Double Bass Solo – Insentience

November 5th, 2011

When working with very low sounds, I enjoy keeping the same amount of tension in the texture that I’m accustomed to using by implementing dissonant intervals that are more widely spaced. Insentience is a difficult double bass solo for this reason; keeping the various intervals in tune while using the entire range of the bass is its primary challenge. Once learned, however, the various sounds can be executed without much physical difficulty so that the performer can focus on musical interpretation. In addition to this rewarding feature, there is also a variety of extended techniques including multiple idiomatic double stops, slow portamenti, left and right hand pizzicati, ricochet, natural harmonics, and lush combinations of all these techniques simultaneously. Advanced student performers interested in coming outside the box will be intrigued with the pleasing yet atypical sounds that come out of their bass.

Download score (PDF) ($5.99)
 Foreign Currency? Click Here.

Sample Score

Additional information

Duration 5:00

Suffering is the indirect result of desire. We want something, we don’t get it, and then we’re unhappy. When a person has reasonable desires that aren’t being fulfilled, they are dissatisfied with life and have a difficult time being content. In order to become happy a person must either take steps to satisfy their desires, or stop desiring. There are times when a person has a lot of bad luck and cannot fulfill even their basic human needs despite how hard they’ve tried. Since they cannot fulfill their desire, one might think that the answer to all of their problems is to stop desiring.

The problem with this is that when one stops desiring, they die. Their heart is still beating, but it gives no life to their spirit. Hunger is good because it drives the worker forward. If he stops wanting food, his role as a human being is nullified because his hunger causes him to do things that are natural to human beings. An even better example is love. When I met Liz (my wife) and got to know her for a while, I developed a desire to start a romantic relationship with her. I’d never been the type of guy that enjoyed asking a girl to go on a date, but my desire for her overcame my fear of failure. Had I decided that it was too hard to win her and killed the desire instead of pursuing it, the life-giving and healthy relationship that has come out of those early efforts would never have come about. Killing desire instead of taking persistent steps to fulfill it is not the behavior of a healthy human being and a human being’s spirit will eventually die along with desire. Desire makes us alive.

Not all desires can coexist. Again, the heart cannot cease its longing, or it will die. Therefore, desire must be channeled into something or someone that can conquer our heart and leave nothing behind. Liz can’t do this for me. Money can’t do it. Fame can’t do it. The only thing in the universe that can is Christ. Therefore, we must set our desire solely on Him if we want to truly be happy. Then we will be filled.


Soprano Saxophone and Piano Duet – Hide and Seek

September 6th, 2010

I had a very difficult time finishing soprano saxophone and piano duet. It began as a simple exercise in exploring orchestrational possibilities in jazz chords while applying percussion techniques on the keyboard. Adding a line for the saxophone simply seemed like the thing to do at the time, and it made it possible for me to have a live instrument for the presentation of my final project in the class I wrote it for. So I wrote the first two minutes of this piece with no intent outside of making pretty sounds. But I liked the sounds so much that I felt the need to turn them into a coherent musical exposition. After being stuck on the piece for about six months, I finally decided that the only way I was going to finish it was to make up an ending that worked and polish it until it was good.

This sample is taken from my album, Purpose. Click here for more information.

Download score and parts (pdf) – 7.99
 Foreign Currency? Click Here.

Sample Score

I don’t have a sense of closure when a piece doesn’t seem to have any meaning outside of itself. So even when I had all but finished the piece I still couldn’t leave it alone because I didn’t understand what it meant. And yet I had already named the piece “Hide and Seek” simply because of the way it sounded. It seemed to be trying to go somewhere profound, but became sad when it couldn’t get there. Then it returned to searching for that profound place, this time without being concerned about the result.

The sound reminded me of my childhood games of hide and seek when I would be entertained by looking for my friends that had hidden from me. It was enjoyable not because I found them, but because I found them through a process of searching for them. But sometimes they would hide so well that I would grow weary of looking for them. But it would then be all the more exciting when I found them. But the purpose of the game wasn’t to find but to seek. So becoming irritated because I couldn’t find my friend was silly since all that should have resulted was enjoying the game longer.

While applying this concept to life itself, and thinking about the music in the context of the Purpose project, I finally realized that this piece is about searching for the purpose of life. Many people (myself included) become frustrated when attempting to work out the reason God put them on the earth. While there is the obvious Sunday school answer of “serving, worshipping, knowing, and glorifying God”, very few people are satisfied with that answer and justifiably so. Knowing and glorifying God is an infinitely broad description of our purpose since God is an infinite being. Saying that really means to do what we were doing all along but for a different reason and maybe throwing in a few religious practices to remind you of that reason. But as dissatisfying as the answer may be, it’s still the correct one. However, I’ve taken it a step further with this piece.

The beauty coupled with tension throughout the first fast section recounts the beauty of life in the midst of seeking the reason for our existence and being disillusioned by the answer we find. This results in a discontentment because without knowing the details of why we were put on this earth we have no idea of what to expect from life. So as we move into the slow section we wonder in vain why we exist and therefore what we should be doing with our lives. But in the midst of this anxiety, we find that beauty remains inherent all around us, even throughout our pain. This brings us to the second fast section in which the sounds that were harsh in the beginning have been reinterpreted and are beautiful. Nothing has changed but our reason for perceiving. We’ve realized that we exist for the sake of seeking the answer to the question of our existence. God put us here to ask questions and seek answers. Since God is throughout all aspects of creation, this ends up meaning that God put us here in order to seek Him. We still haven’t moved beyond the broad Sunday school answer, but this realization has satisfied me and justified my life and work.

Purpose hides and so we seek it. But along the way we find beauty and realize that the purpose of life is the process of searching for it.

Send Caleb a message!

Blog Subscription