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Monica Xiao | Piano Music Posts

Music Projects during the lock-down

My dear friends,

It has been a long time since my last update. Not much could happen to one’s life in two years, though there has been some major change in me. Being an animal lover, I managed to make many little human friends. That is for sure an obstacle overcame.

My life was quite full and enjoyable with study and work. It is too busy for a minimum 3 day session by the piano, totally jammed between the desire to create and the frustrations. If it were not for the lock-down during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I would not “end up” making music again.

I hesitate a lot when it comes to writing about this piece. It was during a time when some heavy, yet shocking news reached me. I couldn’t think of what to do then, as my mind was occupied by the horrible incident and couldn’t deal with the usual way of life. To compose is the only thing I could do, so I did. My husband was very supportive and never interfered during the night when I was building my feelings up for this piece. He has my gratitude.

The other piece is more joyful, as how I felt when I wrote it a week ago. I started one melody while watching the balcony birds coming to our drinking fountain. They are super agile and playful, not scared of a piano player nearby. The artwork I used here is by Hieronymus Bosch. The painting is my love at first sight, and it fit almost exactly the imagined world I was creating through music, or trying to create.

My favorite music piece at all times has 2 thumbs up on YouTube.

It is a big world.

Let’s hear some echos.

The story is, when I was in Norway the first time as a visitor, I met a jazz musician Dag Arnesen who was playing at a Sino-Norge event. He was not very interested in socializing with the politicians, and he gave me one of his CD “Norwegian Songs” which he prepared for the “important” people in the event. He probably had no idea how many times I had listened to it since then. “Arietta” was my favorite among the songs. It had 2, now 3 likes on YouTube through the years.

Not trying to compete with him now or anytime in the future, here is my interpretation of Edvard Greg’s Arietta.

A Typical 12-day Birth of My Compositions

Day 1: made a short phrase as a motivation of a song.

Day 2: extended the phrase into a minute long section.

Day 3: got stuck at the end of the minute section.

Day 4: got stuck at the end of the minute section.

Day 5: continue the composition with a second section.

Day 6: got stuck at the end of the second section.

Day 7: decided that the first section is not as good as the second, abandon the first section.

Day 8: develop the second section by 3 variable repeats.

Day 9: complete the composition and fix the tempo.

Day 10: listening millions of times to check if there is a flaw in the audio.

Day 11: after some sleep, listen again to check for flaws in the audio.

Day 12: publishing the work here.


The Hidden Life of Coots

In a well-hidden place, there is a well-hidden flock of animals. They swim, dive, eat, they follow, they chase away each other. They form a community and their daily routine, all without being noticed or documented. Relying on water to commute, they can barely take off, which makes them the only birds that flock in 2 dimensions. From ground level, they look nothing as interesting as the swans, merely a dark group of waterfowl floating in dark water. But from above, the water turns crisp green, and one can see how they organically follow each other to form an amazing pattern.

I am fascinated by those birds every time I watch the footage. I am grateful to my husband, the photographer, whose love to wild life and nature brought us to this clip.

Hope you like the music I made especially for “The Hidden Life of Coots”. Visitors from China please go to Skypixel to see this film.