SCP #57: Hummingbird
When I started this project back in January I was still sailing along on the time-rich bliss of summer school holidays. I had a great routine of waking up, practicing mandolin or guitar with coffee, doing some exercise while listening to a podcast, showering, practicing some more before and after lunch, then working on my daily song in the evening. But then the school term and private teaching started up again and my routine got thrown into turbulence and I haven't been able to steady it since.
My daily instrumental practice is the main task that has fallen off, and as a result I feel very rusty on mandolin and guitar. One of my goals this year is to become confident at improvising on both instruments, so I'm disappointed in myself for letting this practice slide. I am still working on my instrumental skills incidentally through writing these songs, but I am missing out on both the maintenance practice to keep my technique strong, and the targeted practice that will help me advance toward my goals. I haven't played mandolin in a few weeks, so I made myself pick it up for this piece to at least re-familiarise my fingers with the fretboard.
My starting point for this piece was a major third interval, and the theme bird, both taken from the previous day's piece. When you stack major thirds you end up with an augmented triad, so I worked with a lydian augmented scale for the harmony of this piece. I did some serial composition using the words HUM and BIRD to find some melodic ideas, and the unusual harmonic space was both interesting and tricky to work with. The lyrical idea came from Mayan folklore, and the belief that a hummingbird is the sun in disguise, constantly trying to seduce the moon.