Meditation | 009
Contentment | E Major | Vol. I
Thank you for being here for the ninth installment of this newsletter.
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…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.
📷 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.
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.
Dear Thomas Wolfe by Damien Jurado (Listen)
Reminder: I’m putting all the songs shared in the newsletter into this Spotify playlist
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Powell’s)
The artwork of my dear friend Jon Wilcox, who is responsible for this dazzling new FC logo:
Fellow PNW composer David Swick just launched his own newsletter here on Substack where he’ll be sharing his beautiful original solo piano music. Take a look/listen:
I recently got to meet a couple of folks from the Substack4 universe in person — Katie, who is part of the incredible community team at Substack, and Leo, who writes Shuffle Sundays. They’re both wonderful, and both have been instrumental (pun intended?) in helping me shape this newsletter. I’m so glad I finally got to meet them after months of Zoom meetings. Check out Leo’s newsletter if you’re in the market for some excellent music recommendations:
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