Linear Thinking & Alice

A month from right now, I’ll be sitting at a table with Alice Parker, studying scores, singing, and talking music.

Over nearly seven decades of writing, Alice has developed a clear and compelling perspective in her music. She is a champion of counterpoint – in the pre-Baroque way of thinking linearly.

As someone raised in the vertical, chordal vocal jazz tradition, it is a challenge for me to think horizontally. I audiate music from a harmonic perspective first.

All the more reason for a week with Alice, to stretch beyond my comfort zone.

I’ve been spending the last month or more working my way through her two books, The Anatomy of Melody and The Answering Voice. Each of them challenges me to consider my approach to writing music in new light.

I have been struggling to write here about these books; in part because I need time to internalize the ideas, and in part because, like her music, her writing is so clear and parsimonious that I have a hard time summarizing it further.

It’s my goal to publish a series of posts on these books and their concepts, along with the questions I will have for her. And then, with any luck – some answers after our week together!


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