Only As The Mind Sees

What comes first, the title or the song?

In my case, it’s the song. Always. I never even consider the title before I’m done with it, because I’ve found that if I pick a title in advance, it starts altering the creative process. Instead of going with what’s flowing, I start making a conscious effort to write to the title.

So my MO for the past several decades has been to write a song and then listen to it. It always conjures up a feeling or emotion, and the title springs from that. Sometimes they make sense to me, while other times they don’t. This song is one example. I’m thinking about what I really mean when by “only as the mind sees,” and the closest thing I can come up with is that loosely translates into “whatever it is that you’re thinking.” That would be too long a title, though. 🙂

The Leaves, Though

This is the time of year where I stare at the season as it unfolds, and I get philosophical. The seasons of the year are analogous to the seasons of life, and there is real beauty in nature as it begins the process of a long period of dormancy until spring.

Many of us are more than happy to put the year 2020 to sleep and to wake up one day and find it squarely in the rear view mirror, vowing never to visit that location on a map every again.

The leaves, though….

The Evolution Of Music Creation

In the mid-70’s, I used to sit in our basement “rec room” where our record player and Webcor reel-to-reel tape recorder were and record myself playing a piano, guitar, concertina (think small accordion), and mandolin. Then I’d record old music boxes that were lying around and anything else I could think of. I would cut up the tape and splice it back together randomly with my Radio Shack tape splicing gadget. I never knew what I was going to hear once I put it back in the tape player. Some of the segments played backward, while others were mish-mashed with other sounds. It was sonic bliss.

Fun as it was, I set it aside as I got further into high school and focused on “proper” playing and technique, spending hours practicing Chopin etudes, Bach preludes and fugues, and piano concertos by Grieg and Saint-Saens. I still love classical music and am grateful to have grown up practicing and learning to it.

As the years passed, I never lost the passion for composing music. However, by that time we were in the digital age. Vinyl records had been replaced by CD’s, and tape recorders had become extinct. Things quickly became boring.

Now though, things are exciting again. Mobile devices have become powerful music production tools. I can now go around the house sampling any sound I like, chop it up and manipulate it, and turn it into a sound or instrument I can use in a song. Or I can take part of another song I wrote, chop it up, manipulate the key, and turn it into something completely new. No tape splicing required! I wonder what it would have been like to have this technology back when I was still a kid in my parents’ basement. But then, I wouldn’t have the fond memories of being hunched over a tape machine and splicing tape back together.

Here’s a song I wrote and produced mostly on my iPad. The piano is a sample of my 1930 Kurtzmann grand piano, with the sample sliced up and manipulated. I recorded the vocal narration into my iPhone. Finally the tracks were exported to Logic Pro for mastering. Music + technology = serious creative fun.