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Confession to the Moon

May 16, 2013

Confession to the Full Moon (2013)

Electric Cello part composed and performed by Lauren K. Jones.

Last Friday night, at around two in the morning, I finally recorded a version of my moon composition that embodied everything I wanted. After playing it probably hundreds of times in the last couple of months I finally had a version that conveyed the emotions I had envisioned in my head.

When I initially wrote the piece, I felt inspired by the full moon. Something about it gives me feelings of peace, excitement, and an insistent creativity that can't be ignored.

When I write music, I don't think of it at all in any kind of structured way. I actually find that to be very hard and it generally stops me in my tracks when I try to write a part. I don't think in terms of verse, chorus, bridge, chorus or any kind of traditional "classical" form. I don't even think in terms of keys. Sometimes I can think in terms of genre, but I find even that to be restricting at times. I create my best art when I simply allow the emotions to pour forth however they are manifesting themselves in my head. That can mean that the different pieces I write can have very different sounds.

This piece in particular calls upon some sounds I haven't made on my cello in quite a long time. In order to convey what I envisioned in my head, I had to think back to my classical training. I pulled the full, clean, calm sound from Bach and then added the passion from the romantic solo pieces I love to play on stage. Finally, I added some of the experimental sounds and scratches from the 20th century composers that always made the other classical musicians around me just a little bit uneasy (but I always loved). For the notes and composition itself, my inspirations were some of the artists I always turn to for solace: Tool, Anoushka Shankar, and Sheila Chandra.

I enjoyed writing and recording this piece. It was nice to revisit some of the playing styles I used when I played more classical music. I am already planning a Flash animation music video to go along with this piece. However, all this calm music has built up a serious need to rock out inside me. I've already started writing my next piece and it will take on a much different tone.

Posted by Lauren K. Jones.

Moon Composition Update

April 29, 2013

I've had an interesting experience recording my Moon Composition during the last month. This is the first time that I can think of that I have ever had as much time as I wanted to make a recording. I've been able to obsess over every detail, experiment with different recording equipment, play around with different recording software, and even write and rewrite parts of the piece while recording.

This is not generally the normal experience. When recording in a studio, musicians are usually charged by the hour, so the goal is to create the best recording in as few takes as possible. It's important to be completely prepared before a recording and to be able to make quick adjustments and execute them well. Even when making a home recording, there is often a time constraint. It's rare to record music completely by yourself. You don't want to waste the time of the other musicians you are working with or drag out an album release date.

I've found this experience to be both freeing and difficult. I love having the extra time to really contemplate my recording and make it sound exactly how I want, but it's hard to decide when it's "finished." Is that small scratch or squeak worth recording the whole piece over again? Could I bring even more emotion into the recording if I did it just one more time? So far, the answer has been "yes," which is why I haven't posted it quite yet. Every time I record, however, it sounds better than the last time. I feel like I am getting close.

Posted by Lauren K. Jones.