China Street

What it is about

A juxtaposition of the exotic and the mundane.

Well ... um ... actually ... it is just the name of a street in Lancaster.

How it was written

It started with a chord progression that was offered to a group of web-based songwriters to see if anyone was interested in a collaboration. Sadly, there were no takers. One member commented that it sounded discordant because of the use of minor seconds.

A minor second is an interval of two notes a semitone apart, such as D# and E. It is viewed as dissonant in a lot of Western music, yet regularly appears in Chinese and Japanese music, and sounds pretty good.

That provided the incentive for development: to create a piece with an Eastern flavour that uses dissonance.

Accord and discord

China Street harmony (0:13)
China Street harmony
China Street harmony

The initial idea is a I-V-bVII-IV progression in B using modified chords.

A koto thing

China Street melody (0:13)
China Street melody
China Street melody

The melody followed pretty quickly. Since the theme was oriental, it seemed a good idea to use a koto to play it.

Sounded pretty harmonious so far, so decided to go completely Japanese and add taiko drums, chinese cymbals, synth pads, bells and whistles, you name it, and the piece was off and running.

End zen

China Street ending (0:14)
China Street peace
China Street ending
China Street ending

All this commotion and dissonance clearly pointed to the need for a peaceful zen ending. The sound of one hand clapping seemed a bit extreme, so compromised by adding two beats of silence at the end of the last bar.

Tech spec

Title: China Street

Key: B

Tempo: 144bpm

Length: 3' 04

Track 1: koto melody

Track 2: koto harmony

Track 3: synth brass

Track 4: sweep pad

Track 5: halo pad

Track 6: muted guitar

Track 7: fingered bass

Track 8: taiko drum

Track 9: drumset

Genre: Pop, Rock