The average person will only ever hear what is called pop music, and farther than that music lovers often hear a broader range, but still incredibly limited in it’s sound. When listeners and musicians alike delve into the minds of students of sound, who have dedicated their lives to creating it and feeling the music in the world around them they often find something harsh, something clashy. It’s within these clashy tones that live music can convey emotion in ways unimaginable and near unapplicable to pop music. This is textural instrumentation and textural music.
The idea behind using the term “texture” in sound is a strange one since we don’t necessarily feel sound. What the use of texture is referring to is the amount of emotion and live energy flowing through the music being played, if that’s with a spoon on a bowl so be it but it’s this style of music that attaches itself to the soul of the listeners and sticks with them for eternity. Considering this, it’s important not to view textural music and you would a regular piece but an extension of language; and although some may disagree it’s this extension that I believe is key to textural music.
Using music to convey emotion takes it back to it’s barest of forms, strips it away from mechanical rhythms and chords and brings back the humanity in sound. Artists may spend years practicing away and being taught by others, to become a perfection of their instrument but it doesn’t mean that they’re a good musician. A good musician is somebody who can take all of that experience and tuition, take the fundaments of playing their instrument, all of their understanding of that instrument and pull all of that knowledge into themselves and make it their own. Not somebody who can shred a scale like lightning and hit every note perfectly but somebody who can shred that scale and make the audience feel every one of the notes inside them. A true musician is somebody who can make every note, every motion of their body count for something and reside inside the listener.
This takes us back to textural music, it’s where all that technique goes into the musician and nothing else. Learning textural music means learning to play whatever instrument you choose to the highest degree possible and then forgetting it all. Imploding back on your idea’s behind musical theory and making sound from yourself. When you strip back all of that form and shape from your study of your instrument what you’re left with is the ability to convey emotion. We speak without rhythm yet we can tell a story and make people cry. Or perhaps we speak with rhythm, but it’s a rhythm that isn’t structured and cleanly cut yet we understand it and feel it inside of us. This is how a textural musician plays. With a hidden structure of ties and emotion to weave a story about the listener.
To cut a long story short, and to bring the whole article back to my original point:
To become a textural musician:
1. Learn everything possible about your instrument.
2. Forget it all.
3. Spend as long as it takes feeling how emotion flows from the sounds you can make with your musical knowledge.
4. Play it for people, even if they hate it.