My new piece, Doom, Gloom, and Zoom
January of 2021, Barbara Day Turner, asked me and other composers to write about our experiences during the lockdown and pandemic. I was in such despair and agony over missing music, family, and friends. I cried. This music was difficult to write emotionally. I was supposed to be finished by April, but I finished in October. At last, we can hear it live. I am so grateful.
Here are a few notes about the new piece.
Doom: Fear and Chaos
My husband and I went to Trader Joe’s the night before the lockdown. The store was packed. Everyone looked scared and confused. The store usually plays happy and peppy music, but not that night. I heard “What do you think we should do?” over and over. My husband reported “Mona! There isn’t any bread!”. Fear and Chaos were with us.
I used aleatory in the music to express these emotions. A quiet and low buzzing increases in speed and pitch then disintegrates into sliding pitches and an aggressive, percussive chop sound.
Gloom: Despair and Sorrow
My granddaughter was born on February 26, 2020. I didn’t meet her for a year and a half. A friend watched her son get married on Zoom. My husband’s friend died of cancer, there was no funeral. Everyone has stories like this. Everyone.
I based the sorrowful melody on the Indian mode Bhairavi.
Zoom: The Pandemic Breakdown
I started teaching my great-niece bluegrass mandolin in April 2020. She lives in Illinois; Zoom. My tabla class moved from fun in-person classes; Zoom. My husband got a new job; Zoom. I hate and love Zoom. The Pandemic Breakdown is a bluegrass fiddle tune. Here are the lyrics:
We’re two little girls from New York City, one of us is tall and the other itty bitty.
We play in the park till a quarter to noon, eat our lunch, and call Grandma on Zoom!
Doom and Gloom, Doom and Gloom I’m livin’ my life on Zoom.
Doom and Gloom, Doom and Gloom I’ll see you soon, here on Zoom.