Can I share with you what goes into a song? The kind you are listening to right now while you are doing a thousand other things.
First you need to start with all of music that has ever been before. From the primordials making buzzing reeds and cat guts, from singing stones and antlers; not to imitate animals rutting or strike fear in warsome neighbors, but to just delight in sound. Then you need to hold all that in your hands and invent the machine by which you’ll transmute it into more frequencies than you can grab at. This is not quite the piano, but rather “from your lips to gods ear”; you are making a myth around the vibration, a golem thing that will walk away from you once the intonation is uttered.
You’ll need such grandeur to get through the next test: Melody, Harmony, Rhythm. The building blocks some professor type said you can break music down into, rather than the majestic lope of wildebeests or the crescendo of fucking or lapping ocean waves at dusk. So you need to forget your ancestors and cram your mouth, fingers, and feet into instrument!
You’ll now need to suffer a childhood without going outside so much, and a strange social sense of what performance is, and what it takes to be listened to, and how often the instrument is not freedom but heavy ballast dragging you down. However, it sometimes feels something akin to magic and you’ll eventually, after epic toils and years of servitude, be playing in slightly more frequencies than your once soft able fingers could ever dream, gnarled things that they are now. So you’ve forgotten, and sojourned to recall. Let’s get to the music you’ll say, but there is no one there to listen…In a forest somewhere there is the greatest performance a tree ever produced.
You will create your audience whole cloth, from sticks and stones, cajoling and caterwauling, bribing and biding. They will resemble you, but you’ll be separated by more than the height of stage and a strange set of personal freedoms in your attire, facial hair, or norms. Most importantly, they will recognize in you a kind of pity-able craziness that allows them to live through you. You will then tell them what they already know, and have heard before, but will find one twist on the melody or turn in the harmony that will make them call you genius. You may believe this determination or not, it doesn’t matter, you aren’t, no one is.
The thing is, you borrow at music and then you give it back. That’s the song, not the tune being played, but everything that surrounds it.