I took a deep breath. The smell of new electronics hung in the air, giving me some inspiration. My fingers reached down. A modern synth-string sound emanated from the studio speakers. Yes, modern, and yet the strings had a certain sizzle that spoke of the late 1970s. I had spent over an hour getting the sound just how I wanted it.
I listened closely, with my body as much as my ears.
My fingers changed position on their own, so I had a G in the bass. My left hand was also playing a D, with a Bb, D, F and A in the right hand. The smoldering G minor 9th chord just oozed that downtown, cool jazzy feeling. You know the one.
I shifted, without thinking to B Major 7. Yeah, a quick pivot on the Bb/A#. It felt right, and better yet, with that sizzling string sound, it sounded right, even if very dissonant. Very, very dissonant.
I pivoted back and forth a few times. Yeah, that’s it.
I renamed the D# in my right hand to “Eb” and did another pivot to an F Major minor 7. Without thinking it resolved into a Bb Major triad.
OK, it was smooth transition, but too obvious, and perhaps a little hokey after that jazzy beginning, don’t you think?
I heard laughter.
Lifting my fingers from the keys, I pivoted.
So, that wasn’t my cat listening in. It was her.
“Funny,” I said.
“You should have seen your expression when the full impact of that last chord hit you!” She doubled over in her mirth.
I shook my head.
In the wink of an eye her pure sensuality was covered in a very conservative, 18th century outfit.
“That resolution to the Bb was the perfect classical resolution, no? And you used to enjoy classical so much!” she said. “You were going to be a serious composer and we actually wrote an hour-long symphony for a very large orchestra. Super complex piece too, if I remember.”
“Is that a complaint? Do you want me to go back to ‘serious concert music’ again?”
The muse was once again all Earthy sensuality. “Hell no! This is much more fun.” She shimmied for a moment and then stopped. “But…”
“My sister was visiting me the other day and said she’s not done with you.”
“But, what? You have a completely finished novel waiting to be published. When did you last work on that?”
“I drew a map on Monday! The cover is completed! I’m working on it!”
“Yeah, that was our other sister’s fault. She likes to watch you draw, paint and take pictures and stuff. How distracting. Bitch. I mean, when did you last write?”
“Uhm. I did make a few small corrections in July, when a beta reader sent me an errata sheet.”
“Really? That is not creative! No wonder my favorite sister is in hiding!”
“But when is the last time I was super creative with music? It might have been that symphony…”
“You’ll have my undivided attention…. later. And what about those thirty or forty short stories you were going to narrow down to a manageable level for a book of stories? They’ll need a ton of attention before seeing the light of day.”
“And then there are a thousand other stories fluttering around that airy skull of yours.”
“Have you even thought of writing a more complex piece of fiction in the last year? A book? A novella? Anything?”
“Yeah, you see…”
“Promise me you will write tomorrow and I will tell her to come back for a visit. You’ll like that. I know. And so will she, which will make me happy.
“Uhm, and if I don’t promise?”
I tried and just couldn’t get back into the grove. A few I-IV-V progressions that were lame. I tried some 7th and 9th chords, but they sounded awful, not smooth at all.
“OK, OK, I’ll start again. Tomorrow…”
Suddenly I was back to that original progression, but that F 7 went into a C minor 7, which, with one note change, became an Ab major 9, the Neapolitan chord for G minor with an added 9th, so it resolved to that G minor like nobody’s business, though a different voicing than before. A few notes moving around and we are back to the same voicing as the start, which kept moving to the dissonant B, before returning to the G 9. A little more movement, but this time instead of the B, it stopped at a D major, the dominant, unresolved. Strangely, after that B, the non-dissonant D was a shock.
Hmm, not done, but better.
I played again, hearing a groove in the back of my head. At the end I slowly lifted my fingers waiting for the last reverberations to evaporate.
I looked up. Her eyes were on fire. Damn it, literally on fire. I hate it when she does that trick! But the eyes soon extinguished to hot, glowing coals.
“When we pick it up after my sister finishes with you, we’ll put in a funky bass line to add a bit of groove. Something sinewy and sexy. And then…”
She winked… a wink that promised more than was appropriate…
And then winked out of existence.
I played a chord.
It was sour.
Her sister would be back tomorrow and we’d write.
Or so I hoped.
I wrote this little amusement in answer to a challenge set down not by a muse, about a muse, by D. Wallace Peach. See here.
11/26/2020 – OK, the music muse came back and I did a quick recording… Click here if you don’t see the video below