Ground Swell was written in response to Disquiet Junto Project 0356: Ground Swell.
Step 1: The goal is to create a piece of music that uses layers to create a sense of unease, eeriness, or disquiet.
Step 2: Think of a place that summons up the sensations described in Step 1.
Step 3: Derive sounds from the place that came to mind in Step 2. If you have access to the place, consider strategies to accomplish this (from field recordings, graphic notations, etc.). If you do not have access to the place, use your memories and impressions as a resource.
The greatest disquiet in my life was the three years spent in junior high school – hands down. We had moved from New Jersey to West Virginia that past summer, and to say that the culture was different and something I did not understand would be more than an understatement.
Not only was the culture unknown, but my homeroom teacher was a sadist (in the correct use of the term) and the principal was unstable (it was his last year there).
Each grade was divided into four sections, the 1s, the 2s, the 3s and the 4s. The 1s were those who were in band (I played clarinet), the 2s were the “normal” kids, the 3s were the smart kids, and the 4s were the stupid kids. Hard to believe, but it was true. Corporal punishment was a regular thing, again, something that is hard to believe to this day.
Let’s just say that it was three years that I would be fine with removing from my memory.
I do not have access to the place, nor would I wish to if I did, but I used layers in this piece in an attempt to describe what it meant to me and how I felt during those years.
Ground Swell was written for Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello, and String Bass.