Monday, June 30, 2014

Minuet - Spring 2014 short version

Back in 2006 I wrote a 30 Second Spot called Carpool.  You can still read the Mixed Meters post about Carpool.  It's dated March 12, 2006, a Sunday.  The Internet never forgets.  Usually never.

Better yet, if you read that post you'll discover that the link to listen to Carpool still works.  (Go ahead, listen.  I'll wait.  It's a short piece.)  I've had to update the link a couple times over the years in my efforts to keep my music from disappearing at the whim of some failing capitalist website entrepreneur.   Actually the Internet does forget.  Quite often.

Carpool, all 38 seconds of it, has a particular type of septuple meter which I discovered while listening to music on a streaming Internet radio station playing music of Afghanistan.  This particular song, whatever it was, divided the seven beats into three groups: three plus three plus one.  It was the kind of discovery that makes a composer's heart beat just a little more quickly.

This 3+3+1 meter, plus the hand drums, plus the semi-sinuous melody I cooked up give Carpool a kind of camel caravan feel.  I thought about calling it "Caravan" but reconsidered.  Hence my 2006-ish comment
I was going to call this spot "Caravan" but someone said the name had been used. I think "Carpool" gives that same sense of slow, long-distance travel via pollution-emitting beast.
The thing is, however, that you don't get a "sense of slow, long-distance travel" in 38 seconds.  Pollution control or not, a 30 Second Spot just isn't long enough for this particular music.

So, earlier this year, when I was beginning work on Spring 2014, yet another episode in my series The Seasons, I decided to use the music from Carpool as a source material.  For the next three months, ending last week, I wrote a bit of music every day.  For these bits I appropriated the melody, harmony, rhythm and most especially the meter of Carpool.

Spring 2014 turned out to be almost one and a quarter hours long.  Eighty percent of that time is pure unadulterated silence.  You can read all about Spring 2014 (and even listen to it) by reading the previous MM post Spring 2014 from The Seasons.

Grizzled, old time Mixed Meters readers know what's coming next.  For the rest of you, keep reading.

Once I'd finished Spring 2014, a.k.a. the long version of Carpool, all 72 minutes of it, I mercilessly removed all the silences, leaving only the music.  This revealed a piece of music nearly 14 minutes long.  I called this piece Minuet.  You'd be surprised how different it seems than the longer version.

Yes, I can hear what you're thinking, even over the Internet.  Minuet is a dull name.  Yup, I agree.  It is also a very musical name.  I especially like it because it's an antique.  It gives virtually no expectations to modern listeners.  No one, at least no one that I'm aware of, writes or dances minuets these days.   And if they do, they're probably professors or professors in training.  These days a composer has no problem living up to your expectations of what a modern minuet should be because you don't have any of those sorts of expectations.   Nor should you.

The musicologists amongst my readers will know that a minuet is usually in triple meter.  In my piece, the meter is also triple - if you ignore that extra beat crammed in there after every second measure.  Sometimes Minuet does have a kind of dance feel - a lopsided, bad-dancer, one-leg-shorter-than-the-other, Ministry-of-Silly-Dances dance feel, to be sure - but danceable nonetheless.  Go ahead, dance.  I'll wait.

Click here to hear Minuet (Spring 2014 - short version) by David Ocker  
© 2014 David Ocker, 833 seconds

You can listen to Spring 2014 (the long version of Minuet) here.
You can listen to Carpool (the short version of Minuet) here.
You can find links to all The Seasons, both long and short versions, and their associated Mixed Meters blog posts here.
You can't imagine what I'm talking about when I say "30 Second Spot".  Click here.

Addendum.  Here's a minuet by the great Slim Gaillard that's not in seven.  Nor is it in three.  It's in vout.

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