Hello and welcome to ‘Season 2’ of mad music mondays. In the first season, I explored the creative process that led to the release of my single, you should know. To go through that journey, I’d advise starting at episode 1.
In this season of mad music mondays, I’m doing a throwback. To my university days, and the music I wrote during my composition degree. One of my composition teachers once told me never to change what I wrote then; let it be who you were at the time. Therefore, in this season, I will be looking back at who I was, and see if there are any parts of me that I would rather like back. You can find last week’s episode here.
This week’s episode is on the electro-acoustic piece, ‘The Heavens Declare’. It’s based on this verse.
‘The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’Psalm 19:1
One of my favourite subjects in my degree was Electro-Acoustic Music. In our first lesson, our teacher took us on a walk around the university, with a top of the range recorder, to hear all the sounds in our environment. I loved it. I loved the manipulation of sound, and I still do. It forms the basis of most of the work I do for my arts collective, the (In)Equal Temperament Project.
This particular project was different from other electro-acoustic pieces, because it required that I use a disklavier. A disklavier is a type of piano that can be programmed to play itself. It is still an ‘acoustic’ piano (a Yamaha grand, in fact), but you can get music that couldn’t be played by a human. Melodies happening concurrently that a human couldn’t manage at the same time.
Looking back on this, it’s a rather different learning from previous weeks. Because if I was given this project again, I would handle it very differently. I understand so much more about the interaction of sound now than I did then. Namely the kind of overtones you would be able to achieve that could never be achieved without that technology.
What I’m reminded is that I have learned, grown and become a better musician. And that from almost the very beginning of my composition journey, I have made music using technology. Perhaps we don’t change as much as we think we do.
Jena Ren, 202