SCP #16: Spin Me Like A Top
I have been binge-listening to a couple of really fantastic music-related podcasts recently. The first is Susan De Weger's Beyond the Stage, which explores the way music training can enhance careers beyond the traditional performance-based options that are becoming increasingly rare. The second is Ben Turner's Double Depresso, which explores mental health in the arts. I happen to be meeting up with Ben tomorrow morning to have a chat for a future episode, but the interview I listened to this morning with musician-turned-psychologist Fran felt particularly relevant to this project. There was a lot of chat about the perils of social media, in particular the addictive nature of the "like" culture. So far I've settled into a fairly robust writing routine, however the public nature of the project is not something I have quite figured out yet. I spoke a little in a previous post about it giving me an audience to feel accountable to and help keep me on track with my daily deadline, but I didn't really address the darker side.
Although this is ultimately a personal project, I have not been immune to the rushes of euphoria that follow positive reactions to each new piece of music I create. For those of us treating our music or arts careers as a business, we are encouraged through tools like Google or Facebook analytics to monitor our online presence and tailor it to best engage our audience. While we are incredibly fortunate to have all these tools available to let us self-manage our careers, there is a very real conflict between creating art that will please an audience and creating art that we want to create. While there is nothing wrong with creating work with the intention to move an audience in a particular way, the issue arises when social media "likes" become our primary means of gauging our success or failure as artists. I know I have to work harder at turning down the external feedback and turning up my own internal barometer of success.
And now, to the nuts and bolts of this piece. I took yesterday's theme and decided to work on its antithesis. I went with Theia, the Goddess of sight and light, and latched onto this little tidbit from theoi.com: "The ancient Greeks believed the eyes emitted a beam of invisible light--much like a lamp--which allowed one to see whatever it touched. Hence Theia, mother of sight (thea), was also the mother of the light-beaming sun, moon and dawn.". Theia is also the Goddess of prophecy, so I liked the idea of eyes being able to shine secret lights that reveal what's hidden.
For the harmony I took the chords of yesterday's song and transposed them from minor into the relative major key, which seemed like an apt movement from darkness to lightness. I also kept the beginning of yesterday's melody as a starting point. It was nice being so prescriptive, as it made my compositional decisions much easier and feeling of being free to create within these boundaries was very enjoyable.