Twitter is a fabulous communication tool with over 150 million users in the entire world. It imposes, nevertheless, with a harsh limitation for its users: they cannot surpass 140 characters in the messages that they send online. This imposition marks the real philosophy of Twitter, which obligates its users to an exceptional concentration in the rhetoric of those ideas that they transmit. In 140 characters there are no spaces for digression, decoration, or deviation from each central idea (or tweet, in the slang of Twitter). Moreover, the central idea is usually the only thing that fits into the short space of a tweet. Twitter is a space for sending out ideas to the world, ideas that cannot be developed due to the limitation of space, so they have to be redacted in the most brilliant and brief form possible, it’s as if they have to seduce those who read them. But also these are temporary ideas, because the life of a tweet does not last for more than a few hours, forgotten between all the new ideas that are being posted constantly.
I started to use Twitter last summer, since then several times I have ran into the situation that it was impossible for me to say what I wanted to say in 140 characters. Occasionaly a tweet, that you read in 2 or 3 seconds, needed two or three minutes of editing until I found the most concise form possible to communicate my idea without losing its content and value. It’s a constant fight with language, moreover; and you have to unscrupulously respect it, because in Twitter it’s not well seen contractions and omissions of signs so general in the redaction of text messages.
During one of these struggles with a tweet, it occurred to me that it would be a great handicap to apply a similar task in the music scene. I mean, to create a piece with a maximum of 140 notes. That would be crazy! They would be minuscule works, between 10 and 40 seconds, practically an exhibition of motives (ideas) without development. Keeping in mind that the motivic development, the repetition and the variation are the basis of almost all occidental music, it seemed to me a challenge, but on the other hand very interesting to limit myself to 140 available notes to make a piece of music with a complete and closed sense.
The project “365 musical tweets” is a musical action. It consists in publishing, via my twitter accounts (@MikelChamizo and @365MusicTweets), a daily musical tweet from the 1st of January to the 31 of December 2011. Each tweet has a maximum extension of 140 notes or chords and it responds, like it occurs with text tweets, to and idea, occurrence, reflection, experience, motivation or news that has caught my attention that day. It’s a diary, in essence. Each musical tweet is born in my Twitter accounts, with a text tweet that contains the title of the piece and a link that gives access to this website, where you can listen to the music of each day, read additional comments about each tweet and navigate through the list of already published tweets.
Motivation for a musical tweet can be, for example, a stormy day, an unexpected meeting, a Sunday without leaving the house, a trip, a wildly absurd idea, or my depressed feelings on my birthday. Also they can be abstract tweets or games in turn to one of the technical concepts of Twitter (retweeting, hastags, trending topics…). I could also include the own feedback of the people that follow the action. The truth is I don’t know yet, because there doesn´t exist a predefined idea of how each daily tweet is going to be before the day it´s created. Those will breeze strictly to what that day has occurred to me or what I may want to say. There is neither any linguistic imposition to the musical tweets: they can be tonal, modal, atonal, a date of a popular song, a homage to Anton Webern or purely noise. Every resource is good if it helps me to transmit the idea to those who listen to it. The only common element is the instrument, the piano, or, for those days that I will not be at home, a small midi keyboard that I will take with me.
What am I looking for in this project? The action, moreover the intrinsic interest that it has for me as a creator –it’s a way to activate and obligate myself to compose daily, without the need to face rather big structures- may be looking also to investigate in turn some of the great unknown questions of contemporary music. I’m referring to the accessibility, diffusion and perdurability. A live concert is a wonderful experience, but is also an outdated ritual. Nowadays we´re in the era of the social networks and world interconnection and it results anachronistic for us to go to a concert, in a particular city, country, day, hour, when it’s cold or rainy, to discover new music. Nevertheless, the world of contemporary music is still holding on the format of the concert as it’s main way to present new music. My interest to the format of a concert is limited. Via Twitter, any person interested in following the action can do it from their own home, when they want, easily by connecting to one of my accounts or this webpage. You will be able to retweet a piece that you have especially liked and share it with people that matter to you. You can leave the action if you end up getting bored, or ignore any tweet that you don’t want to listen to, or visit any tweet from past days. The users will be able to follow this project at their own rhythm, without having temporal or spatial impositions of any type.
“365 musical tweets” is an experiment, but one that investigates society more rather than music. The compositions will not be masterworks, because there is not time for that: I’ll spend 2 hours maximum to think, compose, record, load onto the internet and publish each tweet. I’m searching for the immediacy and communication, not the perfect music. Also, if you remember that a tweet is something with a really short life, why should I bleed over it? Better yet, we make it fun! This doesn´t mean that I will neglect the musical aspect of the tweets but, in this case, the music is a tool without an end in itself. What really interests me about this project is to know what will occur if I send ideas to the world, in the form of music that many people will consider strange or incomprehensible, but in a new format and using a media of diffusion never used before in music. And I will see how the world reacts to it: if it appreciates it, ignores it or destroys it.