A music theme is powerful, direct, understood, loved, remembered when it is simple! From nursery songs to Doctor Zhivango’s main theme, from Beethoven’s two notes in 5th symphony to Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, simplicity prevails!
Who could argue with Einstein’s beautiful equation e=mc2? It resembles Newton’s first law f=ma. Simple, universal, powerful. Like life itself! Had Einstein’s law had 12 elements and advanced mathematics, everybody would question it, because it would be too pretentious… Because we do not trust complicated things that try to describe something ‘Big’… like music tries to portay when talking about love, joy, death, loss, loneliness and so on.
Is it because we all come from the Renaissance and the years of enlightenment, when people believed in Divine harmony, order in universe and stability? Most of the ‘systems’ that tried to describe something cosmic with simple terms failed in several ways, from the Harmony of the 8 spheres that Pythagoras first conceived in Ancient Greece to Einstein’s relativity had it wrong… one way or another… Of course Einstein was proven wrong and then right again and possibly wrong again and so on, and Pythagoras gave to the world the 8 note structure of music Do Re Mi Fa Sol, La, Si, Do which is unbeatable, and so universal… but was very wrong about the harmonic balance of the planets…
But my point is: we all tend to believe in Simple things. When they get complicated, it is not that we just can’t follow them, it is mainly that we don’t trust them.
Truth is always simple. That’s unbeatable. Universal.
Art must be that as well! Music at least. It must be simple, at least on the outside to have a basis of trust created with the audience. As you come closer and look (hear) inside, you should see maybe more stuctures, but they have to be rigid and standing on their own and complementing each other without destroying the overall outside simplicity. Because if this happens, the trust bond with the audience is broken… and people do not like anything they don’t trust…
Simplicity, like the truth is probably the most difficult to achieve without being trivial. And that’s where the whole journey of the artist begins…
Truth is always simple.
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