posted in: Blog 2

Welcome to my first “Meditation” – which includes a free music download and link. Feel free to share.

Here, I will take you “behind the curtain” – to my process and inspiration. Let’s begin.


Title/Theme: “Habits”

Structure: This piece is purely improvised – over 10 minutes of it. To really take you behind the curtain – I’m starting at the beginning. Some people call it ‘pureflow’, ‘improvisation’, ‘meditation’. Whatever. The point is the music in this download is completely exploratory and improvised. This is the process I use when writing music. It’s the first step. I have an idea/theme. I think about it. I research/read about it. I meditate on it. And then I improvise to see what materializes. So, the piece you’re hearing is the “first draft” of this composition ‘in process’. The initial sketch. There are no edits. Recorded in one take. If you have sharp ears, you may hear an extra thumb here or there – and that’s how you know it’s me. A real human. No machines. As I revisit in the coming weeks and months, this improv will become more structured. A more concrete melody or idea will emerge.

Inspiration/Idea: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about “habits”. There’s a great book by Charles Duhigg (Power of Habit: https://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/) which explores this topic, so I won’t go into it here. I realize how habits affect the music I write. For this Improv, I deliberately played around with different chord structures and non-traditional harmonic development which weren’t comfortable at first. I explore three un-related minor chords (f minor, db minor and ab minor) – while attempting to keep the piece solidly in f minor. As the piece progresses, I allow myself to insert the main melodic theme I’m hearing in my head (starting about 3:30). If you listen closely, this theme re-appears at several points. This ‘theme’ will likely become the main melody/hook.

Equipment/Setup: I’m playing on my Steinway Model B, using two Earthworks QTC40 stereo matched omnidirectional microphones. I’m using an Apogee Duet interface over to my MacBook Pro. Music is being recorded into Logic Pro X. I added a touch of ambient reverb.

Download:  GG Piano Meditations: Habits (Improv)

Simply unzip the folder, then drag and drop the files into iTunes or any other appropriate folder.



If you are accessing via a mobile device just use the download app of your choice to save the track to your phone or tablet.

Or if you prefer, you can stream the track here.

Stream Link:  Gary_Girouard_Habits_Improv


Enjoy! And feel free to share…


Note: To honor my craft and spend more time/energy creating music, I rarely check social media or email – the blog is the best place to communicate with me. Please share your comments and feedback below the post – I really enjoy hearing from you!


2 Responses

  1. Lorie Pavao
    | Reply


    What a timely blog, at least in my little world! First, the improv is beautiful. Truly beautiful. So much color juxtaposed with unusual chord mixes. It’s a beautiful, beautiful palette! You may not have time to answer, and that’s ok, but I’m curious what made you decide to add those particular minor chords to your f minor? I don’t ask as a challenge or anything, I’m just learning. As a learner, I’m super glad for any/all practical tips/input as to your favorite mics and equipment. (I bookmarked the things you listed.) Lastly, you had me at the word “habits” – I was just watching the Hans Zimmer master class series where he emphasizes the habit of just playing/composing a little every day. Just do it. We are away on spring break this week and part of my regrouping is a mental gearing up to “just do it.” And figuring out what that looks like. You gave a great picture of just picking a thought (a key, some chords to explore with) and just go. Getting started always seems to be the most difficult. At least for me. I am definitely looking forward to future posts, watching your improv develop into a finished song you love! Thanks so much, Gary, for inviting us along on this journey.

    • pianoxcape
      | Reply

      Thanks Lorie – I have to admit to being “scared” to release this first draft – it makes me feel vulnerable. It’s not a finished or polished composition at this point – just some raw ideas. I’m so glad you could connect the idea of “habits” – or, breaking ‘bad’ habits and forming ‘good’ ones. I think that’s what I’m really working on. For your question about the chords – I decided on those chords simply because they each had one “common tone” – that is, one of the notes in the minor triad was shared by the other chord. So F minor and Db minor share the Ab. And F minor and Ab minor share Ab. And Ab and Db minor share.. you guessed it – Ab. I had never explored these harmonies together before, so it opens up some interesting melodic ideas. Anyway – wishing you safe travels and return! best,

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