Wednesday, December 10, 2008

5 O'Clock Road

I started playing music in grade school. French horn. A few years later, I quit.

But that's not to say that music didn't deeply fascinate me. I picked it up at age 17 with the piano. I wanted to learn, really learn, the intricasies of music and theory and composition, but felt like the information bounced off a wall in my head. It wouldn't penetrate.

When I was 29, I picked up the bagpipes and took lessons from a piper. I feel pretty proficient at that. If you've been a reader of The Clarity of Night for a while, or have visited my YouTube page, you've heard me play.

But still, music structure and theory remained mysterious.

To be honest, music composition is something I've always wanted to do. Song writing also. But I resigned myself to the fact that it was beyond my abilities.


But then, the bug hit me again. I bought Music Theory for Dummies and dove into chord structure, chord progression, and accompaniment theory. It began to stick!

I have a long way to go and still may find it beyond my reach, but I'm very happy to share my first original composition with you. It's a little piano tune that I made into a short video. It was my first foray into chord progressions.

A road is good place to begin any journey. I hope to share more compositions and perhaps songs. For now, here is 5 O'Clock Road.


The Grocer said...

Very enjoyable, i'm envious of anyone with musical talent.

Catvibe said...

That is a very nice celtic piece. I could here it in bagpipes, whistles and a sweeping orchestra and even a melancholy set of lyrics to be sung.

Stephen Parrish said...

Damn, I'm totally impressed.

Sarah Hina said...

So wonderful, Jason. And yes on embracing more paths and journeys!

Those chords felt like steps to me, and an invitation to chase that setting, wintry sun. The gentle zoom of the photo, and the leading words, were the perfect accompaniment as the haunting notes faded.

The piano playing was very accomplished, too. :) Congratulations on your first of many compositions!!

Aine said...

Jason, love, don't ever question your talent...

It's beautiful and haunting. I need to learn the penny whistle so you can write an accompaniment.

Kaycie said...

I understand how difficult it is to learn music theory. I played the flute in school, well enough to go to the University of Tulsa with small music scholarship. As a freshman, the first requirment is a five hour music theory class. I love the opportunity to practice and perform with other musicians, really talented ones. The theory class? Well, suffice it to say that after realizing I could do absolutely nothing but music theory homework every night, I dropped it to focus on my other twelve hours.

Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...


I also love the Celtic feel of the piece. It sounds very appropriate for the season.

I love the pipes, as you probably figured out from my page. I grew up playing the Bass drum in a Pipe band (also tried French Horn in grade 7).

Keep the faith!

KGT (aka Cagey) said...


I liked the imagery too.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Oh, Jason - you have so much talent. I am happy that you were tenacious and tried the music theory and composition again. This piece is really, really lovely.

That music and the road took me back to the hills of my youth.

Jay said...

Wow, as if it isn't beautiful and impressive enough, you're self taught too!

Anonymous said...

Grocer, I feel like I have some. I'm grateful for that. But boy, to be a prodigy.... Can you imagine?

Catvibe, you have a sharp ear! :) The piece is written in 6/8 time with a rhythm structure used in some bagpipe pieces. Like the Skye Boat Song.

Stephen, thanks, man!

Sarah, I'm so happy it spoke to you on so many levels! This really was a wondeful taste of what I've wanted to do. To harness for myself the power of music, and it's electricity for other media. (Hey, would someone let me direct a film? Please??)

Aine, a pennywhistle would be awesome!! :) Thank you for the huge vote of confidence. It means a tremendous amount to me.

Kaycie, I wish teachers would teach musicality more. The experience of playing music. Not just playing in precise rhythm and crisp notes. I think theory would come easier then.

Minister, that's so cool! I love pipe band drumming. It brings such a foundation and lift to the piping. And thanks for feeling the Celtic heart in this tune!

KGT, something about this picture and tune married in my mind. I think they do support each other.

Kaye, what a rush to know I have inspired those thoughts with a new medium! Thanks for your support, my friend. I hope grow a lot more in this area.

Jay, I don't know why precisely, but in the last handful of years, I've begun to understand the human and emotional underpinnings of music a lot more. I think I may actually have enough to stick that pesky mathmatics to.

Vesper said...

Fascinating and very impressive!
It has always been a total mystery to me as to how somebody can write music...

Anonymous said...

Vesper, it's mostly been a mystery to me too. :) Thanks!

SzélsőFa said...

Wow, I like the various paths you take to express the talent you have inside you, Jason.
This little piece was simple and neat. Thanks for the experiment.
My husband used to play the cello, and now he's learning to play *tilinko*, a Hungarian kind of flute with no holes...

* (tee-lee-n-k-oa (the last vowel is like the sound in coat)