How I wrote 100 tunes in a month and why you should too

It was 96 because 100 isn't divisible by 12 and I don't know whether you actually should or not but I do have things to say about what was good about it for me.

I was inspired to do this after reading about John Zorn doing the same thing for his Masada project. Here's the latest incarnation of that, featuring the wonderful Julian Lage on guitar:

In a similar vein, I was interested in little snippets of melody that could be combined or elaborated into vehicles for improvisation; I didn't write 100 songs or (even more absurd) compositions in a month but two-to-four-bar phrases that I'm inclined to call "tunes" -- the kind of thing you could whistle. I've got a full time job at the moment and other moderately complicated life stuff going on so I'm not exactly spending hours a day playing; I'd write a handful of these whenever I got an hour to practice.

The main reason I wanted to do this was to have some material to develop when improvising, and perhaps to draw on in some mythical future when I get some people together to play music again.

Another was that I'd been studying a mode of Suvarnangi (1 b2 b3 4 b5 bb6 bb7) that I'll write more about in another post and wanted to get deeper into it; all 96 tunes are written in this scale, across 3 different keys so I didn't go completely insane. This exercise really got that scale into my ears and under my fingers. [EDIT: Here's that post]

Aside from that, it's given an interesting pace to my unstructured practice time. I found I was always looking for a distinctive melodic idea to play, rejecting aimless playing that boils down to combining what you already know in different ways; that's fun but it tends to reinforce where you're at rather than moving you towards something new. Whenever this happened, I would stop because I wanted something that jumped out of the noodle soup and caught my ear, and that felt like a good discipline.

I wrote all of them on the guitar, which means my keyboard playing has got a bit rusty. I might do another exercise like this in future on piano, which I think would yield very different results. It could be interesting to write tunes on piano and play them on guitar, or vice versa. But for now I think I'll take a week off and then maybe pick another constraint and do this whole exercise again.