Having a kid makes you step out of your element. One of the reasons I love painting is that I can scour through the world’s infinite library of music for hours on end while feeling productive and despite having already covered 30 something years worth of music in my little short life span, there’s still so much more to go.
Most recently I’ve gotten into lullabies. I’ve always loved slow tempo, classical and modern piano (Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Dustin O’Halloran) some of it back from my bad piano lesson days, but this new obsession has made me delve further into the past to discover more, specifically lullabies, music that have been putting babies to sleep for decades, centuries and I’ve still got eons to go.
My new obsession is Johannes Brahms’, 1868, “Wiegenlied” or “Lullaby” or “Cradle Song.”
“The cradle song was dedicated to Brahms’s friend, Bertha Faber, on the occasion of the birth of her second son. Brahms had been in love with her in her youth and constructed the melody of the “Wiegenlied” to suggest, as a hidden counter-melody, a song she used to sing to him.”
I just love this little diddy and even more now that I know the story behind it. I started humming it to my little monster at night to calm her down for sleep and although I always wanted to be a singer or to have musical talent of some sort, it never transpired due to my tone deaf ears and unwillingness to practice. My baby doesn’t seem to mind my off key singing surprisingly and better yet I’ve gotten better at it so much so it is maybe the first tune I’ve been finally been able to commit to memory! My baby is a very forgiving audience.
Something else I learned about lullabies, they are simple, repetitive and contain pauses so as not to overwhelm the tiny humans. They are melodic, and use a range of pitch within a higher range, which is thought to convey feelings of love and affection. They are in 6/8 time, which supposedly mimics the rocking motion in the womb. They are even used neonatal units to regulate babies’ breathing patterns and generally lead to better outcomes, one study showed lullabies could decrease an infants stay by 3 days.
So as my baby sleeps and I am reflecting on all of this while painting, I think how lovely to be a composer and to have that sort of lasting appeal! Then I thought well how could I translate that into a painting. It probably wouldn’t have the same effect but let’s indulge in my ego a bit, what would be my everlasting lullaby painting/ cradle song, something that might lull a baby to sleep. I think my best bet might be my Koala In The Bedroom Painting:
From my giant animal in tiny rooms series, koalas sleep a lot so I put him in the bedroom. Comes with a mushroom night light and a few hidden animals from the eucalyptus forest. Painting comes with a koala stuffy, a bedside lamp, and a gentle view of the moon also. A good thing to have in the nursery or bedroom maybe? Painting is night themed but might also run the risk of keeping you up at night, depending on how you feel about monster sized koalas..