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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Visual Aspect
Category: General Questions
From: Jazz Online (sf,ca)

Is there a visual aspect to your composing/arranging of the songs that you write for the Pat Metheny Group? Do you ever try to write a song that expresses a particular visual image or are there any songs that you associate with any particular visual?

Pat’s Answer:

people often seem to comment on the "visual" thing with some of our stuff. sometimes i hear the word "cinematic" alot too.

honestly, no. i never really think about anything other than the music itself. it's way more than enough for me. i know there are some guys who go out and see a sunset and then write a symphony about it, but i'm not one of them. i'm usually thinking about the nuts and bolts of the music while i'm writing it- that is, how to get from this chord to that in the strongest, most logical way, how to make the melody have the feeling that it HAS to be this set of notes and could ONLY be this set of notes. that inevitable thing that in my opinion all genuinely good melodies have in common, from bird to stravinsky. how we'll treat these ideas orchestrationally,etc. there's NO TIME to be thinking about rainbows and colors and stuff!!!

however, after everything is done and i've got my cassette and i go out and drive around listening to it in the car (the best place to hear our music, by the way, especially REALLY loud), sometimes i'll see something out the window and the music will be playing and it'll REALLY go together great, almost like a movie or something. that is really cool, but i can only experience it as a listener, not as a writer, not yet anyway.