Week 16 – Ode To Joy

I have a tendency to wax poetic when I talk about music. I don’t know, I can’t help it. Sure I like talking about technique and craft, but sound, how does one describe sound? How does it make you feel? Everyone feels something different. My default word is “vibe.” I think if something is true, if there is truth in there, it has a vibe. Kind of like the cliche, if it feels right, it is right, which also makes sense to me. I think this week’s song (and arrangement based on Ode To Joy, from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony) is going for that.

The melody to Ode to Joy is set to a poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller. While the melody is simple (a beginning band can play it), it is also powerful and resounding. Kind of analogous to an architect building a skyscraper, Beethoven took musical motifs and built musical skyscrapers out of them. One aspect of Beethoven the composer that I like is that, he made lots of revisions and changes in the compositional/arranging process. Really struggled, whereas someone like Mozart, his music has that kind of flows from the pen vibe. Every note is right in place. Of course some of this might have had to do with Beethoven being in the Romantic era and Mozart in the Classical era. Stylistic differences.

Gospel music can be infectious. The sound is uplifting. So it seemed natural to me to combine the gospel tinge with the melody to Ode to Joy. I don’t really like musical genre descriptions, but here you go, gospel-jazz tinged Beethoven.

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