Ableton Live Suite 10
1 In/2 Out
My dad passed away after a year-long battle with brain cancer when I was nine years old. I remember a very specific portrait a few days before he died, this is the musical representation of that scene.
Since I was so young the background of the image is fuzzy so I decided to use no fixed media in this short vignette. It’s also quite short with only one melodic focus. I call this motive the sadness theme, and had it appear in all four movements in some form.
To accentuate the fuzziness of the memory I am using an Ableton filter that creates a scratched record sound of clicks and pops through the trumpet solo. This movement also uses trumpet instead of flugelhorn as this was the only instrument I played at that age.
The second effect, my own adjustments on an existing effect, called “zerr” creates a guttural resonance when the lament descends to the fifth. I was meditating and doing an improvisation when I came across the motive and this sound.
I find it fascinating how an electronic effect can help convey human emotion so clearly. This short portrait of leaning my head against the hospital room wall after saying goodbye to my dad for the last time encapsulates to much of the deep sadness that comes with the loss of a parent.
The music and the electronics are both intentionally simple here in this movement, because that’s what this sadness was. The single sound of the trumpet indicates the difficulty of a child to consider more than their own internal thoughts and emotions and the way I can remember the specifics of my feelings a place in that moment, but everything else about the scene changes when I really consider it deeply.