"The Light of Other Days"

June 7, 2017

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by! It's been a long time since I've posted here but I haven't been idle these past few months. I've been working hard on new directions for my music, both creatively and business-wise. More on that last one in a later post. But first, I'd like to introduce my newest original composition, "The Light of Other Days". Here's a little background for you...


I had two very specific goals for this track.

Goal #1: It's the first new composing I've done since my college days. My other tracks either contain music that I created back in those days and reworked, or they're constructed using only clips and samples provided in the software that I use. This one was from scratch.

Goal #2: I focused on using some "classical" composition techniques in a well-thought-out way. This took some doing since it required me to go back to school, so to speak. Fortunately, I came across the excellent Harvard lectures of Leonard Bernstein on YouTube. These were televised back in the 1970s and they proved to be a gold mine of information and inspiration for me. The general theme of the lectures is the tension between tonality and chromaticism, or atonality. I won't presume to paraphrase the Maestro here, but essentially the push towards atonality was the result of composers searching for ways to make their music more expressive. The tonal vocabulary at the turn of the 20th century had been stretched as far as it could go, and so atonality was the inevitable result.


In addition to this wealth of information, I came across a piece of music that became the guiding inspiration for my composition - "Nuages" by Claude Debussy. It's a deceptively simple piece, but its fascination for me lay in how it straddles the tonal and atonal worlds. My composition doesn't sound anything like it, but that wasn't what I was aiming for. Instead, I tried to make my piece sort of tonal, but not completely. You won't find any traditional or common chord progressions in it that would firmly establish its key. Yet there are melodic and rhythmic motifs that hopefully create a sense of direction and cohesiveness. Although I didn't use any true counterpoint, I did play some of these motifs against each other in parts of the track, resulting in a polyphonic ("many melodies") texture.


I wasn't trying to convey any particular emotion or point of view in this piece  - it just is what it is. This caused much hand-wringing and second-guessing when I was trying to come up with a title. So I decided to read some poems to get ideas and I came across one by Thomas Moore called "Oft, In the Stilly Night". A bit old-fashioned, but there was a line in it about memories being "the light of other days". I thought it fit well.


There's a lot more background to this track than I can fit into a single blog post but I hope I've piqued your interest. I'm planning on releasing it in early 2018, along with a couple of other tracks I'm working on. So, stay tuned...




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