Music is more than an art. It’s also about telling a story.
Music major Julia DeMello took music to tell a story at the 2022 Piedmont Symposium.
Doing, “a musical collage to tell the story of a storm,” DeMello focused her research on the Romantic Era, the music of today and her own compositions.
“I used the music software Audacity to bring all the snippets of music together so they can better flow,” she said as she briefly explained her process.
Audacity is a free program that records live audio and allows the user to edit audio. DeMello’s presentation investigated the different themes within each song and how each was a steppingstone through the story of the storm. Each song from the different eras was ordered by theme show the process of the story.
“We are going to go on a musical journey together,” DeMello said as she started her presentation wanting the audience to imagine a storm. “Whether it is a literal storm we’ve seen or it’s a storm inside your head, there is some kind of conflict that is created.”
DeMello cited her themes: isolation, contemplation, hope, fear, frustration and resolutions. As her soundscape played the audience could hear the flow of the music as it changes between the different sections, and could tell the change of mood as the storm started and then ended. These themes are the emotions one feels when going through a conflict and the process of the conflict being resolved. The presentation was intended to enlighten in a way for the ears to be appealed as the music played for the audience to relate to DeMello’s presentation.
“There was an incredible level of detail provided via visual, verbal, and musical sources,” said her faculty mentor, music Professor Annand Sukumaran, “The integration and balance between each aspect attests to her craftsmanship and diligence. Julia’s recording of her own piano playing of quartal sequences and live suspended cymbal use added a compelling layer of seasoning. Especially wonderful to see was the connection she found between the musical history of her hometown and the subject matter of our music history class.”
Sukumaran said he was proud to see DeMello presenting her presentation during the symposium.
This presentation was for her class in Music History III, and Sukumaran motivated her to present it for symposium. “I encouraged students who submitted especially high-quality work to consider presenting at our symposium and am glad to see Julia pursue this opportunity.”
DeMello said her project impacted her relationship with music. “It definitely made me think about music in a different way,” she said, adding that being able to sit and really dive into the music, and listening to the small sections, can really be impactful.