In the summer of 2015, I did something nice for myself – on the way home from a teaching engagement in Tunisia, I booked myself an Airbnb with a piano in Paris for 5 nights. It was my own “Artist Residency”! In the morning, I’d zigzag through the boulevards of the 19th arrondissement, sit in the Luxembourg Gardens, or go to the Louvre; then I’d come home and write music in the afternoon; then meet up with friends, go to jazz clubs, or read Baudelaire by night. In short, it didn’t suck.
I wrote this as a piano piece during one of those long afternoons in Paris. What I was aiming for was a piano “etude” (for non-musicians/French-speakers, an “etude” is a piece that teaches a musical lesson). In this case, the lesson was keeping 16th notes going between my hands without stopping. You can think of it as like juggling – you’ve got to always be on, not missing a beat…but without such a consistent pattern.
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