I'm having so much fun with my first few weeks of learning to compose on a DAW (digital audio workstation).
Yup, that's me
When I was 12, I had two Radio Shack audiocassette tape players. This was 1977. I had no digital.
I would go back and forth between the two tracks, adding layer after layer, with car traffic in the background and no way to "undo". But it was thrilling. I still have some of these early pieces. They are very noisy.
I've always had pieces in my head but none of the dexterity to perform them. I still have so much to learn, about how to Eq and compress and add effects. I am just beginning.
So much of this reminds me of my journey learning to write fiction, which continues. I've been getting a lot of great guidance thanks to online lessons through Music Lessons Anywhere. This company is run by this lovely couple that live on a NARROWBOAT in ENGLAND (!) and they have a great gang of musicians of all sorts giving online lessons with a variety of instruments as well as teaching DAW basics.
Writing music, I am learning, is like writing fiction. Here are some parallels:
- Expose yourself to as much fiction/music as you can and study how it is done when you like it.
- Keep spaces in the piece, don't make it too busy or fussy
- Put yourself in the mind of the reader/listener
- create an arc for the story/piece with tension and release
- Belief affirmation is important. The reader/listener will expect things you promise them. Give them what they expect but also surprise them.
- Feedback, feedback, feedback. Listen to what your readers/listeners say. Is it too fast, too harsh, too confusing? Fix it.
- There are probably more points! Share them with me if you think of them.
Here are some of my first snippets I am playing with. They all need expansion and refinement but I'm excited to share them. Please tell me what you think, she said, cringing somewhat.
This has audio of my mom singing a piece she wrote. I have to clean up her audio. She is singing "Love is a bridge between you and me. Healing our souls and setting us free." I wanted to highlight her childlike happy personality in this piece.
Perhaps because I have played a lever harp for so many years, I crave the ease of making chromatics (sharps and flats). Hence all the chromatics, which produces a moody sort of feel
I made--from scratch!--(she says clapping her hands with glee) my own beat here, not using some other person's beat. I wanted to see if I could do it. The only drum classes I ever took was Doumbek, so this is a classic rhythm.
More of my craving for chromatics here
This melody was part of a dream. I frequently dream music and I believe it is original because it isn't very good. I mean, it is very simplistic. But I can use my dream music motifs as the basis for compositions, I figure. This one expresses the joy of learning new things.
I feel so lucky. I happen to have a husband who is, among many things, a sound engineer. And we have a recording studio. I feel I must make use of this equipment for the greater good somehow. If I could just figure out what that means.
Tim seems grateful I'm urging him to fix the broken Bricasti and find new sound cards for the RME interface, meanwhile I am learning a lot of cool geeky stuff. This is a lifetime dream come true for me. He's felt badly that since making our movie, he's been too busy with his latest invention to take care of his studio equipment.
Better yet, I see him seeing me play, and going, hey, I want to do that too. So he's playing again, and Tim is a truly gifted composer (listen to his album First Light here.) So that makes me happy.
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.