:15 pm

Wow I didn't know other people had the same stuff going on in their heads...

I constantly hear music in my head...right now I can hear Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges...

However with pieces I know particularly well, (e.g. Le Sacre du printemps) I can sort of piece together what I consider to be the "perfect" performance.
With pieces I don't know as well, I can remember a part of it, then sometimes either I go into another piece inexplicably or I repeat that same part because somehow I am able to connect it to the part I began with. Kinda like a loop on an audio editing software...

And yes I like orchestrating in my head too...works better with piano pieces. :D

Despite all of that, I can't write music to save my life. Unless you consider arranging, transcribing, orchestrating, etc. "writing" music.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:43 am

You could get the (often) uncredited job of orchestrating composers works for films. :P

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Postby kongming819 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:02 pm

Ah man that would be awesome if I were actually credited though

But no I can't really match those orchestrators...

I think John Williams partially orchestrated his own music, much like what Bernstein did with the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

But anyway those are masterful orchestrations...can't do it! Argh!

I get a vague idea of what it sounds like orchestrally, but I can't work out what I was thinking...by vague I mean vague

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:09 am

Hehe, :P

Williams, uses a two piano short score with orchestral notes, such as identifying a passage for trumpet. I'm not sure if that's what you are implying or not. :p

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Postby kongming819 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:30 am

Ah I think you mean 6-stave film score? Yes I have actually seen a couple of those, with some instrumentation written in.

Anyway, back to imagining music, sometimes I find myself skipping over parts because they're boring and I thusly jump ahead, but sometimes, in the process of doing so, I think I miss some important transitions into the next part. Although sometimes I can go on without many problems, many times I end up jumping to another part, either ahead or waaaay back or to another piece altogether. Funny how I just randomly piece bits of pieces together. And sometimes, it actually makes sense :shock:

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Postby Vivaldi » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:53 pm

Oh I can play back the whole of the 1st movement of Eroica and the 5th symphony and the final movement of the 9th Symphony by Beethoven in my head anytime of the day.

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Postby spiders_hate_chestnut » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:11 pm

I've had a full orchestra go through a symphony in my head. I had started a simple melody, kind of like Mendelssohn's theme from his octet, and as I was falling alseep, it had turned into a full orchestral piece. The violins carried on the theme and the winds were accompanying.... But I fell asleep before it could be finished.


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