I’m presenting a song of summer desire today even as that season ebbs away, but first a little catching-up on the status of this Project for those who follow it regularly.
I planned to produce fewer Parlando Project pieces this summer for a number of reasons. It’s become harder to find composing and recording time, or to focus when it can be found. Audiences drop off markedly every summer anyway, and I had some long-put-off tasks that I thought needed to be attended to. Those tasks? Not even half complete, but a couple of things got done.
I felt I needed to replace the nine-year-old computer I use to write what you read here as well as the final audio mixing and polish for things recorded in my studio space.* I wanted to keep to a reasonable cost for this replacement, but I also wanted to spec it so that it could last in the roles I use it for, for the rest of whatever this Project’s lifespan will turn out to be. To accomplish this I stayed with my usual tactic over the past 30 years in selecting parts and assembling the replacement computer myself. I did a Ship of Theseus build using some old parts I had, which reduced the cost.** This new machine is now in service once I installed, configured and re-registered a whole bunch of software that this computer needs to run.
Another task? For more than a year I’ve wanted to deal with nearly 3000 song sheets that had accumulated in my studio space where I record with others as well as my own acoustic instrument recording. Poet, keyboard player, and alternate voice of this Project Dave Moore has been amazingly creative this century, and when I record with him I most often get sheets of lyrics with some hand-written chord symbols. You’ve heard a smattering of his original compositions here, but over the past two decades we’ve attempted hundreds of pieces of his. I’ve nearly matched Dave, as the more than 600 completed pieces I’ve released here show. With orchestral instrument scores I don’t notate by hand, working instead on the computer — but my guitar-based pieces tend to be not-unlike Dave’s, except that my paper sheets usually have neater printed chord symbols. Still, there’s my marginalia of chord voicings and capo positions etc. Thus, the thousands of sheets of paper. Late this summer I sorted through the whole bunch, determining the half or so that would be good to convert to computer storable files, and then scanning them.
Today’s piece is a result of that second large task, as I was often running into pieces on the paper sheets that I hadn’t thought of in years — and even a few that I don’t recall even attempting to perform. “Summer She Has No Lover” was a sonnet that was written in 2010. I’d written it as a literary page poem but seeing it in the studio space pile of papers made me think that I must have once considered creating music for it — and so that’s what I proceeded to do. The recording was quickly done (studio space time is still limited), but I think the results convey something of the flavor of the piece as our summer ends.
Sonnet means “little song” and so why not sing it? “Bechirp” is my own word.
You can hear my song performance of “Summer She Has No Lover” with the graphic player gadget below, and if you can’t see that, with this backup highlighted link. I can’t say what level of productivity I will be able to wring out of this autumn for the Parlando Project, but my present intent is to increase the number of pieces and posts from what I was able to do this summer, so look for new pieces soon. Another question remains to be answered: will I have time to do more complex compositions? We’ll just have to see.
*The old one was still working fairly well, but some components on computer motherboards can start to fail after a decade or so of service. I’d intended to accomplish its replacement early in the summer, but to show that expected service life is worth considering ahead of failure, I had to replace an aging water heater and washing machine that both stopped working in June and July.
**Given that this Project is assuming a Venn diagram audience that has interests in poetry and often non-commercial musical genres, it’s probably pushing it to think that anyone reading this is interested in computer parts too, and choices here are just as controversial as music and poetry can be among the cognoscenti. I decided it would reduce costs and still be safe for future roles by using an 11th generation Intel I7, and an ASUS Z590-Plus motherboard which uses the inexpensive/widely available DDR-4 memory and PCIe 4 solid-state-storage drives, and for video I bought a Nvidia Quadro card which is not worthwhile for gaming that I don’t do, but which can drive up to 3 QHD screens if I ever upgrade to those in the future. I went for 32 gigs of RAM and a 1 TB PCIe 4 SSD. The one truly “lux” component I bought was a Seasonic power supply, based on good experiences with them over the years. Total: $785.95. I was able to use an existing Antec Silencer case that weighs as much as an e-bike, an existing CD-DVD drive, and a year-old mechanical hard drive used for audio and video project storage which I simply moved over from the incumbent computer. My keyboard, mouse, and screen remain unchanged.