My summer lull draws ever nearer, and I am trying to get myself into the necessary rhythm by getting more writing done. So far this week I have been involved in events at the Royal Festival Hall, dutifully obeying the direction on the organ console not to smoke, but there is an awful lot of sitting around to be done, similar to a JEBO gig, so I have been writing and copying out my latest piece. What is clear about this work is that material from all of the sections is in place, but that each of the sections needs to be expanded. I have transferred what I have to Sibelius and will probably now work partially on there and partially on paper.
Over the course of this year it has been interesting to see just how my writing rhythm has developed and settled. I tend to begin away from the piano, primarily because I do not want to be influenced by my fingers or my ears, and would rather let the fundamental musical decisions – harmony, structure and so on – belong to the brain. Only after a certain point do I listen to what I have written, and this is normally when inconsistencies in my language come to light, although it may not be immediately apparent quite why they are so. It is usually at this stage, once the basic material is in place and sorted out, that I transfer the work to computer, and it seems more and more likely that I will work from then on with mouse and keyboard, although I will still work out tricky areas with pencil and paper. Perhaps this happens because I reach the point where I am reusing previous material to the extent that a point and click is quicker than hand copying, but I am always aware that simple cutting and pasting is death to creativity.
If a piece were a cake, I imagine that this transfer to computer would be the point at which the ingredients, mixed together, are transferred to the oven, and regular followers of this blog will know that, if possible, I like to have a cooling down period for my pieces as well if I am sufficiently ahead of schedule.
A year ago I would not have been able to write this entry, for finding one’s modus operandi is a long and individual affair, and differs fundamentally from composer to composer. Even with the single composer it can vary from piece to piece, but now I know that a pattern has emerged it will be interesting to see whether I can stick with it, and what improvements it might bring to my ability to understand the way I work.
Today is my last really busy day for a while, and I am planning to use the rest of this month and the whole of August as opportunities to get wheels spinning for the forthcoming year. It will be a combination of writing, editing and publicity, a chance to upload more scores to the website and to get ahead on my current commissions. As mentioned before, it will also be a chance to see if a greater daily involvement in writing is really where things should be for me, and I think that it is. Knowledge of how I go about that task can only be helpful.