I think we are living in a great time for composing music. I feel anyone is allowed to write any way they want to. My music is always tonal - but sometimes dark in nature. I tend to write in a free contrapuntal style - sometimes reminiscent of other eras. (You can hear the suite I wrote for my daughter's wedding at www.rubendelgadoguitar.com
) I think any time period style is fair game for me to write in. For instance, I write some pieces as the lutenists wrote in the Renaissance. I write a theme and vary that theme throughout the piece. I just find some pieces lend themselves to that. Sometimes I blend romantic style with other styles. I often incorporate Latin elements into my music. If it works, I'll do it. Composing is self expression, and my self expression is the result of what I have been exposed to during my lifetime (I am biased toward tonal music).
One of my major goals in composition is to contribute to the development of a new tonal genre of music called American classical guitar. I feel America needs a classical guitar style that has an American signature, just like Spanish, French, German and Italian music. I feel we discount many of the stylistic sounds of American music because they are so common to us in America. We may not realize that people of other countries would like to hear these stylistic sounds in our music. When the average American hears a guitarist strum the E chord up a fret and then resolve it back down to the E, chills go up their spine because it sounds so foreign and "Spanish." It takes them "away" for a while. However, if you go to Spain an play that E chord the same way, the Spanish would probably roll their eyes thinking, "big deal." Well, our American music has those stylistic things that would sound foreign to those of other countries and those listeners would probably enjoy them as fresh, foreign sounds. Identifying those stylistic aspects of our music is up to the individual composer. An American style might utilize elements of folk, jazz, rock, etc. This is already happening is many compositions I hear. Andrew York is one example.
I would also expect a tonal American music would include elements from other countries that have been Americanized. America is unique in its diverse culture. We have integrated and Americanized many elements of other cultures and we have Americanized many musical elements from those cultures. Cajun music, Bossa Nova, Salsa and many different Latin styles have found their way into our lives. I believe all these styles could be integrated into an American music genre. This opens the door wide to many opportunities for composers who are willing to write without fear of criticism.
I also feel is that it's ok to be commercial in composing for the guitar. I always write with the idea that my music could be picked up and used as part of some kind of media. I know many people are shy about this and feel they should write for the sole purpose of creating art, but look at creators of other types of art. Writers (of prose) write to get published and make money off of their stories. They are not shy about this and they don't water down their writing in their effort to gain from their art. The same goes for poets, painters, sculptors and dancers. I personally would love for my pieces to make money. I work very hard on them and would like to benefit from them. I feel it would be a measure of their quality.
Another compositional goal of mine is to make my music accessible to a good majority of guitarists. I sometimes see people trying to write difficult pieces as if that is what defines them as high quality. I don't agree with that. I would never want to write a piece that only a couple hundred people in the world would be able to play. I want many people to play my music. Most of my music is at the level of the 20 studies by Fernando Sor. Some of my pieces are quite a bit easier than that. That's just the way they come out. I don't think anyone needs to apologize for the playing level of their works. I think it's the quality that matters.
Well, sorry for the long post. I'm afraid I branched out on a few different topics. If anyone would like to start a new topic based on any of the ideas I have included here, I would like to participate.
May music be with you, Rudel