• Colin Porter

2 - any...Questions ???

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Questions, Questions, ...


So I'm up at 1 in the morning. Why? It seems that there was unfinished business I had to tend to before I could enjoy that luxury. After a full day of audiobook narrating, hiking, and more audiobook narrating (maybe a couple of meals somewhere in there), I worked on some mixing to one or two songs I've had for a few months now - one, I've had for over a year. I had to tear myself from the controls in order to get some rest. While settling, I reflected on some recent personal challenges I have been dealing with. Since this particular entry is intended for another focus, I will just say that within the last 2 years, in quick succession, there have been at least 3 big life events, which have all drastically affected my family life, income, and overall lifestyle.

--Back to the subject at hand--

These challenges I refer to present unknowns to me on a daily basis. They are persistent and keep me busy constantly, just so I can keep up with this new life of mine. I listen to some 'new' songs released by the estate of the late, great genius, Prince Rogers Nelson. Then switch over to Leslie Odum, Jr.'s 2014 self-titled album. Love it! I have especially been appreciating his controlled and clear tenor tone with a minimalistic fusion of jazz and broadway. So...why am I up at 1:30 in the morning? Oh yes, I had a song on my mind. I was INSPIRED and just had to put it down before I forgot it. Five years ago, I could not conjure inspiration into my life if I tried to beat it into myself. Now, sometimes I can't control it. I believe creation is a powerful responsibility - a gift from the original Creator in Heaven. This time, though, inspiration has brought a lot of questions along with it.


Have you ever listened to Charles Ives' 'The Unanswered Question'? I do recommend. It makes frequent appearances in music conservatories across the world, in undergraduate theory classrooms. It isn't flashy, or played at a swift tempo. It's purpose is intellectual. We are all used to hearing music in a certain way. If the notes are 'off', anyone with a musical ear would notice and react viscerally. The Unanswered Question challenges our expectations for enjoying a tonally-pleasant sound bath (as one of my old professors used to put it...hi Doug Richards!). One short motif, played by a solo trumpet throughout the piece, appears amidst a complex tonal smorgasbord of orchestral mutterings. Yet, even though the piece is played by an entire orchestra, the trumpet motif is alone. I mean this in both a musical AND figurative sense. The motif poses the question, while the rest of the orchestra mutters along in conflicting musical keys, or tonal centers, not at all complementing that of the trumpet. This continues for 6 minutes - and with absolutely no resolution (musically or figuratively) - EVER!


But, how does Charles Ives tie into my being here...at 2 in the morning? Not that I deserve to have all the answers or total peace of mind - I certainly do not. I do, however, have many, MANY, unanswered questions of my own, as anybody has. As they replay in my mind, sometimes they are louder than at other times. Yet, that same motif is sure to cycle around for another time. In the daily chaos, I find myself expecting the natural answer (if there is such a thing) - something I can recognize, something familiar. Truth is, I'm wasting time with such an expectation. This is a place I've never been before and the situation most certainly did not come with instructions. If I expect to grow and mature through it all, why, then, should its outcome be any different?


~CP, June 12, 2019, 2:17 am EST


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