I’m a romantic. Though definitely not a hopeless one. (Press play and then read on…)
What Is A Neo-Romantic?
In fact, I’m a neo-romantic. But what does that mean? Richard Wagner may have been the first person to use the word “neoromantic”. The irony is that he was using it to put down a musical style of his times. But people eventually used neo-romantic to categorize his music.
If you search the web for definitions of Neoromanticism, you’ll find lots of information and many viewpoints. I’m only giving you my own take on this style here.
For me, as a neo-romantic, I find that some of the important facets are: emotions, melody, and color.
Much of the inspiration for composing a set of pieces like these came from feelings. I do my best to be conscious about my emotions. But the truth is that these feelings often go beyond what I can make conscious. “E-motion = energy in motion”, as one of my mentors says. And often enough that motion goes far beyond anything cognitive.
This also means that I am quite open to emotional responses to my compositions. As an example, one of my VIP subscribers shared this beautiful and creative response after listening to this suite:
deeply soothing/ I’m in a woods, like the one in the photo, light flashing between tree trunks (something like my own backyard) / hopeful
…like peace descending after a struggle, the soundtrack of a film where the character went through a type of hell…and came out the other side intact(a VIP subscriber)
In many styles and genres of music, harmony is enough to get the musical expression across. Many composers use counterpoint, themes, and block chords to convey their musical ideas. In neo-romanticism, melody is another way to create musical ideas. Often, in my own compositions, one melodic instrument is not enough and so I develop two (or more).
Songwriters often use melody as the basis of their songs. Think of the singer-songwriter who uses the guitar or piano as accompaniment and their voice as the melodic interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if some songwriters have neo-romantic leanings.
Color in Neo-Romantic Music
In order to get emotions across with music, I like to use color. What I mean by this is that the instruments and harmonies of the piece offer contrasting musical colors.
You might think of color as something that is only visual. But I find it in music of every sort. Without color, music would just be a boring cascade of notes.
Color can be created in music using phrasing (how the next note connects or disconnects with the previous one), dynamics (louder and softer), embellishment (trills, extended techniques, etc.), and so on. It is the joy of bringing color into an arrangement that can keep me glued to this creative process for days at a time.