What Chord is Angst?

When trying to paint with music, it’s fun to sit at the piano and explore emotional chords. If you were a dark storm moving in over the peaks of Devil’s Mountain in a fictional forest, what chords would you use to create that mood? Or, a butterfly flitting from flower to flower on an easy Sunday morning at the same mountainside? Or, a lost little girl sitting on a rock with bleeding feet, wanting to climb down the mountain but not knowing how?

These are the thoughts that flood my mind at times as I sit on the bench in front of my piano, letting my fingers aimlessly create moods. How delightful to explore the depths of human emotion in sound. Not so fun in real life.

The Arduous Task of Scoring

I’ve been quiet. Not just because there is so much going on and I’ve not had much time to blog here, but because to be quiet means you notice your surroundings. I’ve been trying that.

For example, the other day I chose to walk without an iPod. Yah, I know. Astonishing. But when was the last time you walked with nothing but the earth to listen to? It’s a pretty astonishing experience and one I’ve found just recently.

And yes, then there’s the arduous task of scoring music. That requires time, time in which everything else needs to be silenced. I’ve always found it a bit difficult to dive into the inner essence of music if there is a hubbub in the background.

But my project for this year? To score every piece of music I’ve composed – at least those worthy of others’ ears – and make them available for free download in PDF form. So keep posted.That way you can know when they first start appearing and where.

In the interim, you’ll know where I’ll be…trying to keep myself quiet so I can listen to the sonorous quality of life here on earth. It makes for better music, you know. :0)

Practice, Practice, Practice

Just got back a little bit ago from my daughter’s voice lessons. I’ve sung professionally and it’s been a treat to sit in on her lessons. I love her voice teacher.

Today my daughter had an hour lesson, in lieu of her normal 30 minutes. And wow, was she exhausted by the time she was finished…this is how excellent her lessons are. True singing can very easily be compared to fine athletics. Complete focus, engaged musculature, etc.

What a treat it was to sit there, observing, and then accompanying her for a time at the piano while the teacher worked with her further. And it reminded me of something I read over at Sally Evans “Embracing Creativity” blog. She spoke of how good practice is simply teaching the body good habits, thereby getting rid of bad habits. And it takes effort.

I thought during the lesson how true this is. A lifetime, even for a youth, can be full of sloppy habits when it comes to singing. Nothing but focused efforts can replace lazy muscles with energized ones that contribute to beautiful sound. And again it takes effort, effort, effort. Which is why my daughter came home tonight fatigued. :0)

But wow, the sound coming out of her mouth by the end of the lesson. She was glad to be done, but I was thrilled to have been present to see the effect of practice, practice, practice. (Which applies to nearly every other category of life.)

[P.S. Here is a link to Sally Evans’ blog. It’s fun to read and full of great things to muse on for days.]

Music is Not just for Tuesdays

Music matters. More than I even realize sometimes. And perhaps for those who walk past society’s gates — with earbuds-in-ears-iPod-on-hip — do those music lovers fully comprehend the absolute splendor and power that music potentially provides us? (Not the heavy, cell-scrambling, pounding beats some prefer.)

Do any of us?

Yet this is the reason I compose. This is the reason I’ve always loved the sonorous nature of sound. There are just some things that words fail to portray. For example, how can words fully convey the depth of anguish of losing a child, the hurt of betrayal from a dear friend, etc., etc., etc. Yet musical tones can come so close to plumbing the depths of human emotion!

True, there are lyrics which describe scenarios, stories, settings — all can trigger deep feelings. But I like what the composer Satie used to describe as ‘furniture music.’ He spoke of music that supported your life, without calling attention to itself. This is my goal I suppose as I compose, my goal in all I write.