odd inspiration.

The other day I had a conversation with composers Al Theisen and Marc Ballard about inspiration. We began talking about weird noises or happenings that have inspired us.

My story of odd inspiration:

I was shopping with my wife when I heard a cell phone ringing on the next aisle. I know I must have incorrectly heard the ring tones but it sounded like a very odd Ligeti-esque ringtone. It also reminded me of the French composer Christian Lauba who writes a lot of music for the saxophone using vast amounts of extended techniques.

The owner of the cell phone answered it quite promptly, so I did not hear it ring a second time. For the rest of the day I kept thinking that the ringtone could not have possibly sounded the way I heard it. I thought it sounded really cool, but hearing only part of the ringtone from a distance must have distorted it (at least in my ear’s opinion).

The snippet kept playing in my head, stuck on repeat. A few days later, I began working on a solo alto saxophone piece entitled, Figment. The ringtone became the inspiration for the fast very active last part of Figment. The section uses a few different multiphonics and overall it sounds similar to what I heard that day in the department store.

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