De Oriendo is a project devoted to a better understanding of the word "original" as it pertains to musical composition. It began as a way for me to try to tackle a twofold fascination that has been with me for the duration of my time at ASU, though I have not always been aware of it. The first half of this fascination is an enduring interest in tracing borrowed material used by composers and other artists throughout history. It seems that almost every research project I have undertaken in the last four years has had something to do with this concept. Scholars like Winton Dean, J. Peter Burkholder, and Sigmund Spaeth have spent parts of their careers charting out the genealogy of historical compositions, uncovering reused melodies and harmonic progressions in the process; the cases of it are countless, even among the most identifiable composers and songwriters. Since there is scholarship clearly demonstrating secondhand ideas in music, it becomes problematic to assume that the word "original" simply describes something completely new, that is, something that does not use material heard or seen before. The second half is more of a personal ambition: I thought that if I truly knew what composers and critics meant when they labeled a piece or an artist as original, then I could somehow find a way to achieve this distinction in my own attempts at composition and avoid that uninteresting, derivative sound I have always feared.
- De Oriendo
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