There’s Beauty in a Prairie

North Dakota – Photo by Dan Steven Erickson

I have a personal preference for the beauty of flat wide-open land. I lived in the Midwest for a few years and grew to love the prairie. Mountains are beautiful but they block your view unless you hike to the top. Deserts are nice but there’s not enough rain or greenery. The ocean is great but it’s an expensive place to live.

All that aside, we can learn from the landscape of a prairie. Prairies may be flat and unassuming, and they may feel ordinary. But they allow us to contemplate distance.

Musically, I often visualize wide-open landscapes as I compose. This is especially true with drone pieces. Music based on a single tone reflects that sense of distance. Prairies are also filled with little things. They are home to beautiful flowers and an array of wildlife. A good piece of drone music also has subtle undertones.

So a prairie may seem plain and boring, but that’s not always bad, especially in the fields of ambient music and abstract art. If you look closely, there are uncountable subtleties in a prairie. If you listen closely to ambient and minimalist music, you’ll find the same.

In fact, I might argue that most ambient music, even drone music, has more changes than pop music, you just have to listen more closely. And that’s the beauty of a prairie. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.