Writing Music

I am writing music consistently again, for the first time in over fifteen years!

It started a few weeks ago, with an unusual chord progression on strummed acoustic guitar that I came up with quite a while back but never developed. After returning to it and messing around for a bit, I came up with a jaunty little bass solo to go on top of it; after three or four takes, I had it right. Then I added string synthesizer to fill out the harmonic structure. But rather than just using thick chords, I did three different single note tracks, separated in space to keep the texture transparent. Drums were next – first a prerecorded drum loop, then my own banging on hand drums and one of my kitchen chairs (which has a nice sound when thwacked with drum sticks). As I was doing this, I realized that the bass line, which was originally going to be supportive, was actually strong enough to be the lead melodic voice. So I added a few more synthesizer colors and some slightly rude punctuation toward the end by two electric guitars, playing in harmony a short phrase derived from another of the melodies of the piece. And that was that.

My next project is to take what I think will be the central melody of the composition, which in its initial form is heard in a Steve Reich-y style on marimba and then moves to spacey synthesizers with an added countermelody, and turn it into a polyphonic vocal piece. There will be two voices for sure, and possibly three if it doesn’t sound too cluttered. I think I will use “ah” sounds or nonsense syllables, rather than actual words. That same melody will also be slowed down and turned into what I think will be a pretty violin and oboe duet, accompanied by acoustic guitar, or perhaps harp.

I’ve assembled quite a few other bits, too – a quasi-Irish dance played on a recorder, a fun disco-techno dance interlude with just percussion loops and synthesizers, a trio of (sampled) harps playing a repetitive pattern that is nicely hypnotic, a vaguely bluesy acoustic guitar riff backed by vibes and glockenspiel, and so on. How all these bits will fit together, or even if they’ll fit together, remains to be seen…

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One thought on “Writing Music

  1. Pingback: Sunday Salon 1-15-17 | Thirty-Two Minutes

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