muted tones

october 06

our voices lost the words recovered

VJ Hyde is a musician and music therapist in the DC area. He plays in Go Home Robot and the Notes and Scratches.

curator log:

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All in due time

october 14th, 2006

So I’ve got the first 3 minutes and 50 seconds recorded. The 1st motif (see previous entry) gets developed from a kind of drone/ pedal point: a repeating bass note that propels the beat while a melody plays over it. The whole thing crescendos into the chord change where some drums/ electric guitars/ pedal steel and piano add to the bravado. It’s all very melodramatic….After the cadence, the main motif recapitulates then slowly devolves into a mood swing that is taken over by two piano lines (one is a tinny electronic piano and the other is an out-of-tune etheral upright low in the mix). From here in the recording I’m basically going to bring in the second motif. This sketch has a janky chord progression in it that I’m not thrilled with but has some potential…not a lot, but some. It may not make the cut. However, I do like the overall potential in this motif (I’m being very loose in calling this part a motif). It still needs some serious development but I think it will be a pretty easy jumping-off point for the the middle section of the piece.

1st motif

october 12th, 2006

Here is a quick example of the main two motifs that will make up the first part. It’s in 6/8; a pedal point that will come from a drone in the final recording. The chord progression at the end will mark the change in mood leading into the 2nd part of the piece.

In place of real insight

october 10th, 2006

From it’s inception in 2002, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would approach this project. The idea is intriguing: Fill ten minutes with sound and document the process online. It’s a kind of introspection in plain sight. With each volume I’ve been inspired/ confused/ enlightened by the various curators take on the assigment (for lack of a better word). The concept of using the internet as a medium for the listener to glean insights into the creators process is, in itself, a brilliant one.

Back in 2002 when the Muted Tones experiment began, the concept of “internet as venue” was still finding it’s legs. Today, only four years later, that concept has been defined and redefined so many times over I’m getting a headache trying to not think about it. So now this project is in it’s fifth volume and all the ideas I’ve secretly had over the years don’t mean anything to me. First of all, I can’t remember most of them. Second, it would be cheating if I tried to realize the ones I can remember. Third, I am a very different person/ musician today than I was one, two, three, four years ago. The ten minutes I’ve been asked to fill are to be a product of the moment…the moment is a product of everything leading up to it and the potential of all that may be. Ten minutes of sound must come from the sum of all my moments up to this point. I don’t understand what I just wrote, so it must be relevant.

How do I begin? How do I document the process?

I’ve decided to take apart a piece of music I’ve been batting around for a few years now. It has had many variations but has never been realized. I have returned to it during very emotional times because it somehow buoys me through rough waters. Perhaps that is why I have never been able or willing to encapsulate it in a form or recording before? I think this motif will inform/inspire improvisations that will, hopefully evolve and reinvent into a ten minute whole.

I have been writing rock music for a while now. Rock songs are not ten minutes. How can I reconcile this? Do I have to make it sound like everything else? Can I keep it from becoming pop fodder? Should I care?

I’ve decided to not try anything in terms of genre. Let it be what it will be. I’m going to use the original motif and let my imagination build upon it. If it sounds like one thing or another, then that is simply the way music exists: a nebulous reflection of itself; a redefinition; a refinement of what has already been; a prototype of what will be. It is an Art form that is born, grows and dies - defined fully in the moment.

Dialogue, to me, is the best part of composing. It can become pedantic and ridiculous at times but without the dialogue the composer cannot fully understand what he/ she is attempting to express. Why? what? how? are essential to the song writing process. When you return to a piece of music that you have repeatedly broken down you can see it through a much clearer lens. It makes more sense. It isn’t just a chord progression with a melody on top. It is a whole made up of parts that coexist in time for a purpose. It has meaning that goes beyond it’s superficial arrangements and has a voice independent of the instrumentation.

I am going to post my sketches on this log. It will give the listener a chance to hear the [d]evolution toward the final piece. The music will be the the main dialogue. It will hopefully offer a glimpse into the way I dialogue with myself when I compose.

The final piece will be in three parts, connected together by thematic (modal) variations on mood. I’m just as in the dark as you. I hope we will enjoy the end result.

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