The reality of my life is that I have a finite amount of time to do creative stuff. And given my currently mercurial relationship with blogging, I’ve been giving more priority to music. That’s a little sad for the writing side of me (and, I suppose, for the reading side of you, haha), but the up side is that I made a new song and video!
Inspired by the poetry of my muse, Rachel Kann, this piece was specifically inspired by her latest poem on Hevria “The Beginning.”
(if you’re not into the actual structure and composition of music, feel free to skip these next paragraphs and just go listen to the song/watch the video, which is at the end of the post, down there at the bottom. See it? Great.)
A piece I simply adore is “In C” by Terry Riley. It begins with a keyboard piece playing a simple set of octave Cs. Each musician has a set of different musical ideas, and one by one, they add a new idea until the piece is a cacophony of separate ideas creating a whole, slowly shifting as the musicians stop one idea and add a different one. It’s glorious, and different every time since the musicians are in control of when they add their new idea; it’s not rigidly scripted like most classical pieces.
I modeled this piece off that idea of discrete musical ideas (I chose ones that are four measures in length) creating a shifting whole, and layered these ideas over each other so that there would be overlap as the “old” ideas phased out and the “new” came in.
In the middle of the piece, I started bringing in more of the old ideas to give a fuller sound, and to provide some more complex contrapuntal action. After that somewhat climactic (I hope) point, I bring in a line which modulates the piece from minor (mainly g and a minor) to Major (Bb and C, hello to relative keys!).
I began the composing process with the piano lines, designing an accompaniment for the clarinet line that I later brought in. I wanted the piano part to be interesting enough to stand on its own. Once that was finished, I improvised a clarinet line on top of it, using a similar melodic and rhythmic figure at the beginning and end to give a feeling of symmetry to the piece.
I did some of the recording while my children were occupied with a video, and you can hear them in the background on some of the musical segments. I could have re-recorded those lines, since they are fairly short, but I like the inclusion of the sounds of my life. I create art with and around my family, and it is the reality that even with designated times and spaces for creativity, my creating will spill out into other times and areas and overlap with other parts of my life. I love how this piece demonstrates what my creative process can be like, how my children are unintentionally incorporated into the piece.
For the video, I’ve had an idea to play with food coloring and water for a while. I placed a large clear, square bowl on a stool in front of my porch door, taking recordings from different angles in the waning light of the day, which kept with the melancholy mood of the music, I think. Just like the musical segments blend together to create a whole, the discrete colors swirl together in the water to form a new creation.
I especially like when the clouds are reflected in the water after it has become suffused with color.