sometimes chords

hardware:   Apple MacBook Pro/OSX
software:   RTcmix, max/msp, Apple Logic Pro

Three things that have been in my mind for awhile informed this piece. The first is that I really like chords. Nice chords, big chords, chords that just kind of hang there. That will be more than evident during the first ten minutes of the music. The second is that I noticed an interesting way to construct 'shimmery' chords while performing during the past several years with PGT. Often I employ a patch that will sequence through an array of pitches. Usually this creates a kind of ostinato, depending on how I set up the sequencing process. Sometimes (and often accidentally) I will set the sequence step-size to a very small number, resulting in a mass of notes being generated almost all at once. The result: a nice 'shimmery' chord. Add a bit of echo, a bit of reverb, oh those chords!

The final ingredient was an infatuation I developed for the sound of Greek bouzouki players using the traditional dance/folk style of playing. We saw and heard many of them when I was doing work in various parts of Greece during the 1990's. These guys would simply wail on their instruments, using open or bar-chord fretting to allow them to rapidly strum the bouzouki. I had always wanted to use this in a piece; I even have a few false-starts stored somewhere for compositions that were never completed in the 1990's using this technique. The "bouzoukis" and strumming in sometimes chords are all simulated, of course. I can't play like those guys! They were amazing! This is just more of my performance modeling in action.

sometimes chords is longer than many of my more recent solo compositions. I thought about cutting down on the long chord-progression trajectory that opens the piece, but the more I listened to it the more I liked the almost trance-like state that it tends to produce. Time dilation, time-floating, time stoppage, all that. Not a bad way to be at this stage of life.