syndrome (2017)


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About the piece

I started writing this piece during summer 2017, which was a time when I was playing full- time in a funk/rock band - going on tour, writing pop songs, and recording an album. I had a substantial amount of material before starting my first semester at the New England Conservatory, a time of rigorous course work, learning about new music, going to concerts, and listening to my peers. I almost wanted to ditch the material I wrote during the summer - it's not good enough, I told myself. My best friend at MIT introduced me to the term imposter syndrome, which is apparently a common feeling at MIT, a feeling based on self-doubt where you feel like you achieved things through luck or deceiving others. I couldn't help but think about that term too while at NEC. Instead of ditching the material, I decided to build a snapshot of this time period, representing a clashing of worlds and ideas and of my own self-doubt and anxieties. It has been a cathartic process. 

I was inspired by musician Cory Henry who wrote a short catchy melody he calls "NaaNaaNaa" that he would sing to himself whenever he felt stressed or anxious. I wrote myself a short 4-measure melody for the same purpose. I use this short melody in this piece, but is constantly warping in tonal language or rhythm, until it presents itself in its most recognizable form in the middle of the piece and at the very end.