Thursday, 11 December 2008

Song 11 in A major

Song 11 in A major (file)

For two steel string guitars.

A is one of those very guitar-friendly keys, yet I still had a hard time coming up with something. Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a marathon, and it's hard to come up with something new every day. I started fooling around with the circle of fifths, which is like the mother lode of almost all modern western music. Then I started fooling around with some of my favorite chord voicings for "pure" major and minor chords, where you play the root, the fifth and then the third in the octave above (also called a tenth interval). Once you start moving these chord around, you get some nice inversions too, which have the nice quality of sound full and fat, even though there are only three notes in the chord. So I cooked up a chord progression with these ingredients, and then I recorded it. Then (and only then!) came the task of cooking up a melody that would fit these chords. I picked up on the first idea that came to mind, and started recording.

I also had this other idea laying around, where I would exploit an open A chord voicing with an added 9th (a sound I've been using quite a lot lately...), added some hammer-ons and pull-offs for a very "guitaristic" sound. I wasn't able to develop that into something further, but I decided to try to use it as an intro and outro. (The missus disapproved of the idea.) After some heavy editing I was left with the piece as you have it here. It has something of a "swedish" sound to me.

Not a very original work by any means, but for cooking up something out of thin air, I could have done worse. The most frustrating bit is that because the composer hasn't fleshed out the form or the arrangement totally before the performer stars recording, so the engineer has to spend a little too much time cutting and splicing together parts, and it's a bit laborius. I'm glad I'm not doing hip hop or electronica, where almost EVERYTHING is a result of heavy editing sessions. I much prefer playing a song from start to finish, and know where I want to go next.

Now, I have no idea what to do next - we'll see tomorrow!

No comments: