Trevor Babb

Guitarist – Composer

Filtering by Tag: composition

Welcome to the Contemporary Guitar Blog! [or] Why I do what I do...


Welcome to my newly revamped website! I've migrated my website from Wordpress to Squarespace and I'm now able to keep up with website maintenance immeasurably easier! I encourage you to look around at my new content and hope that you find this platform appealing.

But before you click away from this page, I'd like to introduce my new blog: The Contemporary Guitar Blog! On this blog I will be writing about all things pertaining to contemporary music and the guitar. My own professional activities will certainly influence the content of this space, but I also hope for it to be a place where I can cultivate a community of people who are interested in contemporary music and/or the guitar and having reviews, interviews, and other content that is about the work of others in my field. I hope that you will keep coming back for enlightening information about the world of contemporary guitar music and I'd like to see this become a place where a community of guitarists, composers, and other contemporary music enthusiasts can come together.

I'd like to introduce the blog with this first post to address why I do the things I do. After all, many of my friends and colleagues may view contemporary music as being difficult to play, difficult to listen to, unpopular, etc. So why on earth do I devote so much energy to playing this strange music?

First of all, I find playing contemporary music to be incredibly rewarding. The challenges that must be risen to, the problems that must be solved, the off-kilter energy of the first performance of a new work, and the endorphin-like rush after the double bar keep me coming back for more. Wrestling with music that no one else has played before and presenting to an audience for the first time gives me a rush that is unlike any other. And seeing the joy in the eyes of a composer who heard their musical ideas transform from notes on a page into waves in the air is one of the most rewarding experiences ever.

The connection of the composer and the performer brings me to my second point for why I do what I do: the sense of community fostered among musicians who play and compose contemporary music. In many areas of classical music, the quickest road to success is to win competitions by playing music better than your colleagues - as if there were some way to objectively judge a superior performance. In the world of contemporary music, I've found that success comes from people who cultivate relationships in the field with other composers and performers. The sense that "we're all in this together" is very strong among performers and composers of contemporary music and the kind openminded people I've met in my journey through this music are lifelong friends as well as colleagues.

My friend Mark Stewart said that playing contemporary music is akin to drinking a home-brewed beer: "good or otherwise, it's always fresh." I love playing this music because it's alive, changing, and always trying something new. Being on the leading edge of music as it adapts to the world we live in is incredibly exciting. 

Lastly, I play this music because I love sound. Not just music, sound. Whether it's the sonorous sound of a major triad, the percussive click of muted strings, rich ear splitting feedback, or the street noise coming in the hall from outside, it's all music to my ears. I love the ways that imaginative composers choose to arrange sound into cohesive works of art and get a huge rush from hearing something new for the first time. It's an exciting field to work in and I'm always ready for the next masterpiece to drop. Watching the future of music unfold before our very eyes is an exhilarating experience and I hope that you will join me on this mellifluous odyssey of new music! 

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