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January 7, 2006

This week, I discovered sketches for all my old pieces (and I mean ALL). I keep everything, apparently, including old, crappy pop songs I tried to write in ninth grade. Those should be shredded. Anyway, I found some sketches for Monkey. Prompted by a recent thread on the BCM forum, I decided to scan some of these in and post them here. Note: these images average around 500k, and will display very large on the screen, so I have them set to pop up in a separate window.

Also, you can listen to the last 90 seconds of the piece, here.

First up, we have a prose description of what was going to happen in the piece, including a ‘jungle ambience’ opening which I cut (I didn’t even remember it until I found this):

Monkey Notes

This is the most extensive description of the piece, though the final version doesn’t really follow this outline – not sure how it evolved from this. I know it involved a lot of caffeine (which I don’t normally drink).

Here’s a much earlier sketch, from January 21st, 1997 – this must have been one of the earliest ideas for the piece:

Monkey Sketch 1

This next sketch shows the formation of ideas about what would happen in the piece on the large scale – particularly the idea of a narrative of “young monkeys” vs. “elder monkeys.”

Monkey Sketch 2

The piece has two different sections, demarcated by two different tempi. The first consists of the young monkeys at play – monkey business as usual. The second has the elder monkeys arriving to enact discipline, resulting in a heightened frenzy as the youths rebel. The second tempo is much faster – the quarter-note triplet becomes the new quarter note pulse (this is foreshadowed in several spots earlier in the piece, where the tempo abruptly changes for one or two bars, and then reverts).

The final sketch doesn’t contain much musical content, but is interesting because apparently I was considering calling the piece “Hear No Evil” – I don’t remember that at all…

Monkey Sketch 3

So, there you are – a peek into my monkey mind…