Friday, August 30, 2013

15.) Doheny August 30, 2013


My wife and I just returned from a California trip.  It was basically a drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  It was amazing.  The Pacific Ocean has magical powers.  It's unfathomable.  You'll surely be reading more about the trip on this blog in the future.  One of the highlights for me was an afternoon of surfing at Doheny State Beach in southern Orange County.  I went to this beach on recommendation of my buddy Justin Keller.  It was a special place.  Gentle waves and gentle surfers.  I've heard a lot about the angry territorial surfers of southern California and the strict etiquette followed at the heavily populated beaches.  As a relative beginner, I was looking for a place with a more relaxed vibe, and Doheny was perfect.   People were having a lot of fun, and were not concerned about dropping in.  (Dropping in is basically catching a wave that someone has already caught, often restricting their route options.) They were cheering each other on.  It was beautiful.  For me, surfing is about connecting with nature and having fun.  Doheny was the perfect place to experience both of those things.

So getting back to composing this week, I was naturally hearing something of major tonality, just to reflect the beauty of the trip.  So I went with Messiaen's seventh mode, which is essentially a chromatic scale minus two pitches.  I thought I would be able to extract the major tonality out of it.  In this case, I was in G major and the pitches I had to avoid were A and Eb.  It was especially challenging to avoid A - I was hearing it so often.  I was forced to find my way around it.  Just like avoiding surfers who were paddling out while I was riding a wave (if you allow me to be so corny).

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