So I couldn’t sleep the other night. Don’t know what it was. Sometimes it’s like that and if I tell my wife I couldn’t sleep, she asks, “Why not?” And my answer is always, “if I knew why I couldn’t sleep I could probably do something about it.” So there are a number of remedies. I can go out on the sofa and read. Sometimes that works and then my wife asks me why I was out on the sofa and I tell her I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to bother her with my incessant and repetitive tossing and turning so I went out and for a while. And she asks “you couldn’t sleep, why not?” And I go back to the thing about if I knew, etc. Sometimes I go practice for a while. Then I fall asleep in the studio, and when I come back in the house she asks why I was out there and I tell her and she asks, “you couldn’t sleep, why not?” You get the picture. But, getting back to the other night, I was in my initial stage of tossing and turning and ordering myself to fall asleep, the stage before I go read on the sofa or go practice in the studio and as I was tossing, ordering, etc, I heard two bars of music. Orchestrated. Geez. So sometimes this stuff comes as you’re falling asleep and there’s the admonition to keep a notebook by the bed, which I rarely do, and it’s tough when you’re falling asleeeeeep, but this time I couldn’t sleep. So I went out to the studio and worked on the two bars for a while…have some chicken scratch in a notebook, and I plan on revisiting it and twisting it around until I have a piece of music I can present to people.
So there it was, 2 bars in and out of my head, and then I sketched it out. I heard a story once about Mozart riding in the back of a carriage and zing, just like that, an entire symphony popped into his head, like you might download a music file, and then all he had to do was get to his destination and copy it out. I don’t doubt it, but were did it come from? If you google “where does creativity come from?” you get a Quora quote telling you that creativity comes from the stomach. But whose stomach? Certainly Mozart heard that music in his head. Maybe it came from his wife’s stomach. I wouldn’t put anything past her. Mozart didn’t always have such an easy time creating, think about how that Requiem never got finished, but he did seem to have a direct line to another world of sound. Beethoven had to work things out over and over. As did most guys. Jazz musicians spend hours working on lines and ways to approach a harmonic construct only to cut loose when the mood strikes them. A melding of right brain and left brain. That’s creativity in action. It’s not one side of the head or the other.
So I’m posting this link to a short talk by Eric Kandel. Just something to think about. No big deal. Only the most important attribute of the human race. That, and love. And empathy. And the ability to cook something that tastes really good and is still nutritious. And the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Or sometimes not.