May 09, 2011

Printing in the Minor Key?

Alongside of printmaking I love music.  I always have.  In our home, music comes on first thing in the morning and stays on until we go to bed.  At work, I plug my iPod into the radio and work along with music.  When I work on my prints there's always music to keep me company.  Neither Roland nor I are TV people and we hate commercial TV, but we'd be lost without music. 

These days, we mostly listen to classical because classical music provides a lovely and vivid curtain of sound without, most of the time, being too distracting. We both love pop music too, anything from heavy metal to electronica, but pop music tends to pull me in too much and away from what I'm doing and spells death to concentration. It's great if I'm cleaning house, working out in the garden, or walking the dog, but not so good when I need to really focus on something. 

One thing we both have noticed though, over the years, is that we tend to be drawn to music that's written in the minor key.  Regardless of genre, classical, rock, jazz, etc. the pieces of music we seem to attune to more than others, are all minor key compositions. I guess we subconsciously prefer the somber, darker and sometime more melancholy emotions invoked.  Is this somehow tied to neither one of us being really outgoing "people" people?  Hmmmm....

Anyway, why this whole ramble about music to begin with?  Well, it really struck me, as I printed the last colour of the Rooster print yesterday, that it's actually possible to apply the minor/major key distinction in music to artwork also. There surely are works of art that tend to resonate in a minor key sort of way (darker muted colours and themes, a sense of mystery or impending drama, etc.), while others, the major key ones, radiate a positive vibe. Oddly enough, despite my affinity for minor key music, most of my prints fall into the second category. Or do they?  

The caterpillar print seems to:

But the Rooster is for sure, at least at this point, a departure from the sunlit garden scene I'm basing this print on:

And yet I like it. There are still two or three colours left for this one and the look will change but just on the basis of how it looks now, I want to explore this type of scheme further.  Print in D minor coming up?


Libby Fife said...

I think we might be channeling each other or something! I just wrote a post about how I feel that writing and painting are similar. I love the analogy that you have drawn between printmaking and music. I like both prints so far but for different reasons. The first one seems to have a very assertive element and the second one feels calmer in an overall way. I like them both!

PS-We listen to A LOT of Jazz and big band music. When I am working I have the music on but with the volume on low. Otherwise, I just can't concentrate:)

Katka said...

Thanks as always Libby. We love jazz too. I can't remember a day when I didn't like big band music. Even as a teen I knew the words to all the Glen Miller songs and a whole slew of others. It's music that always makes me feel very nostalgic though I'm not sure for what. There's a sense of innocence and sweetness in it but I'm not sure people were all that much more innocent or sweet in those days.