Keychain

A Keychain
You can download a PDF of the guitar tab, cello score, and flute score.

If you like, you can swap out the flute for an alto flute.

You can hear an mp3 of the song with simple synthesis here. It also sounds nice with Steampunk Overture as an intro.

Background

Keychain came together fairly quickly, and takes its name from using five keys in the course of three minutes. Initially, it was comprised of three eight-measure musical fragments I had been toying with. Although they were not in the same key, I found that they flowed nicely when placed in the right sequence.
"You May Find" (eight measures in "G")
The first passage was one I briefly thought was going to be a song about someone going into rehab. It's a light airy thing, and the lyrics I had were something like "You may find/peace of mind/waiting in the wings/when you leave the buzz behind in search of finer things"...
"Rachmaninoff's Ringtone" (eight measures in "D")
This one sounds more chamber-like than the first passage, and starts to introduce some dissonance.
"Ode to Ode to Spring" (four measures in "F", then four in "A")
This one changes key midway through and leaps into the air. How to "stick the landing" became my next problem. I wanted to have it simply go back to "You May Find" and repeat the three parts in sequence, but the key is now "A", and were I stuck having to play it solo on the guitar, there is no elegant way to work it.

Tinkering with the three "movements"

I like to make short songs, but if these three parts are played consecutively, it is about one minute of music. The elevator ride might be longer than that! So, I considered just repeating them and throwing in some elaboration to spice it up. However, there seemed no good way to get back to "You May Find" from the end of "Ode to Ode to Spring". I mucked about and came up with a bridge that could... bridge the gap. Again, this proved somehow simple; I wish I knew how to repeat such work.
"Bridge" (ten measures in "B" flat, then two in "D")
Adding a final key to the piece, the bridge features my favorite part of the whole: five dissonany notes on the guitar at 1:17 (in the MP3 link at the top of the page) that were the result of an editing error in GarageBand. I dragged notes around and did not notice that they had fallen in the wrong place. I hit "play" and was blown away by the effect of the mistake. With the bridge in place, a simple finishing sequence that alluded to "You May Find", and some variation of the repeated portions gave me a song I could be proud of.

Performance and Finishing

The piece has only seen one live performance with guitar, flute and cello. It took place at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge on 6 October, 2014. Luckily, I have video of it. I wish the mix were better, and that my playing did not sound so nervous.