Theme Variations

Day 214 Week 31 Q3 Thursday, August 3, 2023

You do not always have to do something totally new and different. There can be a great deal of creativity in creating a variation on a theme. And the theme does not always have to be one of your creations. After all, a good deal of the arts and literature consists entirely of variations on themes. As long as it is not too literally copying as to be plagiarizing, it can be considered to be original. 

In fact, the entire universe of jazz, perhaps more so than any other, leans very heavily upon the notion that composition is expected to be a point of departure.  And that point of departure can come not only from Broadway, Tin Pan Alley and the 1920s but, of course, from anywhere, including things written today.

The theme itself can be a short snippet of an idea like Beethoven’s Fifth, but what a creative person can do with a snippet is quite amazing. When we look at the hundreds of different vehicles on the road, they are like different species of dogs. There is a lot of variation, yet they are all recognizable. 

Sometimes creativity is comfortable causing along within well-established guard rails like a three-minute song or typical medium size for canvas paintings which include 20 inches by 24 inches, 24 inches by 26 inches and 22 inches by 34 inches. 

Sometimes all we need is a blank canvas or empty music staves to fill, and other times it is better if there is no container specified. 

You do not have to be original just for the sake of originality. Or how original is original anyway? Some days you need a breath of fresh air and other days a warm blanket, and sometimes both at the same time.

The range of expression amazes me every single day. We literally have infinite possibilities at every moment. Sometimes there are written rules, and other times they are not written anywhere but internalized by a large or small group of people.

Try to not get too caught up in the need to do something completely different and new and original, for you may create something that no one can relate to. Remember, people need some amount of recognition for relevancy.   

Also, what is relevant for the crested may not be relevant for any audience other than themselves. And the too is okay even if you are never paid a penny for it. This happens.

Do what you feel, and if you feel like variations on a theme some days, then what of it? Can you express yourself within a previously existing framework? Of course, everyone does it all of the time.