Music and Storytelling – The Nguyen Composes

While listening to this short piece, picture a scene. Describe what’s happening in that scene using a sentence or two, then condense that into some emotions. Essentially looking inward to see how the music makes you feel.

I will elaborate below what was going through my head when I write this. But I don’t want to accidentally force my interpretation on you.

For me, this is the emotions of a mother. Her son had marched to the front line of a warfare for their country some springs ago. The war is now finally ending with their country securing triumphant victory. Her son, however, never comes back. How should the mother feel? Pride? Grief? Resentment? So what that her country has won a war? What shall become of her?

Of course, there can be many interpretations. When I show this piece to my friend, he says it would be perfect for the end of Infinity War, when Thanos has just snapped his finger and half the Avengers disappear. Hmm, I can see that. What was your interpretation?

In this particular piece, you may notice some changes in rhythm. But in contrary to just seeing what I can do this rhythm change experiment, I changed the rhythm here so it would sound exactly how I want it. Due to the strong emotion aspect integrated of it, it requires a lot of dramatic pauses, which is hard to notate on a evenly spacing rhythm system. Much of the emotion is conveyed through the pauses in between the notes. I would write it down on the sheet music then play it back, but something would sound off. I would shorten the duration of the note here, adding a silent there.

With that in mind, the sheet music and the “original” audio of this piece should be taken with a grain of salt. The performance should varies as the performer see fit to best express the emotion in communication.

Music is such a powerful tool in the communication toolkit. It conveys, it incites rich emotions that can only be described by paragraphs of words at times. The question is, how can we make the best use of this tool?

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