Independent Reading Josh Berg

Josh Berg

I think that it is difficult to incorporate all of the different themes of the book into music. Only someone who is a true master at such things could ever have an ability like that. I am no master so the purpose of this piece is to talk about the many themes and emotions that I didn’t really touch on. When I was making the music, I had to work with some new tools so I stuck to other things that I was more comfortable with. This unfortunately can be a bit limiting, however I conveyed as best as I could what I wanted to convey. I recorded some things I ended up not using, even whole entire songs that I didn’t actually choose to use because I eventually failed to see the connections to the book. It would have been possible to connect however I don’t want to make any stretches in terms of connections to themes in the book. I didn’t want to stretch because that defeats the point of analyzing if you are looking back. This is one instance where doing the steps in reverse doesn’t really work. Another issue that I encountered was that of not having enough music in order to convey all of the themes and emotions.

I wanted to have a song for the Vanger family. An easy way to convey how proper they are, as this is a big part of their family, they are very rich, is through something like classical. The issue is then became that I don’t really do classical so well. After a few attempts, I wasn’t satisfied with the sounds although the piece sounded OK, I am not Wendy Carlos so this proved a bit difficult with the options for sounds that I had. I don’t play any instruments that are used in classical a lot. I decided that the next best thing to do would be to do Jazz. I am still not sure that this was a good choice, as Jazz has a bit of a reputation for being seedy. However, in todays day and age, people perceive Jazz to be a classy genre of music, (how wrong they are). With that said, it seemed to be an OK choice to make and certainly one that I am comfortable emulating musically. 

The other song that I wanted to do was primarily electronic. I wanted to make an ambient song like one you might actually find in a soundtrack to a movie. It is ambient and repetitive at times but in my opinion conveys the mysterious feeling of the island and just the general idea of mystery. It strikes me as very important to have a song that can convey the scene. I was very lucky in that the setting that the book takes place in strikes me as very mysterious, and the feeling of mystery is easy to convey in pretty much any art form. I find it actually quite ironic that something in essence, is the idea of not knowing something, is actually pretty easy to convey. 

There are many other elements, emotions and other important things that I found hard to touch on. I think the idea of a sole shining ray of truth, being the Millennium, deserved a sort of heroic theme. It is actually a theme that is touched on a bit earlier in the book, and not so much later. This theme also appears in the next book from what I have read so far. This is something I wish appeared even more in the book, the idea that there is that one small journal with some of the best articles and doesn’t lie or suck up to anyone that has a very strong but small cult following. I think that Larsson based Millennium off of what he perceived his magazine to be like. If this is true or not, I don’t know, but I think that he did a good job of crafting an organization like Millennium that almost manifests itself into a character. 

Although close to the theme of mystery, I think there was also a theme of danger, as there is in many books. Books are often about things that people will not experience in their lives, or they wouldn’t be very interesting. People are not usually having their life threatened in various scenarios, so there are many places where characters find themselves in a situation where they would not like to be. This book however does not have danger in the sense that many other books do. Although there are some times when characters are in peril I never really felt my blood pumping while reading it. I actually enjoyed it. It was much like in many mystery novels where you don’t really see it as danger, the situation sort of turns itself into another clue as you try to figure out the grand scheme of the mystery and what it all really adds up to. 

Another theme that appears a bit in the book is the idea of generation clashes. Mikael is most certainly from a different generation than Lisbeth and they have very different personalities. I find that this can be a bit cliche as well so I am glad that this was not brought up too much in the book.

Overall I think that I tried my best, however the proper emotion is hard to convey. With more practice I imagine that this is something that I can improve at greatly and will certainly make more attempts to do in the future.

Head of footprints- 

Wayne Shorter (for the song that wasn't erased)