25 TUNES OF X-MAS 2014

From December 1 - 25th, I'm composing a new piece of music every day and recording a rough demo to post here.  This creative challenge is not only to write new music, but to push myself to expand the styles & range of music I create.  All the while, sharing it with you - my listeners. Enjoy!


DECEMBER 25 - JUST LIVE

creativity quote of the day

"Never fear failure; rather let regret be your motivational fear."
- KARRNNEL SAWITSKY -

JUST LIVE is a reflective piece of music that I wrote today while imagining the completion of this project. The message of the song is the idea that you can't have the good without the bad - the the reward without struggle, and so on.  I have learned so much about my creative process over these last 25 days and I will share my thoughts in an upcoming blog post.


DECEMBER 24 - EVE'S REEL

creativity quote of the day

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
- ANDY WARHOL -

EVE'S REEL was written with Christmas eve as the inspiration and as this being the second last day of this project. I have learned a lot by doing this project and feel that today's quote very accurately describes how I am feeling with writing new music right now - writing music is my passion and I won't stop doing that.


DECEMBER 23 - 4 AT 1223

creativity quote of the day

“Creative power is mightier than its possessor.”
- C.G. JUNG -

DOWNLOAD SHEET MUSIC FOR 4 AT 1223

4 AT 1223 was inspired by my wife. We were married 4 months ago today. The idea for the first part of the tune, at least partially was as a result of the counter melody line that is heard in the demo. The idea of writing counter melodies and/or supporting melodies in addition to the melody of the tune is something that I really enjoy working on.


DECEMBER 22 - MY GOOD FRIENDS

creativity quote of the day

“The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.”
- ERNEST BECKER -

MY GOOD FRIENDS was written as a bit of a challenge with myself to compose a children's song. While I do have lyrics for this song, I will spend some more time with them to polish the overall song and arrange a proper demo. When I was writing this song, I have never felt more closely tied to Ernest Becker's quote (see above).


DECEMBER 21 - STARTING OVER

creativity quote of the day

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”
- MARSHALL MCLUHAN -

STARTING OVER was named after the experience that I had today with this project. While my overall goal for the project was to create a new piece of music every day, after writing a piece of music earlier today that I wasn't happy with and consequently having to start over, I realize now how important I value the critical review process of new creative works.


DECEMBER 20 - ELEVENTH HOUR

creativity quote of the day

“Follow the path of your aroused thought, and you will soon meet this infernal inscription: There is nothing so beautiful as that which does not exist.”
- PAUL VALÉRY -

ELEVENTH HOUR was inspired by,  just as the name suggests, the looming deadline of today's tune. This is the latest in the day that I have created any of the tunes so far.  I ended up recording the demo with some improv sections. 5 DAYS LEFT.


DECEMBER 19 - TUNED OUT

creativity quote quote of the day

“Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition.”
- MAX ERNST -

TUNED OUT was conceived from a simple chord progression and the idea of a slight alteration to that progression in the second half of the tune. I named the tune after how I was feeling today - like I was out of tunes. The curious thing that I find with this project is that it is forcing me to make creative decisions with ideas for tunes or songs that I would otherwise let sit for whatever amount of time.


DECEMBER 18 - SWING DECEMBER

creativity quote of the day

“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.”
- ALBERT SZENT-GYÖRGYL -

SWING DECEMBER was inspired by the idea of how quickly the month of December passes by every year. I wanted to write a swing tune that kind of echoed the busyness of this month, all the while maintaining the overall joy that this time of year brings to so many people.


DECEMBER 17 - THE MINISTRY

creativity quote of the day

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.”
- ROLLO MAY -

THE MINISTRY was named after the coffee shop in Ottawa (The Ministry of Coffee) that has become my unofficial office during this project. I wanted the overall tune to have a tranquil, almost soothing feel about it and the melody to be unique and complex when listened to meticulously.


DECEMBER 16 - SALLY'S REEL

creativity quote of the day

“The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”
- ROBERT HENRI -

SALLY'S REEL was named for two purposes. First, it was named after the standard tune name that my wife calls any fiddle tune that she doesn't know the name of - in other words every tune. Secondly, it is named after a great friend of ours from Regina that is a great person and we are lucky to call a friend.


DECEMBER 15 - LE REEL DE NORDIK SPA

creativity quote of the day

“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”
- STEVE MARTIN -

LE REEL DE NORDIK SPA was written with an overly present anticipation to get to the Nordik Spa in Chelsea, QC. Having a creative task to complete with a relaxing spa day on the mind, I thought it was appropriate to name the tune after the spa. I can definitely hear a French-Canadian aspect to the tune.


DECEMBER 14 - THE DAY OFF THEME

creativity quote of the day

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
- LOUIS PASTEUR -

THE DAY OFF THEME was inspired by the excitement that people feel for that first day off after a long stretch of work. Regardless if you are working at a job you love, hate or tolerate, that feeling of having a day to do what you want seems to always be there. I wanted the backup of this tune to create a little tension and then resolve in a constant relaxed groove.


