I wrote What Is Small and Round in five minutes. It’s the only composition of mine that has come out so quickly. Interestingly, it was actually the result of a sort of ‘challenge’. I was in a chord-less group during college, and we were very much enjoying playing with each other. Feeling very inspired, we challenged each other to each write a composition by the next day.
The tacit requisite was simplicity: we had been working with basic seeds and turning them into much more, and without a chordal instrument in the group there really was no reason to get too specific about whatever we wrote. This really helped me, and as soon as I sat down at my midi keyboard (this is also the only song i’ve written solely on a midi keyboard) I had a bass line. I laid the bass line down, and then the melody flowed immediately out as an improvisation. I might have changed 2 notes from what immediately came out.
It’s very simple, but I’m very happy with it. The melody begs to be repeated, and based on this characteristic I thought it would make sense to just repeat the melody as much as possible. When the group performed it, the melody gave way to a lot of interesting interaction and improvisation, but always remained in the foreground. It was with this approach in mind that I recorded it 6 years later.
**DISCLAIMER** YES I know the chart is written in a very poor, sloppy and overall incorrect fashion. But that was how I jotted it down as it came out and I thought I’d keep it that way.