18/40 3 Pieces

30 Days June 2013 was the 9th official iteration of the project. As part of the post-op, I wrote up a small description of 3 of the pieces I did. It’s a small insight into the creative process as I experience it.

Geometry
I wanted to create a “New York school of minimalism” piece that would sound like something you would hear in a brick warehouse art space and have strong emotional impact. I’d also been reading some articles about the cult of Pythagoras, and how 5 was a very important number in that line of thinking. So, I made a piece in 5 with a bass line in 3, then the violin solo basically in 2 or 4 depending how you hear it. The thematic elements repeat at different rates and weave in an out of each other’s way, sometimes harmonzing, and always re-contextualizing each other. Once I had all that in place, the title appeared by itself.

Baby
My original goal with this one was to create a set of lyrics where 1 line would end with the word “baby”, but the beginning of the next line would somehow use that same word in a different context. I’m not sure that goal remained very well intact…but I did enjoy playing with the different nuances of the word “baby”, and the numerous double entendres in there. I was quite surprised with how easy it was to sing in this style – I’d read once about creating a character, and that the character might do the singing better.So, that’s what I did, and I must say “he” sang it better than I could have :-)

On Joy
Did anyone recognize this melody? :-) I had decided to riff on some JS Bach, and I really enjoyed playing the melody in rapidly switching un-related keys. For example, I start in C major but jump quite quickly to A Flat Major – one shared note, but not related keys at all. The shifts in keys really felt like they were suggesting themselves and I tried to follow that as much as possible. I must confess, though, that I edited this a lot and made many mistakes along the way. There were a number of passages where I performed very sloppily but I just kept going with the improvisation, then went back later to listen to and memorize what I’d done, and replayed it more cleanly. What a huge difference there is between improv and “performance” of this sort. I often find that I really can’t perform something that I was able to improvise because I’m much more carefree when “noodling”.

For me, one of the biggest lessons in this 30 Days was in allowing myself to just “play” more. I allowed myself to just “noodle around” while avoiding critical judgement as much as possible, all the while secretly knowing I would be recording and re-working the material later.

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