Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CONCLUSION: 8. Hard Time

As we neared the end of recording (and I was figuratively crawling on hands and knees to try to reach the finish line), I realized that the album really needed to have one tune that was under 3 minutes, 30 seconds.  That is a time limit that apparently defines the outer limit of attention for radio DJ’s and is an industry standard.  One PR firm I spoke to had suggested including three “radio edits” of my pieces on the album, but I didn’t like the idea of being represented by something that gets your attention and then fades out.   To make things worse, since Bev passed away last April, I found it extremely difficult to improvise in the studio (the only exception being “A Song of New Beginnings”:  go figure.)

I had one little melody fragment that, like other discoveries in the studio improvising, was going to open up into a new “fragrance”, a new landscape.  I hadn’t gone back to it yet, because it is so dark, but I decided that since it’s all I had, I would move it forward.  And the rest of the piece quickly developed.  It would have been nice to close the album on a bright note (for instance, I could have put “A Song….” at the end).  But, despite it’s gravity, this little piece seemed perfect for the end.  Thematically, it relates to several of the other pieces:  I always like to have motifs being echoed back and forth through a piece or a larger opus.  And then, just as the opening invocation piece had ended on a note rising to a high 5th or dominant of the scale with a note of promise, “Hard Time” ends with a figure descending to a low 5th/dominant note, and thus also not really closing off or ending the music.  Contradicting my earlier statement (about having a distaste for symmetry), in this case, I do like the symmetry, maybe because it’s not a mirror reflection perfect symmetry, but a “handed” symmetry, more like a call-response.

Anyway, there you have it.  Some more notes on all eight tunes on the CD.  I hope they are of some interest.  Let me know if you have any thoughts about these commentaries or any questions. 

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