Monday, January 25, 2010

Slow Going

I've been working on a new piece for the past week or two and it's really coming along very slowly.  I actually came up with the opening melody rather quickly, but everything that follows has been a challenge.  The main concern is that it has an Adagio tempo, so keeping things moving and interesting is a primary concern.  Also, giving the music momentum, a proper structure, and a forward-moving direction has been a real challenge.  This one is in sort of an Irish style - a stylistic homage to Percy Grainger, whose music I've admired since my days in High School band.

As I told someone recently, though, a major part of my creative process is to sit back and listen to what I've done and let my imagination dictate what comes next.  I just seem to be spending a lot more time than usual sitting back.  There are a bunch of false starts, dead-ends, and good material that I can't seem to fit into the context of the whole piece.

The whole process has been a little disheartening, but I buckled down this past weekend and made some firm decisions.  Now I'm about ready to tie things up in a coda, put on some finishing touches, and call it done, so I can move on to the next new piece.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


So remember that spreadsheet that I keep with all the new music I write for the year? The one that helps me organize new pieces by difficulty level and tonality?

No?  Then check this out.  Or this one.

Anyhoo, just before Christmas, I finished the board, filling up every square!    I now have music for beginners, intermediate level, and advanced students in major keys, minor keys, and "novelty" selections.  That means that I've completed my self-imposed quota for the year and I still have about four months before I send anything off to publishers!  Plus, I've been working ahead for a while which means I have extras handy.  I also have previously-passed-over music that I can re-submit, so there's no lack of selection when it comes time to send music to publishers in the Spring.

Also, I found time recently to do some revisions on my opera.  I adjusted the vocal lines a little bit, made the choruses a little easier to sing, completely re-worked the wind parts in the final scene, and reduced the whole thing into a piano-4-hands version that will be easier to perform while still sounding like the full orchestral score.