Friday, April 1, 2011

Modulation (Key Change)

Well. I spilled wine on my laptop last week. Yes. I was not being mindful. Yes, I was stressed out. It was bound to happen. So tonight I am finally back in the blogosphere with my new Mac Book Pro. Oh man, watch out world. Do not be upset if I get too excited and begin posting dozens of how-to videos on YouTube. Steve Jobs just makes it so darn easy!!

So anyway, things in my world of transition are beginning to seem just fine. I'm in a state of Modulation. In music, the term "Modulation" means to change keys in the middle of the song. What is a key? Well.... let's look at the word itself. When you think back to school, the teacher always had that much coveted answer key in the back of her special text-book. The place where all of the answers were. In music, if you know what key you are in, you know that there is a series of 8 notes that are guaranteed to sound good together. This is also called a "scale." So on the piano, if you take all of the white keys starting on Middle C and you play all the way to the next highest C, you have just played the "Key of C Major."

Sometimes, songwriters (especially pop artists), will change keys in the middle of the song. This is called "Modulation." Modulation usually changes the whole feel of the song. It is also a clever way to repeat that chorus just one more freakin' time without making the audience go "Again? Really?"

If you want a better understanding of what Modulation is, check out the sweet key change around 3:21 on Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" :

I am modulating from one key to another in my own little way. I'm moving out of my 3 bedroom house into a tiny 300 square feet pool house in my singer-songwriter friend's backyard. While my darling husband and I figure out how to peacefully part ways, I am staying in another friend's tiny guest house. Before you wonder if you should feel sorry about this dramatic change in my life, let me tell you why you should not. 

Have you ever read anything by SARK? She is this adorable artist/writer based in San Francisco. 
She wrote this awesome book called "Succulent Wild Woman" and I read it when I was just out of high school. She often talks about the time she found her "Magic Cottage" in San Francisco. It was a tiny little shed in someone's overgrown garden, and she was a broke artist who needed a home. She convinced this little old lady to let her move in, and that is where she made her masterpiece poster "How to be an Artist." That poster sent her on her way to fame. From there she became a best selling author and all around do-gooder and inspirational lady. I always thought, what a romantic story. So to me, my own modulation is flowing just as easily as a key change of G Major to D Major.  

My new place has just enough room for my piano and my bed. The guitars will go on the wall, as well as my hundreds of books (which I will not give up.) It is about the size of a dorm room, which is kinda how I see it. I am committed to spending my life studying music and peace and figuring out what the heck is going on in this world and how I can be of some kind of help. To me, life should be simple. A musician's life (or any artist really) is not about having massive amounts of space to set up furniture. It is about having enough space to create and think and learn. I am very much looking forward to modulating into the simple life.


  1. I read this and I say: you are awesome!
    Did you read about this 90 square-foot apartment in NYC?

  2. Thank you, Rebecca! That apartment is crazy!! Thanks for the link of inspiration :)