- A comment that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting:
- Eg., "My wedding day - and I know it's a cliché - was just the happiest day of my life."
- A phrase or expression that is overused and has thus lost its original impact; a trite saying; a platitude.
- Anything other than a phrase or expression (such as a plot device, etc) that is similarly overused.
- Putting a love interest into a film is a bit of a cliché.
A phrase that has lost its original impact due to overuse is not usually desirable in art (except, perhaps, minimalism) or life, but what would happen if you were recontextualize a cliché in an unexpected way?
Consider this sentence (excerpted from an incredibly-famous novel with the permission of the author):
"My wedding day was the happiest day of my life," said Wanda Hufnagel dreamily. "It's not every day that an act of revenge works out so perfectly!"
It begins with a cliché and is then immediately followed by information that places it in an unexpected context, and if you have read my (incredibly-famous) 9-part series on Composition Issues (note the handy link to it if you missed it!), you will know that one of the dichotomies that I believe is at the core of all successful compositions is the relationship between the Expected and the Unexpected.
And so, with this in mind, here is your next project:
- Write a composition that makes prominent use of one or more musical clichés, placed in a context that is unexpected/fresh/original.
- Style: There is no restriction as to style when it comes to your choice of clichés, but your aim should be to write something that falls into the broad spectrum of contemporary classical music. The question of what exactly constitutes "contemporary classical music" is well worth considering and discussing, but for now just think of it as an attempt to create art through music, as opposed to, say, an attempt to sell refrigerators and colour TVs through music (to borrow a concept from Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing")! [And no, I am not denigrating pop music; the best examples of music in any genre may be considered art. I don't buy into the "high art/low art" dichotomy!]
- Duration: A single movement, 3-5 minutes in length.
- Form: Any form, including one of your own invention, as long as it it can be seen to be an organic, motivically-unified composition showing development of musical materials.
- Instrumentation: 3 performers. One of them can be a singer, and no two instruments can be the same.
- Due date of score and parts: Friday, November 22 (5PM).
These will be performed at our end-of-term recital (Nov 29, Petro-Canada Hall).
Any questions you may have will be answered in class.