Your Opinion, Please

Months of work are coming to a peak! I have finished the audio for the first song, Breath, and am tweaking the video for it now. I hope to premiere it in a post this coming weekend.

In the meantime, I have started a music store on CD Baby which will also appear on my Facebook music page.  Here’s my plan: record and release as a digital download one piece a month of what I am calling “songs from the garden.” In a year’s time, all the songs will then be gathered into a CD and released again as a CD download and/or a physical CD.

For all of my followers and visitors, I would love your feedback and opinions before I finalize the store and premiere the first piece. I have created a short poll of your preferences for online music which will help me decide the best way to proceed with presenting my work.  Every song will be featured here “in entirety” on the blog as a music video but I am still trying to determine the best way to handle the mp3 downloads.

There are no “right or wrong” answers – results (by percentage) will be listed in the next post.  I would love your opinion, please!

My Brain On Jazz

When musicians play along together it isn’t just their instruments that are in time – their brain waves are too. from “Guitarists’ Brains Swing Together” Science Daily

photo of Jazz at JEN

Jazz at JEN

A few weeks ago, I attended (and performed at) a music technology/jazz educators co-conference. I dashed into the hotel deli at lunchtime intending to grab a sandwich “to go” but was stopped in my tracks by a jazz quintet led by trumpeter Ansyn Banks playing a lunchtime concert nearby. I immediately grabbed a table near the stage, ordered lunch, and settled in to listen. Something happens to the brain when listening to great live jazz. I don’t consider myself a jazz musician but I can speak the language enough to write for it and do some basic playing and improvising. As I listened, I was transported to another place. And this was not a “quiet as a mouse” polite audience concert hall – this was a public venue with food, drink, and lots of people in conversations who felt themselves drawn into the maelstrom of sound, the urgency of the message flowing from the stage. Feet and heads began to move, to nod, and a rhythmic oneness began to spread through the crowd.

As I listened, I could feel new neural pathways form and spark across the top of my head; long exaggerated words started to form in my mind. . …Fine………Ahhhhh………Mmmmmmm…..not unlike the murmurs one utters while eating a delicious meal.  And this WAS a delicious meal, an aural feast shared with hundreds of strangers who connected under the skin through a common language of improvisation – a central thread of sound that broke loose in unexpected ways and in brand new directions. And what was happening to my brain on jazz? Continue reading

Fibonacci, What a Notion!

Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world. . .

Fibonacci, What a Notion! was originally commissioned by the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh. Written for children’s choir and jazz ensemble Catch 22, the piece is about the Fibonacci number series and also uses Fibonacci numbers in its construction.  I’ve been writing and recording for the past few weeks and am in the process of reworking this piece for myself as well as for my ensemble. Here’s the first verse of the original piece. 

Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world! One, one, two, three, five, and eight, Add each one accumulate the number called the Golden Section. How to measure such perfection? One, one, two, three, five, and eight, Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world! (lyrics ©2006 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

If you haven’t heard of the Fibonacci number series, perhaps you are familiar with Continue reading

On Being Versatile

Charlotte the spider told Wilbur “I’m versatile.” Wilbur asked “Does “versatile” mean “full of eggs”?” Charlotte replied “No, it means I can change with ease from one thing to another.” Adapted from Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Once again, I have been honored with another blogging award, The Versatile Blogger, from poet AZ/catcherofstars of Verse Not Prose and photographer Kerry of Lightscapes Nature Photography. I accept it with humility and grace, knowing that it is coming from two WONDERFUL bloggers and I apologize for the delayed response. Kerry particularly had insightful thoughts on the practice of giving and receiving blogging awards, and I refer you back to his post with “Ditto, what he said!” With the award comes some obligations: post the image of the award; acknowledge the one(s) who nominated you; share 7 facts about yourself; and nominate others in turn and inform them of their nomination. The numbers vary on this last one, so I take the path of moderation in all things.

However, I will preface this post by the admission that I am of two minds about the award, but not from the obligations incurred. No, for me it is all about the perception of being versatile in the world of creative arts.

Tools are often sold on the basis of their versatility, whether it is a Continue reading

A Song for the Winter Solstice

Winter, an artist’s sketch in charcoal, so clearly etched against a cloud filled sky. . .

Snowy WoodsIn celebration of the moment when the earth turns on its axis back to the light of the sun.  This year, in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs on December 22. Time and Date offers a clear explanation of the solstice as well as explores the customs and traditions around it. To see a beautiful collection of “brown and gray and sometimes white” nature photography, explore Robin’s post on frosted Queen Ann’s Lace in Life in the Bogs. To read a beautiful modern fairy tale about the Queen of Air and Storm, visit Elizabeth Yon’s “Sweet May: A Fable.”

“Winter” was one of those songs written in a moment, in a winter where snow alternated with grey skies and brown earth. This recording is a “first take” for both the piano and vocal. The visuals are all from my garden.  Enjoy!

All music making is collaborative in nature.  A special thanks to Barbara Nissman for contributing her master’s touch on the piano to this song and Mike Tomaro for his haunting soprano sax improvisations. And as always, to my gifted husband Bill Purse, who generously shares his skills as audio engineer and producer in my artistic endeavors.

Winter, ©2009 Lynn Emberg Purse All RIghts Reserved

Winter, snow falling down
Winter, the world is gray and brown, gray and brown and sometimes white
for a night and a day, then all is gray

Autumn in leaves of gold
Springtime, a thousand shades of green unfold to summer
with its joyous Joseph’s Coat of colors, endless colors, endless colors . . .

Winter, an artist’s sketch in charcoal
so clearly etched against a cloud filled sky
Subtle and dark, lovely and stark in gentle tones of gray
and brown and sometimes white
for a night and a day, then all turns gray
Winter today

Soft clouds, soft snow, soft browns, whites and grays
Winter today

Text and media of “A Song for the Winter Solstice” ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved. Please do not reblog.