Parallelism Between the Various Art Forms – And My Band Resumes Our Practice

My beloved Gibson guitar and I, in the comfort of my home, a photo taken by Cynthia

My life as such: our public performance in The Heeren – or rather the practice sessions leading to that one event – must have been draining to our band members.  Three months we were in hiatus.  It was the Christmas, the New Year, the Chinese New Year, and for me, much of my time has been devoted to photography.

As I was leaving the jamming studio Stone Jamz on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon carrying 20 kg worth of band gear, the band next door was playing the exact same bass line as what Cynthia has been playing in one of our songs.  Down to the exact same set of chords.  Either our drummer Wieke or guitarist Jason commented that we shall start to copyright our music.  I laughed heartily.  Maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was not; maybe it was influence, maybe it was not.

Recently, I have been hit with a revelation that I can pick on the things that I have learned while mastering on one art form and apply them to another.  It is efficiency, it is synergy, depending on how you see it.  It does not make the pain of hard work and frustration goes away.  But cross-discipline pollination of concepts and ideas and techniques seem to have by chance or by design invoked an out-of-the-box experience when I am stuck staring at the same art form for too long (see Medici Effect on innovation by cross-discipline interaction).

So what do I mean?

The concepts of subject standing out from the background (photography), every piece of work begins with a title (music and writing), a common theme and consistency across an album (photography and music), interesting variation in details (painting), mood (music), and technical skill (all).  Maybe next time before I take a photo, I shall have a title in mind, enter into a certain mood.  Maybe next time I write a piece of music, I shall consciously think of what my subject is going to be, what should be in the background.  Maybe next time I paint a picture, I shall apply the technical skill of the photography.  Maybe next time I write, I shall add a lot of interesting variations on not only what is in focus, but out of focus like what I would be doing when I paint.

After each photo session, I would have to sit down and go through hundreds if not more than a thousand pictures and see which ones are the keepers and what need to be done at my computer.  After each jamming session, I would have to do the same for the hours of recorded materials.  It is hard work, it can be frustrating.  Instead of looking at the color histogram, I look at the waveform of sound.  Unlike photos that I can make a decision to keep or to reject, what to work on at one glance, tidying up recording music materials take lots of patience in listening to each track from beginning to end, comparing to one track to another of the same song.  Instead of the highlight and shadow protection that I usually observe when I work on my photos, I apply sound compression to my recorded materials.  Same concept of bring out the details of the submerged creating a more balanced outcome.

My life as such: I still want my band to audition for Baybeats Singapore, a music festival.  Maybe for the year 201x, whatever x is going to be.

Related Entry: In Search for Styles – Of Photography, Oil Painting, Music Creation, and Writing


  1. Darkspore – Lol … I will let you know if I get into the rojak state. Honestly speaking, it is very hard to get there.

    If you look hard enough, you would realize that a lot of accomplished artists are cross-disciplined. Some known as writers but they paint. Some known as musicians but they (also) paint.

  2. Woah… very interested topic on cross discipline of various interests together.

    My interest in drawing/painting/doodling/ or what not had being crucify ever since my Art teacher graded me 49.5 for the Sec 2 Art exam. However, I have more interest in handicraft making, like paper flower (very useful during Valtine Day). Maybe I would focus more on Origami if I can find some more time.

    For Music, I always like the sound of saxophone. I have a guitar growing layer of dust at my house… ha-ha… Find it hard & painful to change chord… any idea how long it take to get use to that? I never got pass that stage…

    Photography is gradually picking up in my life since you intro D40 to me! So thanks Bro, it will helps a lot in my solo backpack trip around Australia!

  3. Ng – Ah, don’t let one exam disheartens you. I remember near-failing English exam once.

    I play saxophone too. And clarinet. I love these instruments and I play them when I was in school band as well as Hong Kong Youth Orchestra.

    Looking forward to seeing those I am sure lovely pictures from Australia bro!

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