The first session producing music for Psalm 110

Matthew Jacoby

It’s hard to describe how a composition comes together and impossible to teach. The simplest way is to start with a musical motif (that we might stumble upon as we noodle around) and then add lyrics and develop it from there in a fairly intuitive way. In our case this process is complicated by the fact that we are working with a set text, so it takes a lot more to match a musical motif to the text. But this does work sometimes. In the case of my adaptation of Psalm 110 I worked more purely with my imagination. I didn’t start with any motif. I simply tried to ‘feel’ what I thought this should sound like. I wanted to create distinct steps or sections that follow the movement of the psalm rather than a verse-chorus construction. I have been trying to work with more interesting rhythmic ideas and it is the rhythmic changes that punctuate the different sections of this psalm. After coming up with the ideas for the sections, I then brought it to Spike. This is really the transition from composition to production, but Spike inevitably also helps to finish off the composition part as well. A lot of songs have changed at this point. It’s hard to know what will work until you begin to produce it with all the other factors involved. Spike is a master of this process and I love working on my compositions with him. 

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