Happy birthday, George Takei! I've been working on this composition for about three months now and am pretty sure it's complete. (VIDEO SCORE TO THE RIGHT, made with the MuseScore MP3 of this piece. "Made Easy" arrangement at http://musescore.com/arthurbreur/george-takei-rag-made-easy.)
This piece is composed off the letters of George Takei's name (just continuing the additional letters of the alphabet up the scale after A-G), and from patterns created by other words and names from George's life. (I've marked out where the notes are derived directly from his name in the first melody.)
Section by section:
The first section is composed off of the letters of George Takei's name, and is intentionally upbeat and optimistic. The theme is intended to represent his youth, his early family life, and his overall personality. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Takei by phone once a few years ago, and it was a delight speaking to him.
The second section represents the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is a sad part of America's history, and George Takei has made it part of his life to bring awareness to a time when America didn't behave so beautifully. The section is composed in a minor key, reflects the melodies of songs of Americana, and is intentionally composed so the melody and the accompaniment are not lined up, as the situation at the time was not in alignment with our country's principles.
The third section is all about Hollywood. The melody plays on the many celebratory melodies about Hollywood and show business, right up to the "big finish" cadences that lead the section into...
The fourth section comes as a surprise and suddenly turns a corner into very different places than the earlier sections, while intentionally keeping rhythms and references to other moments in the piece. The melody (if I do say so myself) is classy and sophisticated, even "cool"—the proud protagonist has found his stride, and it's more than just OK to be Takei.
Note: The 12-bar finale may or may not get added to in time; we'll have to see.
Previous installments of this process of writing this composition are at:
Edited May 6, 2013: Corrected harmonies in 4th section.