For my final project in Pandemic as a Social Mirror, I wanted to create three musical compositions to sonically illustrate the feelings and moods of the past couple months as I have felt them. When Covid 19 became a serious issue earlier this year and the entire world was forced to shut down, I recall having feelings of dread, anxiety and despair. In early June, after the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, I felt angry and confused. And as the summer has gone on I have begun to feel hopeful and optimistic for the future. I believe you will find each of the songs I have created show and express these feelings appropriately.
Track 1: “ALONE”
For the first beat I made, I really wanted to capture the feelings of despair and uncertainty. With that being said, it only made sense to make the music in a minor scale. I chose to make the main melody with an organ sound that I use often for other beats. I feel as though it works well for creating sad and ominous tones because of the low and dreary sonics it offers. I first created a chord progression that I felt was appropriate for the intended mood, and then I harmonized it with top notes in higher octaves to add interest. For a secondary melody, I chose to use a human vocal sound, one that could almost stand in the place of actual lyrics. I really like what it did for the song because it sounds like a woman crooning in sadness. The secondary vocal melody is also really good in my opinion because it does not conflict with the main organ sound. Instead, the two melodies combine and work off of one another to really create the sad, and dreary mood I intended.
Track 2: “CHARGED UP“
For the second beat I made, I knew it was very important for me to illustrate the pain and anger I felt, and so many other people throughout the world felt over the senseless killing of George Floyd. I decided to go with a piano for the main melody. I feel as though the melody is appropriate for the mood I was going for. On the surface and during the first listen, someone might feel that the melody is angry and aggressive, and while it definitely is, there are also tones of concealed sadness and hurt. I am a firm believer that anger is sadness and confusion in disguise, so it was important for me to try to capture that musically as best as I could. For the drum section of the beat, I wanted to create an almost war like march vibe. I chose to use a devastating and hard hitting 808 bass and quick, fluttering high hats accompanied by a very tight snare drum. For the chorus of the song, I chose to have a completely different 808 and snare pattern than the verse. This, I believe, creates controlled chaos and constant change in the song which captures the mood of the riots that happened after George Floyd’s death. If I had to choose one word to describe this song with it would be “tragic”. I believe that listeners will agree that this song effectively captures the devastation that was felt by the world.
Track 3: “Courage”
While I really enjoyed making the first two beats for this project, “Courage” was by far the most fun to make. I felt that after making two beats with such intense feelings of despair, anger, dread, and sadness, that it was important for me to create something that would lift listeners back up. I began the beat by making a light and hopeful sounding progression using a guitar sound. I wanted the guitar to have slight tones of melancholy to acknowledge the hard times the world has been going through, while also keeping the overall mood hopeful and happy. After making the main guitar melody, I felt that it was strong enough to stand alone throughout the whole song but I also knew that there was room for one more instrument. I decided to add a secondary melody using a brass instrument in order to capture a triumphant mood during the chorus and to give the song more energy. I also decided to go with an up-tempo bpm (145 beats per minute) and to craft the drum section accordingly. I believe that this beat is actually one of my best I have ever made, and the reason behind that is that I put so much emotion and passion into it. I felt emotional and joyful as I made this song, and when it was completed I truly felt reassured that there is hope in the future not only for our nation, but for all nations.
In life, I have come to realize that it is always darkest before the light. As I crafted these three beats, I held that belief very close and as a result, I feel that I have created an accurate sonic journey for what the world has been facing over the past months. Usually when I make beats, the most important aspect of each one is the drums, at least for hip hop music. For these three beats, I knew that I had to make the drums hit hard but even more importantly, the music had to illustrate what I have been feeling. I love music, it is my passion, my way of making sense of things that happen in my life and the world. It is also my escape. Melody is everything to me. It allows me to communicate feelings without speaking and be communicated to. For this project, melody and rhythm is how I translate to listeners the current social climate and what our planet is facing. I hope you enjoy.