Stuck Song Syndrome (2022)

Program note:

 

     “Stuck Home Syndrome” was written for the bassist Andres Vela with the generous aid of the Presser Award. Stuck song syndrome, also known as earworm, is a common phenomenon in which a catchy musical idea refuses to leave one’s mind. I have been dealing with a rather severe case of this phenomenon ever since 2019 when I made a simple, silly melody on my toy xylophone. I had been saving it for the perfect moment, and that moment came when Andres approached me for a new piece for violin, bass, and piano.

     To recreate what had been reverberating inside my head for the last couple of years, I decided to compose a work where the melody continuously reoccurs through a landscape of musical episodes. The original form of the simple melody is introduced by the bass in the first four measures, and continues to transform further, expanding, shortening, made bare, and embellished.

     Often we try to get away from things that stay with us for great lengths of time. Sometimes, running away from these things can make you even more tangled up. With this piece, I faced it head on and finally gave this earworm the spotlight it had begged for. Mostly, though, I was hoping it would be contagious.