I started writing music when I was a young child, after my grandmother started me on piano lessons (which, ultimately, I was not diligent with. Sorry, Grandma). However, I started learning violin at age 12, and with this new creative outlet, the logical application to me was writing my own music. In 2019, after much time away from composing, I decided to dedicate more of my creative time to it. Here are a collection of my own original compositions that I have recorded thus far. Follow my YouTube channel, Kelly Bohling, to keep up to date on new releases!
I started writing this in summer 2019. I had a few minutes between violin students, and was warming up as I looked out the window and saw a butterfly come through my front garden. I wrote the constantly moving line in this piece that afternoon, and later added harmonies and countermelodies. The title takes on meaningful symbolism to me in light of everything that is changing and morphing in our world and in our lives. I hope for myself that I can emerge from the pandemic era with a respect for how, much like the butterfly I saw that afternoon, life is delicate and beautiful.
Things That Could Have Been
This melody found me on a Thursday night in March 2020 when I was feeling particularly distressed about the news:
I’ve been thinking a lot, as I’m sure you have, about our current global and national situation. I recognize that my gut reaction to so much of the news is anger, but these last few weeks have made me realize that I can’t sit with my anger for long before it makes me come apart at the seams. Anger sits like a rock in my stomach and demands my energy, but doesn’t provide a way forward to address the issues at hand. Thinking on this, I peeled back the anger to see what was lying beneath, and it was deep, devastating disappointment. Disappointment at the greed, corruption, and delusion in our leadership. Disappointment that the people in this world, who already work themselves to exhaustion at low-paying, thankless jobs, are yet again the ones shouldering the burden and suffering. And disappointment in humankind, that we have failed to take care of our planet and care for the animals, the forests, the oceans, and even each other. But disappointment, for me, is different than anger. Disappointment implies that I had expectations, expectations of things that could have been. I’m sure all of us had expectations of a better status quo than this. Perhaps, with diligence, accountability, and love, these expectations may someday be met. If we can all emerge from this traumatic experience with a greater understanding of others’ suffering, needs, and how that translates to our responsibilities (voting, petitioning, boycotting certain business practices, thinking of the community instead of ourselves), then we would surely be closer.
As I have lived with this melody for the past three days, the words that keep echoing in my mind are “the things that could have been.” And as you listen to the last phrase, maybe you, too, can think of the things that could have been.
Underwood Road brings back sunny memories of my early teenage years, when my brother and I would take the old farm car down the gravel road that ran past our place. Windows down, the wind whipped my hair across my face. The warmth of the sun made the field grass smell sweet, and the birds and grasshoppers were our driving music. The horizon of swaying prairie and centenarian trees was limitless, and our next adventure was wherever we chose. On those afternoons, we didn’t have a care in the world, and felt truly free.
This is one of the first pieces I wrote at the beginning of January 2020, when I set out to compose more regularly in the new year. This piece, unlike the other compositions I’ve shared, is for solo violin. It shifts through various meters while repeating the same little motive. In my mind, it evokes a scene of a busy city, people bustling, grids of cars zooming by, everyone hastily going about their business. When I titled it, I didn’t think anything of it—that was the pace of life. Now, with current circumstances, it makes me contemplate what I would like to bring back into my “daily grind” on the other side of all of this.
Valse in B Minor
The melody of Valse in B Minor is one that has been with me for a few years. I had recorded it before, but I wanted to rework a few of the harmonies and accompaniments this time around. It aims to capture the enigmatic melancholy of springtime, when we perceive the dizzying array of blooms, perfumed flowers, birds and butterflies, rainstorms and sunshine, all the while knowing that we are experiencing a bliss that is temporal by nature.
This piece embodies the ruminating patterns of the mind when so much in the world seems to be broken, but it yearns for something better.
I spent many blissful summer hours of my childhood in creeks and ponds, catching frogs and chasing butterflies. In this piece, I hope you can hear the dragonflies skimming the surface of the water, creating endless concentric ripples, while the bullfrogs lazily drone and fish jump for flies and land with a *plop*.
As I wrote this piece, I had in my mind's eye a very idyllic scene of an English countryside. A pastoral, serene end to a day in times long past.