The song with no middle (or, some pieces are just like that)

Some number of eons ago, my friend Phyllis (who was a wonderful songwriter back when she was writing songs) wrote a wonderful song (see? I told you so) the chorus of which I was totally, and I do mean totally, in love with.

I do not remember the song’s title or even any of the words, but there was something about the moon in there, so I always called it the moon song.

I was so in love with the moon song that I borrowed — oh, okay: stole — the chord changes from her chorus and started making up my own piano piece from them. And what a cool cool piano piece it was.


The music sort of got stuck, and then it sort of went crazy. Or maybe it was me that got stuck and then went crazy. Phyllis’s beautiful chords morphed into this interesting new section that repeated several times while adding complexity & richness (oh, and difficulty; can’t forget how it became more & more difficult to play). And then it all blew up, into one of my favorite sections of music that I have ever created and that is darn close to impossible to play on the piano. Really, it’s a fiddle part. And then that subsided into a very pianistic but still close to insane section with the right & left hands battling each other for who is in front. And then I just made all the insanity stop by playing Phyllis’s chords again, and that was the end of the piece.

Summing up:

  • moon song section
  • crescendo-ing difficulty section
  • fiddle section
  • insanity section
  • imposition of moon song to end the insanity section
  • the end

No one — except Phyllis and my husband — has ever heard me play this, and no one ever will. (And my husband has only heard it because 3 or 4 times a year I pull it out to try to figure out where it all went so so wrong.) For one thing, the insanity section sounds too much like some of the music from the film The Piano; so although I made this up before I saw that film (told you it was eons ago), I’ve never felt I could believably claim that my music was first, as no one had ever heard it from me. (And no one ever will.)

This piece I have been talking about, by the way, is not the song with no middle. If anything, this is the piece with too many middles, none of which reference or echo each other in any way at all. 

We’ll be getting to the song with no middle very soon now.

So. I had this mess of a piece, and every now & then I played it, just for myself, in a bemused & wistful & under-practiced fashion. And it remained a mess.

(It even had a title, and even knowing the title couldn’t help me fix it. The only time I have ever known a title and not known the music.)

Then one summer I had an idea that all would be well if only there were yet another new section at the beginning, and I created a very cool 32 measures of music to be the first section, before all the others, of the so-crazy & far-too-sectional piece that I already could not play.

I have no idea where these ideas come from, you know. So many of them work so well; and then there are the others.

If you have read this far, you can probably guess that my cool new 32 measures did nothing whatsoever to clean up the mess that followed the cool new 32 measures of music.

But the cool new 32 measures is too cool to ignore, so occasionally I would play it on its own. But it’s only 32 measures, and, more importantly, it sounds like an opening of a piece, not a piece. So now I have an orphaned 32 measures of very cool music.

(And of course I still have the insanity mess that I made of Phyllis’s beautiful song, which I am completely ignoring for the rest of this post.)

You may remember Through the Gossamer Doorway, which was featured here as a rough cut a few months ago. Well, to me it has always sounded like an ending, as if I began at the end (which in a way I did, since we’re going through that doorway).

A few weeks ago I had the idea to take the cool orphaned 32 beginning-measures and play them in front of Through the Gossamer Doorway.

It sounds so excellent!!!! The new Through the Gossamer Doorway is wonderful!

Only: there’s really no middle. There’s the beautiful powerful and cool opening; followed by the haunting and powerful closing. It’s a song with no middle.

And I think it’s going to have to stay that way!

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