The tricky part about the Challenge of Music is to pick just one piece of music. One piece, out of all the great music in the world. This time the theme was instrumental music, but it doesn't really narrow it down very much as I enjoy instrumental music of all kinds, from classical to contemporary electronica. In the end I settled for one thing, a specific sound I adore. The sound of an instrument that goes plink.
I love instruments that go plink, be it a celesta (that lovely instrument you can hear e.g. in Tjajkovskij's The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), glockenspiel, music box, harp, clock or synth. There's a little bit of magic in that sound. Like a beam of moonlight, a lone star shining in the evening sky, dewdrops shimmering on a spider web or gentle snowfall at night (you know the kind that is silent, but still makes that unmistakable sound). Or the "true" magic you find in the more poetic fantasy stories I read.
Now, The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is lovely, but it was ruled out as so many associate it with Fantasia (which I've never seen by the way). So what could I find instead? Wintergatan. I actually discovered this group after signing up for the challenge and starting to look around for my challenge piece. I began to think about my favourite instrumental music, both old and new, when Detektivbyrån popped up in my head. Sadly, the band dissolved in 2010, but listening to one of their songs on YouTube I read a comment mentioning on of the band member's new project -- and thus I found Wintergatan. And my chosen piece of music, Sommarfågel (= Summer Bird).
Wintergatan, which means the Milky Way in swedish, is a new band by Martin Molin. This time he's joined by David Zandén, Evelina Hägglund och Marcus Sjöberg. They use instruments like glockenspiel, analog synthesizer, music box, vibraphone, drums, accordion, theremin, vibraphone and many more. Their first album will be out in May so at the moment you can only listen to/buy their double single Sommarfågel & Starmachine2000. You can read more about on their website.
Below, I've also added the video for the second piece of the double single, Starmachine2000. Not for the song, though nice, but because you can see how the music box and the punched cards with the melodies were made after the end of the song.
I wish I had the supplies to make something of the first idea that popped into my head -- and that might also be the part that made the challenge hard, having to abandon something I felt immediately -- as it was all about the mechanical motions, clockwork parts and old-fashioned handicraft that's behind music boxes and musical automata like the Peacock Clock at the Ermitage or the Silver Swan. Or a simple modern dancing ballerina jewellery box for that matter.
Alas, my focus had to change and instead I kept focusing on that idea of magic that I find in the type of instruments mentioned initially. Be it real fairytale magic or illusions to create a sense of magic in everyday life. Magic and starlight.
As the challenge was not only about creating jewellery, I thought of other things to do and at first it resulted in a series of digital art doodles:
The I made one more yesterday.
For the last image I used a picture of a frozen brook with a few added stars from the software, but the "stars" in the other pictures are actually grit on a greenhouse window pane. If you're a follower of my blog you know I love my moody greenhouse window photos.
I also made a bracelet last minute, after scrapping several ideas. Not the piece I'm most proud of -- wanted to use other materials, like matte blackened wire, but had to make due with what I had -- and it's going to be redone later, but I wanted to create something a bit more hands-on. Not that the challenge demanded it, but because that's what I wanted to do from the beginning. And that means showing you something I'm not pleased with -- or maybe I should say something I'm not finished with. Because I do think it could be the base of something good. It's not a bad piece of finished jewellery, it's a WIP that can show it's full potential yet.
Here, the feeling of magic and starlight is to be found in the (on the photo hard-to-spot) light rose satin crystals and silver-lined transprent grey mini drops nestled among the peacock keshi pearls and aubergine silk cord, which represent the faster passages and the other instruments.
Funny how I throughout settled for dark colours when I don't actually perceive the music as dark. I find Sommarfågel to be a positive, upbeat piece of music. Maybe the darkness is just a way to make the glimmering shards (i.e. the music box melody) emerge more clearly. Maybe the fast pace of some of the passages felt heavy and that translated into darkness, eventhough it doesn't sound that dark.
If you've managed to get through this verbose post -- thank you for doing that! -- then you might also want to check out the rest of the challenge participants:
Ema Kilroy (bowed out)
Evie and Beth McCord
Kay Thomerson (bowed out)
Kristina Johansson -- you are here!
Lynn White (bowed out)
Malin de Koning
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman (bowed out)
Michelle Heim (bowed out)
Molly Schaller (bowed out)
Sharon Palac (bowed out)
Tracy Stillman (bowed out)
PS! If the links don't work, you will find a list (with direct links to the reveal posts as Erin visits each blog) at Erin's blog post.