May 12 • 3M

Meditation | 009

Contentment | E Major | Vol. I

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A new original instrumental song every month from a Pacific Northwest-based musician and composer.
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Thank you for being here for the ninth installment of this newsletter.

As spring takes root, I’m reminded of these stirring words from Alice Fogel’s poem Unlocking (which I shared back in Meditation 005):

…It is time
to turn yourself loose, like new leaves…

🎵 This month’s song is a jaunty little thing in E major.1 To me, this one feels like lying down in a sun-drenched meadow, free from any “input from other minds” (as Cal Newport would put it), watching clouds drift dreamily by. I wrote the main melody of this song for a theory and composition course I took last year at Berklee with Melissa Howe — originally for a few different instruments, including some bass and drums — but I decided to turn it into a piano piece.

Theory note: You’ll hear some modal interchange in this song (i.e., chords borrowed from a different key). I borrowed an Amin7 chord from the song key’s parallel minor (E minor) which provides a little color in the song’s B section.

A rough sketch of part of the original piece. You can see the IVmaj7 followed by a IVmin7 in measures 27 & 28.

📷 I took this month’s photo with a DSLR somewhere in the Swiss Alps,2 drawn, once again, to try and capture the sun as it filtered through the trees overhead.

I invite you to sit with this song, photo, and poem and make them a small part of your day, whether that’s your morning ritual, afternoon break, or your evening wind-down.

As always, if you feel like it, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you again for being here. Whatever you’re bringing to today is enough.

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A Poem

Today

by Billy Collins3

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Currently

Listening to

Dear Thomas Wolfe by Damien Jurado (Listen)

  • Reminder: I’m putting all the songs shared in the newsletter into this Spotify playlist

Reading

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Powell’s)

Admiring

  • The artwork of my dear friend Jon Wilcox, who is responsible for this dazzling new FC logo:

1

Contentment in E major / Recorded in Logic Pro / Written, recorded, and produced by Fog Chaser / Mixed and mastered by Chad Skinner at Half Moon Audio

2

Contentment / DSLR, (ISO: 400 / Focal length: 18 mm / F number: f/14 / Exposure time: 1/500s / Edited in Adobe Lightroom). Print. Geotag: Aletsch Glacier⁩, ⁨Gimmelwald⁩, ⁨Bern⁩, ⁨Switzerland⁩

3

From Poetry (2000)

4

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