Process notes for my latest videopoem, This is just to say by William Carlos Williams:
The reading had been up at Pizzicati of Hosanna for a while and is only 20 seconds long, so I knew I was looking for something very short in terms of video. There are still some wonderful Equiloud clips I haven’t used yet and it took me just a second of flipping through those to know that his gorgeous 28-second door-opening loop was exactly the kind of image/metaphor I was looking for, once I slowed the clip speed down by about half.
The music was the hardest part. I thought of the melody, Au clair de la lune, almost immediately. I knew I was looking for something that, while appearing simple and obviously straightforward, has nonetheless stood the tests of time and endless repetition and retains its charm even when presented inexpertly. So, Au clair de la lune, played simply by a beginner on a recorder or tin whistle or guitar, perhaps, or with just one hand on the piano.
I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it online as a solo instrumental. Everything I found had either vocals or lots of instrumentation and complicating harmonies, and was too fast and/or too ‘expert’ to serve. I kept wishing I had a recorder or piano or electronic keyboard in the house so I could do it myself. After an extended period of frustration, I was ready to give up on the videopoem altogether, when I thought: Hey, there’s an app for everything – isn’t there an app for this?
So I went to look and sure enough, there are a bunch of apps out there for this! I downloaded the free ‘Piano DX’ iPad app and tried that. It was perfect for my needs. It will pretty much only let you play one-handed (watch someone use it on You Tube), but that fit right in with what I wanted, while decades of not practicing the piano at all gave me just the kind of inexpert touch I was looking for. The rest is history.
By the way, Williams’ Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is also up at Pizzicati of Hosanna with a videopoem.