I’m listening to Brahms Piano Quartet No. 3 in c minor (okay yes, just the 3rd movement) today.
It’s incredibly mushy, kind of drooly writing. Not cliche, but the type of writing that feels like, “oh, you just wanted to feel good.” Incredibly beautiful, but not really thought-provoking music. I’m obviously struggling with the correct words… it is just very unsurprising, but in a good way.
When I’m writing or hearing melodies/harmonies I feel like there are 3 options that the writer deals with:
1.) the easy, or first melody, that comes to mind
2.) The slightly surprising, more edited melody
3.) the “ignore most traditional rules” one
You rarely want to write within one category for an entire piece/song. If it’s all 1- then it’s predictable. If it is all 3- it is difficult to listen to. But if you write pulling from all three, you can kind of grab the listener, build trust, then go the weird path and then wonder back.
Back to Brahms. This piece feels like it lands in the first category for 85% of the time which makes it like a comfortable sweater. Or like a patch of sun falling on your shoulder.
Here it is, if you care to listen.