Thoughts on the 2022 music projects[source]
<title>Thoughts on the 2022 music projects</title>
A summary and some thoughts on my 2022 music project thing
<series order="52">2022 music project</series>
<h3>Background and history</h3>
After <glacius:link page="about/glacius">converting
my website to a wiki</glacius:link> in December 2021, I realized that the vast
majority of the content was
<glacius:link category="Legacy blog posts">poorly written blog posts</glacius:link>
from 10 years ago. I decided I wanted my online persona to consist of something
besides a 25-year-old software engineer with too much time on his hands
pontificating about computer science topics with misplaced confidence.
At the same time, I had to decided to record myself playing music more
frequently<glacius:cite>This goal manifested in things like
</glacius:cite>. Mostly because I had reached that critical age that's
approximately in the middle of your life where you realize you're probably
only going to get worse at things. Especially the <em>physical</em> things.
For example, I started running a lot more frequently during this time and on
a whim I decided to see how fast I could run a mile, something I had not
done since P.E. in high school. As I stood wheezing and wondering if I would
survive the (what I thought was) impressive 7:15 mile run, it dawned on me
that given how unenjoyable this activity was, I would probably never again
in my entire life run a mile faster than I just had. It was very… I don't
know… existential or something. Suddenly I became more aware of my
mortality. Or maybe that was just the fact that I was coughing
and my heart rate was still elevated despite having finished my run 15 minutes ago.
Something had to be done!
<h3>A man with a plan</h3>
So I had two pieces of potential improvement: 1) my website had no interesting
content; and 2) I was starting to suck at stuff and my life was in decline (or
something to that effect, perhaps with less melodramaticism). So I decided,
what with it being the new year and all, to make myself do something every week,
which I could post about on my website. If I kept at it, I would have 50ish
new pages of stuff on my website that wouldn't be obsolete blog posts full of
Another facet of my life is that I play both piano and guitar, and I'm decently
proficient at both. However, I don't really play both at the same time. I generally
play the piano for a month or two, maybe practice something, learn something new,
get my fingers back into shape, etc. All the while I completely and totally
neglect my guitar, and pretty much don't touch it whatsoever while I'm in
"piano mode". And then every few months I'll switch and play the guitar
and completely ignore the piano. It was all one or the other.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing I guess, but the point is that since I go
from sucking at something I used to be good at to eventually getting good at it
again every few months, it would be neat if I could chronicle something of
this skill when I'm at its respective peak, skillwise (local maxima, obviously).
So the original goal was to just do a thing every week, related to music, with
the eventual goal being that I would be recording myself playing something,
and then I would have a couple dozen examples of how I used to be good at stuff
that I could point to when I'm older and less able. Basically a pre-emptive
defense for the rhetorical question "So have you <em>always</em> sucked
at everything?" and I could be like, "No, checkout tmont.com for proof!".
It was absolutely foolproof.
<h3>I did it</h3>
Somehow I beat the odds and my own track record and completed it. I actually
started a week late so I only did 51 weeks' worth before the year ended, but
since I'm writing this tantalizing summary that gives me an even 52 for the year.
Overall, it was not particularly enjoyable. It was infinitely <em>satisfying</em>,
but mostly it was like I had some homework due every week. The original
idea was that I would spend 3-5 hours per week on each little project (i.e. an hour
a night M-F), but depending on what I decided to do that particular week it would
sometimes take more like 4-6, and occasionally 8-10 (particularly for some of
the <glacius:link category="Music recording">recording sessions</glacius:link>).
I don't regret it at all, but I am very glad the year is over and I can focus
on other things.
<h3>Things worth looking at</h3>
Not everything I did was super interesting. For example, I spent 9 weeks
<glacius:link series="Reviewing Chopin's mazurkas">Chopin's mazurkas</glacius:link>,
which basically devolved into me experimenting with
<a href="https://lilypond.org/">Lilypond</a> while trying to think of new ways
to write "it was too long and kinda repetitive".
However I think some of things I accomplished were pretty neat. Here are some
of my personal favorites:
Transcription of <em>Call Your Girlfriend</em> by Robyn
— this was the first week and it really set the tone
Transcription of <em>The Moon</em> from <em>DuckTales</em> for the NES
</glacius:link> — some of the greatest video game music of all time
Guitar cover of the solo from <em>Stairway to Heaven</em> by Led Zeppelin
— I didn't do a particularly great job on this cover, but this was the
first week that I decided to do a guitar recording using Ardour and it was
a lot of fun; these covers ended up being mostly what I did during this project
Guitar cover of the solo from <em>Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart</em> by
Stone Temple Pilots
— I just thought this was a really good cover
Transcription of some of the music from the game <em>Shogun Showdown</em>
— I really liked this game and thought the music was great
Performance of Chopin's Étude Op. 10, No. 12 "Revolutionary"
— this was the piece I had in mind when I was thinking about my
(eventually) declining skills; I know someday I won't be able to play this
but now I have proof that I once could
Performance of my original piano piece <em>Phlegethon</em>
— I randomly wrote this about a year before I recorded it
and I just think it sounds cool, although it's kinda difficult
Guitar cover of the outro/solo from <em>Innocence Faded</em> by Dream Theater
</glacius:link> — probably my favorite solo of all time and frankly, I did
a pretty good job on this.
In terms of categories, there were:
8 <glacius:link category="Music transcription">transcriptions</glacius:link>
8 <glacius:link category="Piano">piano</glacius:link>
<glacius:link category="Music recording">recordings</glacius:link>
25 <glacius:link category="Guitar">guitar</glacius:link>
<glacius:link category="Music recording">recordings</glacius:link>
10 "reviews" of classical music (9 of which were the
<glacius:link series="Reviewing Chopin's mazurkas">mazurkas</glacius:link>)
<p style="margin-top: 4rem">
I did it all for the content.