HAS A REALLY GREAT TUNE ever come into your head – one that you’re sure is going to be a massive hit and make you a star – but by the time you get to a machine to record it you’ve forgotten it?
Professional composers have just the same problem. They have different ways of dealing with it. Some jot it down in musical notation, in a notebook they carry everywhere, or maybe even on the back of a bus ticket or a business card. Some might use a portable dictation machine – the kind of thing people in offices might use to record a memo or a letter they need to write – though the sound quality is not ideal for music.
But nowadays, with digital technology making high-quality recording equipment smaller and smaller, there are much better ways. Until recently, the minidisc recorder was the solution for many musicians and composers. Now recording MP3 players and mobile phones are all a composer needs to catch that moment of inspiration.
Here’s Jason Yarde describing how he can capture every musical idea wherever he is.