The Music In “The Grand Balloon”
A few weeks ago, I finished composing a song that had been floating in my head since March. Like this little guy.
When the first measures came to be, I knew that should there be a visual element, there had to be a balloon. Because the song is about happiness on the grandest scale. Like felicity. You know, that word that Jane Austen scatters throughout Pride & Prejudice and you skip it the first few appearances because ain’t nobody got time to look up words with Mrs. Bennett and her poor nerves, but then there it is again, oh and there too, so you finally Google it to see what all the fuss is about, and you find that felicity means happiness. To the max. Like the whimsical days of a child at the park with his balloon. Like the smile that peeks at the corners of your mouth and never leaves because, well, why should it? Like happily ever after at Pemberley.
But the song is also about trouble, confusion, loss, death. It has to be. Because how much greater then is our joy when juxtaposed with our experience of darkness? That is how felicity can exist. Happiness is not the absence of darkness, it is in spite of it.
I hope you are able to hear that throughout the piece:
The grandness of C major (0:02) -> the swells of joy (0:09) -> how despair comes almost imperceptibly, then overwhelms (0:49) -> silence (1:27) -> a struggle in the mire (1:37) -> an ascension from the minor (2:02) -> and, finally, the resolution of return to C major but with a heightened perspective. (2:27)
I’ve done nothing particularly new here. We’ve all heard these themes before. In fact, even the musical structure is based off of the common sonata-allegro form. But that’s the great thing about life. We must express these truths universally acknowledged in a spectrum of ways. Some call it art. Some communication. I call it living.
I hope you enjoy it. :-)