Hi everyone, I thought some of you might be interested in how I actually go about creating my music so I decided to make a blog post to explain my process.
My composing process first starts when I find myself in a creative mood and begin to imagine chords, melodies, timbres and rhythms in my head. After getting this inspiration I then record a real time improvised performance of what I'm imagining in my head (yes, this means when I am writing and performing the meditation music, I am actually meditating as I do it)! I also find that I naturally imagine tempo changes in the music, so while others use a metronome (which keeps a steady beat) when doing their first recording- I do not. This is because I find it makes me leave the creative mood I was inspired by. I think of this first recording as the 'backbone' of the music, as it carries the bulk of the musical ideas I wish to convey. Depending on the complexity of the music, as well as the style, I then may go on to change which performance instruments make up this backbone.
For instance, in the Ambient Worlds albums, I performed on my 88 key midi keyboard with two handed chords, with some string or vocal synthesisers as the instruments. For my piano and orchestral music however, I performed on my keyboard using the piano as the main instrument along with my voice. (I would sing at the same time as playing and then later replace my voice with other instruments).
(pictured above: this is my keyboard, a Kawai ES6)
Lately however I've been trying to mix up how I perform this first recording. For instance for the tracks in Dreams of Air and Water, I have begun to record with my keyboard split into two instruments. This means I can play the piano with my left hand, and the bass flute with my right. I also use a midi breath controller to perform dynamics and vibrato while I am playing (it's basically a tube I blow into while playing to control the expression).
I'm currently exploring other ways to enhance the expression and fullness of the improvised performance so that my first recording of a piece captures more of what I am imagining. I've even ordered a footboard (like the ones organists use) to try and incorporate the use of my left foot into my performances! I hope to use the footboard in the bass role in the future. This will allow me to free up some of my left hand to pursue more interesting and accurate harmonies to again make my backbone recording closer to what I am imagining.
After I am finished creating the 'backbone', I go back through the recording and begin to fix the errors that stand out (sometimes however I actually choose to keep an error in as I feel it adds a human touch). I also start to create musical notation, and then do multiple 'pass throughs' where I add additional instruments or effects, and make minor adjustments to EQ as well as the timbre of individual instruments. I run through the entire piece again to make any final edits and then I'm done and ready to share my work!
That just about summarises my music creation process and finishes this post! If you'd like to hear about a specific topic regarding myself or my music or have any comments - I'd love to hear from you! Just add your request or comment below :) Thanks for reading!