Photo by Giles Smith
‘Lilt’ is one of those songs that when you’re sitting there working away on it, you can’t help but agonise over it and ask yourself “should this be more complicated”. Over recent years, I’ve deliberately tried to force myself to break ideas down to their simplest form, and think beyond simply playing lots of notes for no reason. Can I achieve more through doing less?
This song is a good example of how a simple, repetitive melody can be tweaked and twisted, using other musical elements to create a developmental, gradually changing piece of music. This happens through subtle developments in rhythmical accompaniment; dynamic peaks and troughs; a shifting and imprecise tempo; a gradual extension of the range of notes and register used on the piano; and slight changes in the harmony at the build and height of the song. Utilising all of these different aspects of musical composition is something that I tried hard to achieve in this song, all the while keeping a repetitive, tolling bell-like melody that gives the framework for everything else to develop around.
It is in this song in particular, that the tone and timbre of the piano and the recording technique comes to the fore, in the warm tone that playing my piano in certain keys (in this case, Eb major) creates. The percussive nature of the sound is enhanced with the introduction of the rhythmical accompaniment, as is the string sound effect that was was achieved by placing the mics so close to the exposed piano harp below the keys.
The song is a further encouragement (to myself as much as anyone else) to slow down, and sense a peacefulness and calmness that can only be achieved by stopping, listening and feeling.
Text by Simeon Walker
Simeon Walker is a Leeds-based composer and pianists, who released in November 2017 his first piano solo album "Mono". You find more information about him and his music on his website.