POEMS

FOR SOLO PIANO

Sheet || Beautiful Thoughts || Why Storms|| milk & honey

THE POEMS

BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS

She was beautiful, for the way she thought. 
She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes 
when she talked about something she loved. 
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE

Do not fall in love with people like me. 
I will take you to museums, parks 
and monuments; 
And kiss you in every beautiful place, 
So that you never go back to them, 
without tasting me 
like blood in your mouth. 
I will destroy you 
in the most beautiful way possible. 
And when I leave 
you will finally understand 
Why storms are named after people 
— Caitlyn Siehl

milk & honey

how is it so easy for you 
to be kind to people
he asked

milk and honey dripped 
from my lips as i answered

because people have not 
been kind to me

 — rupi kaur

ANALYSIS

BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS

Dedicated to and in collaboration with Linnea Lagerstrom. The piece is constructed through a serialization of data collect from the linguistic software Praat. We processed and analyzed Linnea’s voice as she read the text quoted above by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Regrettably, I do not remember a good amount of the processes and the notes have been lost and or accidentally burned in a spontaneous beach bonfire note burning event. Beautiful Thoughts is a dedication to one of the most important people in my life and a personal expression of the admiration, love, and friendship.

WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE

This piece has the simplest basis and system of serialization. My hope for this piece was give myself the simplest canvas for which to “read” the text through composition, by relying solely on rhythm, dynamic, and phrasing via rests and space. The only constraint came from mapping out the white keys of the piano to the alphabet and following the serialized order of pitches. To supply a diagram or further analysis would be masturbatory and unnecessary. On a personal level, this piece was written as a reflection on the emotional baggage and waste I create for others, and was provoked by my realization that people are not only the greatest source of comfort for one another, but also the greatest source of pain (melodramatic, I know).

milk & honey

Similar to Why Storms, the piece is simply a reading an mapping out of pitches to the alphabet. However, the process was slightly more involved and optimized this time, and there was also a rhythmic serialization and constraint (which is once again and just as regrettably lost and or burned). Each stanza had its own Pitch Class Set, instead of the C Major/white key scale from the previous piece. Furthermore, only the relevant letters were serialized as opposed to the entire alphabet. This poem has always spoken volumes to me, as a feminist whose social circles deeply respected the writer. I was raised by the strong women of my family and community and attribute much of my favorite attributes and character traits to that aspect of my upbringing.

MORE ABOUT

Was a multi year mini project that explored serialist-inspired techniques applied to texts. The project came together in tiny pieces and bouts of inspiration. I wanted to free myself from the sometimes cheesy expectations of traditional western harmony without jumping into the perceivably harsh sonic palette of 12-tone serialism. I found an ironic solace in the coldness of serialism which gave me a comfortable environment for which to feel the warmth of the text and allow my writing to breathe the words through a musical expression.

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