Saturday, December 30, 2017

December's Tunes

I'm in the midst of a goal of writing 50 tunes in the span of a year that I could then, presumably, have as a repertoire to play for fun going forward.  In December, six tunes were added to this project.

Pass Code
Pass Code was written on December 6, 2017.  I don't recall the inspiration behind the A-part.  I had spent the first part of December attempting to "transcribe" melodies out of some of the longer jam sections from Phish's Baker's Dozen run.  The A-part of Pass Code came to me independent of that, but for a B-part I looked to the notes I had transcribed from the Phish jams and saw how it could be directly applied, albeit with a different cadence and rhythm.  Pass Code should have a little lilt to it.

Snow Crawl
Snow Crawl was written over a two day period - December 9 and 10 - when we had a very pretty and non-disruptive snow fall in our area.  This was also the weekend of a local beer crawl that I did not participate in.  Instead I stayed home and this melody flowed out in full.  Show Crawl arrived to me as an existing composition that I simply had to transcribe from my own head by what felt like memory.

Tasting Room
Snow Crawl came to me unexpectedly.  I had been trying to write a sequel for Pass Code, or at least a tune that could be paired with it.  It took over a week of labor to come up with Tasting Room, although the end result seems fairly natural.  I'm not sure if it is original, but it serves my needs for a tune of this sort.

Matching the Breeze
Twenty to twenty-five years ago, long before I ever played a musical instrument, I would write little poems that were more like song lyrics than poems.  None of those writings have survived the years, but I can still recall snippets.  So this month I tried setting some of those to music.  I think it worked out in this case, even if I did steal a little bit from Bob Dylan (musically, not lyrically!).

The Gretchen
It's an annual tradition at my house to play Kokomo Jo's Caribbean Christmas album while putting up the Christmas tree.  The tree usually goes up on the night of Winter Solstice.  There's actually a song called Caribbean Christmas on that album and it got stuck in my head this year.  I don't know or care if I properly transcribed it, but I somehow managed to alter the lyrics to that song and apply it to fit words and themes from song lyrics I had written 20+ years ago about the characters Ray Hawk, Kelly Rainbow and The Gretchen. 

I thought I was being pretty creative to take something written in G-major and alter some of the notes to make it more like an Eastern European scale.  What I ended up with though, were the notes in a B-flat major scale with a tonal center of G, which is the same thing as G-minor.  Anyway, I've got a few traditional tunes in major keys from the West Indies and I pulled from aspects of a couple of those to accidentally put together this minor key AA/BB piece which I am calling Domovoi.  A domovoi is a protective house spirit in Russian folklore.


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