Tag Archives: The Idiot

As some of you may know, I do the RPM Challenge every February.  If you have never heard me talk about this before, I encourage you to check out some of my older posts.

“Myshkin” is a tune I put on my RPM Challenge cd this year.  It was inspired by Dostoevsky’s character by that name in his book “The Idiot”.  It took me just about two years to finish that book!  It certainly is not an easy book to read.  I would read a few chapters and then put it down for a while.  As difficult as it was for me to read it, I enjoyed it tremendously.  There is so much going on in that story, but the important part was Myshkin’s feelings for both Nastasya Fillipovna and Aglaya Epanchin.  He loved both women for different reasons and it was my impression, though he didn’t really show it, that his heart was torn between the two.  As I was coming to the end of this book- the last 60 pages or so- I could not put it down! So much happened and I didn’t see any of it coming.  That was in January of this year, it still is in my head and I still think about it all the time.  Whenever I talk to someone who has read it, I get all nutty and want to talk about it with them and it could be for hours.  “The Idiot” will always be one of my all time favorites.  In my tune “Myshkin”, I tried to portray the anguish of loving two people simultaneously.  During the middle part, I had P.R. Portales (my sound engineer) use an octaver.   It represents the two women.  I think the rest of the tune and the Haiku, will be evident to the listener.  To hear “Myshkin” please click on the link below and tell me what you think!  While you are there, feel free to download it for free!  Thank you🙂

When February 1st finally arrived, I was ready to get started on my new Challenge cd.  I went right to work, looking up scales and progressions that are used in Russian music.  The first Haiku I wrote was in reference to Dostoevsky’s, “The Idiot” —

Myshkin, the Poor Knight,  Heart torn between to women,  Tragically, lost both

I wanted to use scales that Russians use.  I was even able to find pentatonic scales so it would fit in with the confines of Haiku Jazz.  I got started right away on chord progressions, using Georgian triads that I also found.  Since I have not written progressions in a few years, and haven’t really had to think of transposing, I did all the progressions in my key. I transposed them and a few days later, realized I did it backwards.  Are you kidding me?  So, I did it all again, in a simpler form.  I still feel I will improv my part over the progression.  In my mind, it seems like a good idea, I guess we’ll see.

On the 4th, I came down with a nasty cold.  I didn’t understand that, as I had just gotten over strep from a week before.  I hadn’t been sick in three years then I get a one two punch.  And that isn’t the worst part, I also got food poisoning!  So, from the 4th to the 8th I was pretty much laid up. I lost some valuable time there, but I am not daunted.  On the 9th I got right back to work, with a progression for a Haiku I wrote in reference to “Les Miserables”–

24601,  All he did was steal some bread, He is- Jean Valjean

I wanted to start with these two first, I think they are the more difficult ones, due to the research I did on them.  Now I am able to get to work some of the other Haiku.  I gues being laid up wasn’t a total loss, it did give me time to create another one–

Cafe Barista, A cappuccino in hand, frothy heart on top

I have a couple more I had before I got sick, but I will talk about those as I do them.  I still have 5 more Haiku to write, find a couple of musicians to play with me and space to record this in. It could be I do them solo, then go back with other musicians and layer over my part.  We’ll see what happens.  For now, it is off to my work station to get busy!🙂

Thank you for following along!


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