Music by Jack Walker
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While talking to my friend and supporter, Bruce Gossard, I was taken with his account of his insomnia. He said he had gone online to find “Sleep Music” to see if it would help him sleep. He even offered to pay for me to write some music in this fashion.
I already had what I considered a meditative piece built on an ostinato or a repeated musical phrase so I decided to give it a try. I made that short work into a 10 minute piece, which he said was the norm, recorded it and played it for him. He was excited and said if I put some wind in it, he could picture himself on Mars looking out on a sweeping plain sort of like a “Marscape” and thus the title was born. He said he often lets whatever he’s listening to at bedtime paint a picture for him that he gets lost in.
While sitting in the church I serve in Santa Monica before service the following Sunday, I began to picture what would make me sleep. I came up with the idea of a spiraling melody that took me in like the visuals portrayed in the movies when a person is being hypnotized, like in one of my favorite movies, “Spellbound”. I played the opening motif and I was off and running on “Spellbound”.
“Another Place” soon followed. I’ve always loved the progression of minor thirds. If you transpose a piece a minor third, on the 4th transposition you wind up back where you started. I wrote one piece and transposed it 9 times winding up back where I started. Now that should put you to sleep.
For the 4th piece I decided to use the Rondo form. It’s usually described as A, B, A, C, A. In other words a melody, then another melody, back to your first melody a completely different melody and back to the first one again. I thought the idea of returning home after each new melody was reassuring and would set up the redundancy I think these pieces need to have. The fact is I wrote 7 new melodies to go with the primary theme and then reversed them. I decided to call the work “Deep Reflection”, reflection referring to the mirror image. After all this mental work, the piece still had to be good music and work. I’ll let you be the judge, but please don’t play these “Sleep Music” themes while driving or using heavy machinery. It just might work too well.