Air Sketches - or how to write your first piece of music!

Air Sketches – or how to write your first piece of music!


The good old days. When you start to play your instrument and are pretty sure that there's a good amount of time ahead – a good amount of time where you really won't do much with your playing, be it performance-wise or recording-wise. And then along comes a teacher, and along comes the chance to be part of a Compilation Record. If you have your track recorded of course - and off we go.


Now at that time, my main idea about making music were Rockguitarists from the 70s (and onward) and the music they and their bands made. Me, playing guitar for about 2 years maximum at that point, now had the problem that I wasn't anywhere near a point where I could pull off writing something like Brian May or maybe Hendrix. Since I also lacked the competence to rip them off on any interesting level, I had to come up with some unique variety, that would represent me well – main requirement being that I would be able to pull it off. Thus started my quest for references – because why let a little musical underdevelopment get in the way of a good recording?

But where to start? British Rock from the 70s was out of reach – but since I am from Austria and have played the violin for many years, classical music not so much. Thus I came up with a vaguely 'classical sounding' chord progression, and voila, we have a starting point. Now let it be played by overdubbed guitars, and we sort of have a little Brian May thing going on! Or so I'd like to think. Next up, let's add a nice melody over those chords – some arpeggios and a few long held notes with some vibrato for expression (because why not let in-reach-stuff help you get your recording together?), and – voila – a vaguely classical, yet distinctly guitaristically sounding theme is here! Now add a little bridge with other chords and melody, repeat theme, play a little solo (because, you know, GUITAAARRRR), repeat theme, and born is my first track – 'Air Sketches'.


Why 'Air Sketches'? It reminded me of Air, also I was vaguely aware of some classical track called 'Air', which it sort of reminded me of*. The 'sketches' part I added, since I 'only' considered it the starting point of my compositional career, therefore this piece being 'only' a sketch of the things to come. Sometimes, you just gotta come up with your own variety of grandeur – and I certainly enjoyed mine (and still do). And while I certainly had my own feelings of inadequacy to deal with at the time, in retrospect the track features a lot of musical aspects that were important to me at the time, as well as aspects that were dominant in my life (wether wanted or not) – there's the arrangement thingy referencing Brian May, my classical background + 'classical surroundings' showed up, and me as a big fan of melody at the time got to write a big fat melody over some nice chords. Mission accomplished.


In the end, the Compilation Project got finished, and my first track 'Air Sketches' is available on 'Shrouded in Sound'. Professional starts sometimes can happen faster than one might suppose I guess. And practical considerations when writing can be huge enablers. And if you want to take something more away from this article – check out 'Shrouded in Sound' here (or contact me directly for a copy), check out my other articles here, and of course feel free to take inspiration from whatever I'm doing.


Find more interesting stuff on David's Music Guild, where I put up videos about everything you (n)ever wanted to know about music!