One of the wonders of being an artist is sharing my music with a supportive and enthusiastic audience. Completing a project and releasing it into the world always resonates excitement yet the anticipation assumes a certain risk-reward because you never know if a tune will soar across the stratosphere or sink into oblivion.
So, imagine my surprise and joy when I opened this email the other day:
Dear Mr Mahn,
I heard ‘Time Standing Still’ on Spa. It is brilliant piece of guitar music. Can you tell me if the print music is available? If not, can you tell me the chord progression? I would love to learn to play this piece. I bought your CD and I enjoy it very much. Thanks
As you might guess…this made my week! I have experienced the good fortune of being honored by critics applause and I have savored an array of compliments from fans, friends and colleagues, but this is the first time anyone has expressed interest in learning to perform one of my tunes!
‘Time Standing Still’ appears on my debut album, Sanctuary, and it happens to be one of my favorites for guitar. I gladly replied with details about the recording, noting that I performed the piece on a Cordoba flamenco guitar, similar to the model used by the Gypsy Kings, and jazz musician extraordinaire John Adams used a fretless bass to articulate the “chimes” and glissandi.
Since the sheet music is not published I provided a copy of the chord chart that we used in the studio. I took the idea in a new direction on the title track of the next album, A Passing Moment, in which case I used a Taylor 612ceab and orchestrated it with a different palette.
Anyway, I enjoyed trading emails with Bill who, it turns out, picked up the instrument later in life. Looking back I can name several songs or albums which inspired me to play and I would be thrilled to chat with those artists.
(Brings to mind the time I approached maestro Al Di Meola after a concert about how he records acoustic guitars. I tried his advice in the studio and it sounded great!)
The world has certainly transformed in ways we never imagined before social media entered our lives. Serious music discovery for me started as a teenager listening to terrestrial radio and swapping vinyl records and tapes with friends. Now fantastic digital options like Spa are available everywhere and on demand.
Even so, in a certain sense the process still seems similar as we debate the latest release except these days I get to experience it in several dimensions. In fact, when I think about the relationship between artist, work and audience I consider the encounter as more than simply engaging the public.
As I suggested in my last post, An Artist’s Purpose, art exists for the benefit of all involved. We share something special through the exchange and, notwithstanding the quality of the work itself, the art form is the means of communication.
Connecting with people has always been most important and I am simply grateful for the honor. After all, that’s what art is all about, right?
Thanks again, Bill, and enjoy your new guitar!