Hey All (Readers real and imagined):
Today I have decided to share and talk a little about one of my recordings I posted up on Soundcloud…. many moons ago. The piece is an improvisation titled “Universal Longing,” and according to my Soundcloud Account, I posted it 5 years ago.
Take a listen, then we shall discuss 😉
So a couple things about this recording:
1) Yes, this is an improvisation. And what that means, as it usually does for me, is that I gave very little “thought” beforehand to the structure or plan. Instead, I was probably in a “mood,” and I allowed my mood to “play” through my fingers, and voila… instead music!
2) No, the recording is not high quality. It was probably from my phone, which at the time and still to this day is a device I use to record my musical thoughts. It’s not supposed to be high quality, it’s there to capture the inspiration when it happens. (A side note: one time I posted a recording much like and someone made a comment about the bad sound, which of course I took as a personal affront, being the overly sensitive person I can be… I probably still feel a bit touchy about this subject, lol)
I’m listening to it right now, probably for the first time since around when I posted it. The thing I should confess is that I literally have hundreds of improvisations like this on my current phone, my previous phone, and my computer. Several of these recordings I have sorted, mined through, and expanded into “actual” composed pieces (for example, my latest album, “The Cherry Rainbow Piano Experience,” features at least three pieces that were composed in this way). So my improvisations have proven to be great raw material for compositions.
I am, at heart, an improvisational artist. I love just “coming up” with stuff. This has expanded into the verbal arts as well (witness my rap fetish: rap is the art of quick-witted, rhyming expository, aka rhythmicized verbal improvisation). Some of my greatest musical idols and mentors were great improvisors as well. I have learned to embrace piano improvisation into my entire approach to composition.
That approach goes like this:
1) Be ready with voice recorder (usually phone) at hand when inspiration strikes. Record said inspiration!
2) Go back later and figure out which ideas have merit to be expanded into actual pieces.
3) Do the work to compose the new piece, generally using Finale to create sheet music (which helps give my mind a sense of legitimacy, because being the son of a novelist/editor mother, written form is King… plus I have always had a profound respect for and interest in notated music)
As far as “Universal Longing” is concerned, I have so far not done anything with this piece. If I were going to, I would start with the moodiness of it. The striking characteristic of this piece is the minor-key 32-note type right hand pattern played in a classical style. There is not really a melody here, it’s more this somber, thoughtful mood, the “longing” of the title, I suppose. So I would start there, and work to expand and refine that idea. This improvisation is pretty long, nearly 5 minutes, yet the finished piece would likely sound quite different.
Who knows, maybe I’ll try it….? But then again, there are just so many options for me to choose from.
Meanwhile, it feels good to open up the Soundcloud vault, so to speak, and see what is there.
(Yes, this is part of my personal motivation for doing this daily blogging: to free myself up to share my creativity)
Ta ta for now.