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…

One thought on “Writing Music

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

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