Writing

So, I’m not sure where to begin with this, so I’ll just start typing and see what happens.

One of my good friends is writing a book. He sent me a couple of chapters about a year ago and he recently finished the first draft. It’s pretty freaking cool. It’s kind of a sci-fi/fantasy story about space vampires, talking bear-like alien creatures, superhuman messiah figures, stuff like that. Anyway, he’s planning to self-publish it on Amazon when he’s finished with it. A few months ago, he asked me about writing some incidental music to accompany the story. I thought that was a cool idea – kinda like a film score, except for a novel.

I pretty much sat on my hands for a while. I tried to sit down and write, but nothing really came of my initial efforts. I decided right away that I wanted to do the Wagnerian leitmotif thing. Leitmotif is basically an operatic device that Richard Wagner invented where each character has their own melody. John Williams famously used the concept in his Star Wars scores. First I decided which characters deserved their own melodies, and then took some notes about what the mood should be for each one. That’s about where I stalled out until today.

Today was the last day of school before the Christmas holidays. Due to the weird nature of my class schedule, I had a few hours to kill, so I made sure to bring my laptop and guitar to school. After my last class, I sat down and started writing. For whatever reason, inspiration struck and I came up with a pretty cool idea for one of the characters. I plugged it into a notation program called Finale and exported the midi file to garageband, where I changed some of the sounds until I liked what I heard. I emailed it to my friend and he told me that what I wrote moved him. He also said that it was really surreal to hear something inspired by something that he created.

It’s always nerve-wracking when you reveal your work to someone for the first time. I was a composition major in college, and I had a composition lesson every week. During that lesson, I would present my work to my professor and she would offer direction on what I had done. She was always extremely gracious, even when what I brought to the lesson was terrible. I knew it, and she knew it, but she never said anything like “this is crap, and you would be wise to abandon it and never think about it again. In fact, you should probably stop writing music and also stop playing guitar.” No, she was pretty awesome. She definitely helped me to become a better musician and composer.

Anyway, I am pretty excited about what I’m doing. I’m envisioning this ambient/post-rock melodic soundscape that is also kinda metal-ish, but without the self-indulgent Dream Theater shredding stuff. There will also be strings and piano and stuff. When I get some stuff recorded, I’ll be sure to post my progress.

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