Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Flashes of Inspiration

The title really goes with the photo (taken from the kids' playhouse in a rager thunderstorm last week), which really has little to do with the post, which is actually about music projects I'm working on. Maybe it's a bit tongue-in-cheek, as I can't claim that song ideas hit me fully formed waiting for me to channel them into life. I've found that composing is hard work, but work that I really enjoy.

In the last few weeks, I've composed two short pieces for string quartet, and have three more in various states of disrepair. Here are the two that are furthest along:
  • 31 Knots (mp3), which started as my viola recital piece last summer, and ended up turning out much mellower and more melodic than I had expected once the other three parts were added.
  • Geometric (mp3), my first attempt at trying to write a quartet from scratch. It definitely has some bugs to work out, but I feel like the guts of it are very close. I also attempted to create the sheet music, which is still in flux.
Aug.25 Update: I've been working hard on these in my limited spare time, and I've now got the notation done on four short quartets. The mp3's are pretty rough, and have been superseded by the scores, but I've left them in nevertheless:
  • Geometric -- mp3 and score
  • 31 Knots -- mp3 and score
  • Vienna -- mp3 (two violins) and score...this was my recital duet, with viola and cello parts added.
  • Cousins -- mp3 and score...I'm actually pretty excited about this one; a simple fiddle tune I wrote after a few months of playing violin, with a happier major-key vibe than most of what I've been working on.


Ang said...

Geometric is my new favorite song.

Jeremy said...

ha! You're too kind, Ang. Thanks!

My friend Chris left some feedback on Facebook that I wanted to post here before it disappears over there:

Chris Corrigan: I like these. The second one better than the first but they share slot and could almost be two movements of the same piece. The thing that links them is the steady 4/4 sewing machine rhythm. Perhaps a third movement could be a break from th...is rhythm exploring instead some of the melodic ideas maybe in 3/4 or something to make a clean rhythmic break allowing you to explore other aspects of what you are hearing.

I admire your drive to just produce art. You are no mere spectator of the creative process my friend.

Jeremy Hiebert: Chris, I fear that I'm over-hungry for feedback in this isolated pursuit, as I find myself disproportionately grateful this excellent comment. The first one (31 Knots) is almost more of a cycle that a song; connected and circular jams with ...less structure. The second one (Geometric) was much more intentionally "composed" as a complete song.

I think you're right that they could both be movements. I've started pondering of a collection of up to six short quartet pieces that share a common thread -- maybe a "Summerland Suite" that could be performed as a 15-minute set. The next one starts slower, in 6/8 time, with some tempo changes...good to mix it up. Thanks again!

Chris Corrigan: Your rigor shows on Geometric.

Can't wait to hear more. String Quartets have long been my favourite classical medium.

Ang said...

Since my eldest is too busy "liking" Lady GAG A on facebook, i will post her thoughts on this song. With widening brown eyes-"that is SO CReepy, it would be so perfect in a scary movie!". She's not accustomed to string quartets and stuff. Our idea of exposing her to good music is playing kid-friendly pixies. Anyways, she wanted to here it more than once and we both described the images it evoked. Mine were of course very deep and meaningful and involved large fields, periwinkle skies and leaving one's heavy past behind. yes, i's silly.

Jeremy said...

Fascinating. Makes sense that she'd connect it to spooky scenes in movies -- I suspect that most people don't hear any classical music except for soundtracks, and this one has that minor-key tension.

And there's nothing silly about your interpretation -- it's extremely gratifying to hear that my scratchings could inspire imaginings of any kind. Thank you both!