Monday, December 10, 2007

This Makes Me Think Of “The Swan”

I’ve never been good with music. But I try not to let that stop me from having fun playing around with music.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to a video of a robot playing flute, performing “Le Cygne.” [Clockwork Musicians] I liked it a lot. (Both the robot and the composition.) I felt no imperative to buy the sheet music and play “Le Cygne” exactly, but I wanted to be able to play something that sounded similarly evocative and cool.

So I sat down and came up with this.

Having been raised with pop music [normally I’d saying something here like, ‘For better and worse,’ but with pop music it’s just, ‘For bad and worse’] I tend to reduce [“trivialize”] everything to big note, easy play, eight bar formats. That having been said, this really does make me think of “Le Cygne.”

And I enjoy playing it and hearing it.

1) I haven’t transcribed anything for a long time. I may have made some blunt errors here that I’m not experienced enough to even notice.

2) This is sort of a lead sheet version of what I play. I’d never play just the melody or just the harmony. Rather I’d try to grab a combination and break up things with arpeggios and tweaked rhythms.

3) I’d actually play the melody an octave up from what’s notated here.

4) The chords are 1-5-7-3 guitar inversions. Probably they’d need to be restructured for keyboards.

The Good and the Good Enough

Something this simple isn’t a real “piece” of any kind. And something like this isn’t “good” in any of the amazing ways “Le Cygne” is good.

But in some ways for me something like this is good enough.

The way I play this is to first play it through as simply as I can, maybe just the melody. Then I play it through in the most complicated way I can, finding a chord to harmonize every note. Then I look for a rhythm to play through the piece using some combination of melody and harmony. It will be different every time I play it, depending on my mood and how warmed up my fingers are. It’s not art and it’s probably not good music, but it’s fun and satisfying.

It’s good enough.

I think about this in many different contexts, the “good” and the “good enough.” (The shave from my electric razor isn’t “good” but it’s “good enough.”) I often find myself preferring the good enough to the actual good. [What Is Love? 1—The Mole People ]

I’m sure I’ll be writing more on this topic in later posts.

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