getting stuck again

So, as has become a general theme in my compositional life, i am, again, full of commas.

wait, no, that's not it


I'm stuck. Got about halfway through a movement, thought it was pretty good. Took it into the Dragon, and was shown various errors. Mostly pacing errors, a little bit of weak orchestration and rhythmic development. Nothing major. Since showing the piece (a fledgling little trombone concerto) at the beginning of the semester, I've done a fairly good job re-orchestrating portions, changing up the pacing a bit (basically giving a lot more room to breathe, longer calms with short high paced moments of action.), and did a little re-orchestrating. at last, i reached the point where i had finished the previous semester.

and stopped.

Confused, bewildered, full of "wtf." every day, i'd look at the score, go over all my past work, take copious notes. I drew form pictures, picked out developed themes i like, pushed around the notes of the different collections, inverted, retrograded, mirrored, made fun shapes...hell, i even toyed with making a tonnetz of the three pitch derivatives i used at the beginning.

And i'm still stuck. Usually running through all this sort of busy-work, breaking things down, moving things around, analyzing what i've done, tossing tons of material on paper and sorting through things...usually this pops me outta my funk. I redid my formal plan based on what has already happened (compared to the original plan. those never last.). I did some Theory of Maxima. (which i thought i had blogged about, and appears i have not. hmmmm....well...later...)

I took these things to the Dragon. His suggestion: write differently. Ok ok, that is really glib. What was suggested was to work out the solo line and work in short score. Then, move onto orchestration.

We all work differently. For some, melody is king and most important. for others it is the rhythm or the form. Me, it's all about timbre.

I come up with basic melodic ideas and themes at the onset. These usually remain pretty set, no matter what. From there, it's about developing those couple ideas extensively. When i come up with a variation, i almost always have an instrument in mind. working in short score has never made sense to me. The one time i've done it was with my opera, written as a piano score first with the idea to orchestrate later.

too bad i wrote it for piano at that point. whoops. turned into a pretty crazy hard piano part, but it's definitely piano-centered. i orchestrated one movement for the original intended orchestration (string quartet, flute, piano, percussion...and i think a brass of some kind. i don't remember). It's alright. but the piano is better.

Still, I am stuck. Quite stuck. So, even though it is pretty much counter to how i normally work, i will try it. I will work on it hard this week. Because i need as many tools as possible when i'm no longer in a place where i can take a piece into a lesson. Need every single different trick possible to get outta funks and write the best music i can.

And, who knows, maybe i'll do it better this time.

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