DECEMBER 13 - SUNNY AUSTRING-WINTER

creativity quote of the day

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
- BEATRIX POTTER -

SUNNY AUSTRING-WINTER was written for a friend of mine, Bonnie Austring-Winter, who just recently retired from the CBC. She is a great person that is a huge supporter of music in Saskatchewan and on a personal level, gave me some great opportunities to work with the CBC. When I woke up to write this tune, the sun was shining on my fiddle and that caused my G string to slip down to a D. I started to jam on this cross tuning and the music just sort of came out.


DECEMBER 12 - CLOSE TO HOME

creativity quote of the day

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”
- ALBERT EINSTEIN -

CLOSE TO HOME was composed with the idea that we strive to be close to home in work and almost all facets of life. Today I found it very tough to complete this project based on 'life business' and this idea of wanting to stay close to home intrigued me in writing this tune.


DECEMBER 11 - 38 & GONE

creativity quote of the day

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
- JOHN QUINCY ADAMS -

38 & GONE was written in memory of Derek Bachman. His tireless and passionate work in support of the music scene in Saskatchewan and for the promotion of Saskatchewan musicians around the globe will never be forgotten.


DECEMBER 10 - OFF TO THE ST. LAWRENCE

creativity quote of the day

“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.”
- COCO CHANEL -

OFF TO THE ST. LAWRENCE was inspired by the walk I have made many times to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. One of those trips that is equally as exciting to get there, as it is to get back home to start cooking. Stylistically, I wanted this tune to have a unique energy.  I also wanted it to have a strong rhythmic drive.


DECEMBER 9 - THE CLIFF EDGE THEME

creativity quote of the day

“If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.”
- KEN ROBINSON -

THE CLIFF EDGE THEME was composed for a short film called The Cliff Edge. The film does not exist.  As I began to write this tune, I was imagining the score for a narrative about a solo rock climber on a long journey.  I have worked and collaborated with some amazing filmmakers and composing music for film and video is a process that I really enjoy doing.  The arrangement of this tune came out of improvisation with 2 fiddle parts and an octave fiddle part.


DECEMBER 8 - FOR MATTEO

creativity quote of the day

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
- MAYA ANGELOU -

FOR MATTEO was written for my nephew, and sort of 'completes the set' of tunes written for my niece and nephews. Inspiration and the idea for the tune revolved around Matteo's easy going demeanor (for a baby). To me, the tune has a unique blend of Canadian old time and Cape Breton fiddle styles.   


DECEMBER 7 - CELESTE'S FIRST REEL

creativity quote of the day

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all."
- OSCAR WILDE -

CELESTE'S FIRST REEL was written for my niece who is just starting to learn the fiddle. I wanted to write a tune that Celeste (and other fiddle students) could one day learn and was a fun to play slow but also a little bit of a challenge to play up to tempo.


DECEMBER 6 - NEW GUY

creativity quote of the day

"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work."
- RITA MAE BROWN -

NEW GUY was written this morning after I found out that my sister and brother-in-law had a baby boy. Inspired by my new nephew's birthday, I set out to write a tune with distinctly different parts - in terms of the what key they were in - based on how different the day has become since he was born.  He doesn't have a name yet I couldn't name the tune after him.


DECEMBER 5 - WHISKEY BOOTS

creativity quote of the day

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."
- PABLO PICASSO -

WHISKEY BOOTS began to take shape after I found the Picasso quote above, and spent some time improvising with that thought in mind. The idea that rules are made to be broken is something that has always resonated with me, and I suppose this is why Whiskey Boots turned out to be a slight departure to a traditional fiddle tune. The name came about after I asked my wife what she thought of the tune.


DECEMBER 4 - START OF DAY

creativity quote of the day

"Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity."
- T. S ELIOT -

START OF DAY was written while I was looking out the window this morning and watching the day begin to unfold. My small view of the city showed brief moments of random people, places and events, and seemed to have a constant (almost soothing) rhythm about it. I would say that my view out that window was really a glimpse into the 'almost everyday' for those random people that inspired this melody. Similar from day to day individually, but collectively different everyday.


DECEMBER 3 - WAITING FOR WORDS

creativity quote of the day

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
- CHARLES MINGUS -

WAITING FOR WORDS came to life with the progression of guitar chords in the first part of the tune. That progression led me to the melody that you hear for the rest of the tune. While writing this piece of music, I always heard this melody as a song with lyrics - something that I still hear when I listen. As I'm still waiting for the right words to come to this melody, after this project is done I will spend some time trying to find them.


DECEMBER 2 - RONIM ROAD

creativity quote of the day

"An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
- EDWIN LAND -

RONIM ROAD was inspired by a comment a friend recently made at a jam about how great fiddle tunes are in E minor.  With a Celtic feel (at least a little bit) and melodic twists, I hope to add to the vast collection of good tunes in E minor with today's track.  The name was inspired by the journey or road this project will travel down, and the road's name 'Ronim' is minor in reverse.


DECEMBER 1 - THE ENSEMBLE REEL

creativity quote of the day

“Creativity takes courage” 
- HENRI MATISSE -

THE ENSEMBLE REEL is a fiddle tune relatively standard in form and was composed with the feel of a Cape Breton / Scottish fiddle tune - to some part inspired by the time I recently spent playing at the Celtic Colours Festival about a month ago. The name was inspired by the Canadian Folk Music Award that The Fretless won on Nov. 29, 2014 (Ensemble of the Year) in Ottawa.