Scott McGill: An intuitive approach does not exclude formalism

What about the idea that the untrained ear is everything with respect to musical creativity?

An intuitive approach does not exclude formalism and I’ve known and worked with great players in both categories. The argument “don’t read music or your creativity will be shut off” does not stand up to scrutiny. I can give you examples on each side of that argument in every case. I always wanted to read music so that I could grab some sheet music and use the notes in a different way. It was all about grabbing licks for me.

So, you see a music score as a playground rather than a cage?

Precisely. I listen to a score and think ‘What could I do with that?” For example, I’m doing a couple of pieces that have borrowed ideas from Ravel at the moment.

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