In Greek mythology A Dryad is a tree nymph or spirit whose life is tied to the tree she is born with. If the tree flourishes, so does she, and if the tree dies she dies with it. A year ago I took up learning the double bass, and as my attachment to the instrument has deepened I have started to connect with the life inside it, which could perhaps be romantically viewed as the Dryad that was once a part of the tree my bass was carved from.
There are many beautiful stories, myths and beliefs about the life and memory attached to musical instruments, and the longer I spend with my bass the more it comes to life, responding to the weather, to my moods, to the music it has played, and the music it wants to play.
Following 2016’s Song-Chain Project, the Dryad Project is both a personal composition and practice project, with the composition directed by my challenges and interests on the instrument. It is about bringing creativity and improvisation into my practice routine and letting the instrument direct my creative process, all while using composition to help solve technical challenges. Keeping with the theme, I have chosen The Dryad by Hans Christian Andersen as a starting point for any lyrical development. You can read that story here: http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheDryad_e.html
While I hope to produce a new work for performance, I don’t wish to torture myself with strict deadlines for finished works the way I did with the Song-Chain Project. Instead I’ll simply be sharing a daily snippet of my work toward the project as part of the larger #100daysofpractice movement, along with some semi-regular writing about the project. I will likely need more than 100 days, especially if I’m to successfully play any of the music I write, but it feels wise to give myself an end point. At least to take a breath and decide where to go next.