Byroads - Program

When I was looking for a title for my project, I translated the German term “Nebenstraßen” into “Byroads” - which seems pretty obvious for my kind of music.

Another choice would have been a translation of “Programmmusik” (program music). I rejected that for obvious reasons – it has a silly sound, to say the least. But it might have been a better description of what I'm trying to do.

In my songs lyrics come first. The music is just commenting the words. If the words are simple – like in Memories or Echos - the music can stay simple as well. The first song in the current “cycle” of what I'm just doing is Becoming - written on a trip thru South Africa, featuring musical standards used in African popular music, like unmodified cadences and patterns of “call and response”.

Sometimes the topic touched by the lyrics needs some level of comment. The music I do is not just paraphrasing what is already said, but offers some kind of an emotional level of understanding. Big words! ..and I'm not even sure if I can even touch that level at all; if I have the skills, as a composer, to do so.

Nevertheless: Nightfall is a good example of what I'm trying to do. It's a reminiscence to Richard Wagner's “Tristan & Isolde” (the “sirene” in the lyrics is – pretty obvious, at least to me – Isolde); there are several occurrences of the “Tristan” chord in the music. The formal structure of the song follows a “program”: Daylight (the intro) – Sunset (verse 1), Nightfall (verse 2), Rite Of The Shadows (interlude), Night (verse3). The entire structure is “reverse”; as is living, dying..

And so on (the dissonant Harps in Lies are not a coincidence, when the lyrics states: “I love you”; neither is the marching snare in Child of My Time in the last verse).

But it's up to the listener to make the connections – I just had a thought that it might help to give a hint.

In the last couple of weeks I did some re-recordings/re-mixes of some of the songs that started the cycle:




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