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Josh Fredman

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Feature! Josh's Old Music [Feb. 11th, 2017|03:28 am]
Josh Fredman
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As I mentioned in this week’s Curious Tale Saturdays article, on Thursday I powered up my old Seagate external hard drive, the one I had used to make a backup of my old computer, the one that carried me through from 2000 through 2009. This drive lived in storage for six-and-a-half years, and sat unused in my apartment for two years before that, and many of the files themselves were a number of years older still. In short, we’re talking vintage stuff. A time capsule, if you will. I greatly looked forward to getting back to it during my years away in Texas.

Included in the old files are every one of my musical compositions that I’d ever transcribed up to early 2008 (including my childhood compositions from the 1990s). I greatly enjoyed revisiting my old work after so long, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you. They’re more interesting, I think, as an insight into my development as a composer. Their musical ideas are quite promising; I certainly don’t lack for inspiration; but ultimately they are not particularly good.

The classification codes are a hodgepodge. “ATH” is self-explanatory. “M” means I composed it on Michael’s donated laptop, Archimedes. “O” is a retroactive code indicating my “oldest” adult-era work.

Archimedes failed in 2010 and I haven’t had the resources to troubleshoot it yet. Some of the most interesting music I’ve ever written remains trapped there, and it’s likely that some of the pieces featured here were updated further in 2009 or 2010, after the hard drive backup was created.

“Josh – ATH 01 – The Guard of Galavar Mvt. 1”
Last Edited: July 2009
This short fanfare articulates a theme that I created as a kid, before the Guard of Galavar even existed. I privately associated it with the Guard back in the RPG era. It’s a theme with a lot of dramatic versatility, lending itself to sorrowfulness, introspection, epic adventure, fatalism, and more.

“Josh – M11 – Jaunty Theme”
Last Edited: February 2009
This was one of my most important pieces from that era. It takes the simple premise of a “jaunty” theme and builds a number of variations around it. Here you can hear me experimenting with variations, inversions, key shifts, time signature shifts, melodies, and, more fundamentally, experimenting with how music works. I remember that, when the left-hand line opens up for the main melody, I truly felt at the time like I was making music. Of the five pieces featured today, I suppose this one sounds the closest to being “complete,” in terms of the sound and the premise that you could put it on an album and people would accept it as a legitimate track.

“Josh – M28 – Menu Music A”
Last Edited: July 2009
In the spirit of The Secret of Mana’s wonderful menu music, I conceived of this music to go with the menu screen of my own RPG (an RPG video game being one of my many on-hiatus major projects). This piece is important because it sounds like I wanted it to sound—not something I frequently achieved in that era, and which I still struggle with. Notice also the back-and-forth key shift that is closely associated with Silence’s tree of musical themes. I have loved that rolling, Celtic-sounding key progression since I was a kid and use it repeatedly in my music. (It appears in the “Jaunty Theme” above, for instance.

“Josh O12 – Merry Go Round”
Last Edited: December 2004
This piece is intended for a scene in my RPG set on a merry-go-round. If you’ve ever ridden one, you’ll know that I succeeded. At the time, it was the most impressive piece of music I had ever written. This piece is five years older than the other ones I’m featuring. I originally wanted to do a more diverse cross-section of music, but it turned out that nearly all of the most important pieces fell in 2008 and 2009. A lot of the stuff prior to that just isn’t interesting—and that’s compared to the pieces where, and it’s already a stretch to say that they’re interesting.

“Josh – M27 – Violent”
Last Edited: July 2009
Probably the best piece of music being featured here today, this piece is important because of its musical ambition and relatively successful implementation—you can tell what the piece is trying to do—as well as its colorful usage of strings in the middle portion, which marks a level of accomplishment that I didn’t typically reach at the time.