Today has been a long and busy day for me, seeing as I spent 8 hours--yes, 8!--writing an original piano piece for my Music Theory final project for fall quarter.
Usually, when I write music (well, attempt to....) I am not really proud of it. I am a perfectionist and am very critical of myself as an artist in every aspect. Rarely do I please myself in the area of the arts. As Johnny Depp once said, "For an artist, satisfaction is death." This means that I just committed suicide because I am insanely happy with the finished product of my final project!
The process was grueling and long and quite annoying. I decided I wanted to write in a major key (this should be a review for those who read my last post, lol) because I personally find it easier to write in major and use the accidentals/naturals to make a minor progression as apposed to writing in a minor key and using the accidentals to make it major. And if you read my earlier post, it is no surprise I wrote it in D major.
At first, I do what anyone does when they first sit down to produce any piece of work, whether it be a novel, an essay, or a painting. I sat and stared at the keyboard for a good hour or so, wondering if inspiration would come at all. Lucky me! Nothing! I decided to start where my professor had suggested we try if we're stuck. I decided to make a bass line chord progression, and write a melody based on that. This process worked just fine for me for a while..... though after I had written the first 9 bars or so, I sat back and realized that it sounded like something I had heard before and was familiar with. It was basically a variation of Pachelbel's Canon in D. This disturbed me for several reasons: I do not plagiarize. I hate that song. Everyone knows it. And I'm pretty sure my professor would have thought me to be the dumbest person in the world to pass off something that famous as my own work. Ergo, I erased the entire document.
This time, I tried the approach I had tried before....slightly less organized, but just as effective. I started plunking out notes in a less than organized way, seeing if anything clicked in my mind. The notes started flowing and making what I liked as a melody. It was decent! Hooray! I then sat some more and did the simplest thing to write the bass line: I just added the chords the melody notes were based off. I had made the melody to make some sense in terms of sounding like normal song. I was pleased. Buuuuuut at the end, it was only 16 measures long. My assignment was required to be 32. Music composition, I have found, isn't quite like writing an essay where one can bullshit a few more sentences for space. I actually had to make something that sounded nice, and made sense with the rest of the song. I did the best thing I could come up with--repeat what I wrote in variation. It sounded pretty damn awesome if I do say so myself.
Lastly, the title. The most important part. The thing that everyone sees, even if they never hear the song itself. I listened through my finished product a few more times.
Wind. I could see trees swaying, leaves blowing, and the whoosh of a breeze as I played it back.
With the Wind
Eureka!!! The only word that came to mind when hearing it with the title was epic. Pure epic.
And here I am, 10 hours after starting the piece, writing to tell you all of this adventurous tale of my music writing. Ok, not that exciting, but I'm thrilled! I've successfully completed my final project, my brain is resting after it was about ready to explode, and I am actually pleased with the final project! So, until next time, when I have some other lovely thing to write about, keep listening to music and open your eyes to new things! Explore new genres. Sing along. Have fun. Music is the sound of feeling--the sound of life (that is not original...I have NO idea who said it though...look it up).