7. Charlemagne and the modern synthesizer --------------------------------- Previous - Next - Contents
Coming Home : by Michael Furstner

Charlemagne, 742-814 A few times I have referred in my Blog to the famous statement by Charlemagne who once pronounced that

"to speak an other language is to possess an other soul."

Those who do speak a language other than their native tongue know above statement to be true.
For the moment you start speaking another language you immediately are drawn into the culture of the country and people who speak that language. It is quite remarkable and one of the main reasons I enjoy returning to Europe where I can speak Dutch, German or even a bit of French or Spanish. For each language a different perspective of my personality comes to the fore.

Daughter Babette with partner Doug Another thought, very much in line with Charlemagne's profound statement, struck me the other day when I was listening again to one of my Jazz compositions, Coming Home I had recorded in 2008.

Most of the 80 or more songs I have composed over the years illustrate specific educational aspects of music in my lessons, but a dozen or so I wrote prompted by a special mood or emotion.

Coming Home is one of those. It expresses the feeling of joy and happiness when returning home to the one you love.
My Korg PA 1X, intelligent keyboard Modern day digital sampling of the sounds of various instruments is absolutely amazing.
They are so realistic that, unless you actually see the keyboard player playing a synthesizer, you would swear the performer was playing a guitar, a saxophone or a flugel horn.

The sound also has a profound effect on the mind and creative direction of the performer.
Although you are playing a keyboard, feeling the keys with your fingers, the sound produced instantly draws you into the nature (read "culture") of the instrument it belongs to.

My recording of Coming Home shows this aspect well.
The recording covers 4 choruses of the song. The first chorus is the melody played with a acoustic guitar sound. The following three choruses are improvisations played with the sounds of a vocal group, then a tenor sax and finally the acoustic guitar (which repeats part of the melody over the final 8 bars).
The different moods reflected by the three instruments are shown in the following table.

MP3 recording : Coming Home
(Please listen to it through quality ear phones or speakers)

Chorus Type Instrument Mood
1 Melody Acoustic guitar guitar articulation
2 Improvisation Vocal group mellow, soothing
3 Improvisation Tenor saxophone earthy, exuberant
4 Improvisation Acoustic guitar playful

So, just like speaking an other language draws a person into the culture of that language, the sound of an instrument (played on a synthesizer or intelligent keyboard) draws the performer into the nature and mood of the genuine instrument.

Coming Home is a 32 bars long song. It is in the AABA format, typical of many Jazz standards. The song starts with an 8-bar "A-section" which is repeated once. This is followed by the 8-bar long bridge or "B-section". The chorus is completed by a third and final A-section.
Coming Home : A-section

The sequence of chords ("chord progression") that underlies the A-section of the song is the same as for many famous ballads, like My Funny Valentine (Rogers & Hart), Masquerade (Leon Russell) and Feelings (Morris Albert).

For this song's ending see Richard Feynman's "Sum over Histories"

Next Page - Top of Page

Copyright © 2017 Michael Furstner