“Quality is acheiving or reaching for the highest standard as against being satisfied with the sloppy or fraudulent. It is honesty of purpose as against catering to cheap or sensational sentiment. it does not allow compromise with the second rate”.
This quote is from The Decline of Quality, by author Barbara W. Tuchman (from an article from NY Times Magazine, Nov.2,1980)
“The arts are not simply skills: Their concern is the intellectual, and spiritual maturity of human life…the arts have become the custodians of those values which most worthily define humanity…” Robert Shaw, conductor
I often reflect that discipline does not, in itself, change us. However I believe it can be said that it does provide a behavioral frame inside of which we can make critical and significant changes in our thoughts and ideas. If we are sensitive to, and act on, our best impulses. DIscipline=limits=clarity=focus on specifics=challange to create within a structure=ability to think in detail. And within a frame, or gestalt, through disciplied thought and action we can encourage or enable and watch the best ideas grow and take organic “qualities’ or properties.They become more multi-dimensional/ layered. They can become real ideas. Here is a quote from composer George Rochberg which adresses the issue of refining and distilling our thoughts and creative ideas -“grapple with the elements in a meaningful manner, then it,(the composition), will have force and spirit”. – Rochberg
More on Tempering the Work…
Composing at its best is a judicious blend of instinct and intellect. Emotion tempered with reason. A great work, I believe, is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty. Such a work satisfies the mind, together with that curious thing which is the artistic emotion. Stravinsky said,”if I were permitted everything, I would be lost in the abyss of liberty”. On the one hand he knew his limits, on the other he ceaselessly extended them. – Nadia Boulanger
And Then on Process…
“There are two modes of acquiring knowledge, namely by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, nor does it remove the doubt so that the mind may rest on the intuition of truth, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience” Roger Bacon-1526-1626 English Philosopher
Perhaps the composers frame or sequence of creative thought, as he chases the elusive muse, could go something like this: Imagine, Reason, Calculate, Execute and Evaluate: repeat- buy coffee- repeat.