I forged ahead with the Dunstan cantata yesterday, keen to make up for the hiatus of Wednesday, and I think that I am back more or less to where the schedule should be. The work at the moment is still rather tentative, adding in harmony to existing lines and vice verse, but it is all beginning to add up.
This is still movement number one, though, so there are another four to be dealt with over the coming weeks, but it is good to hear it beginning to take some kind of meaningful shape, to have fragmentary lines acquire some harmonic garb. As more detail goes in so the character of the piece begins to emerge, and that should make the process easier in the long run.
I took myself off to my composition books and a couple of videos yesterday afternoon, for I was feeling rusty enough to need a quick refresher, not so much to remind me of what could be done but more to jog my memory about some tips and tricks that might have slipped my mind. I came upon a series of articles by a writer with whom I have corresponded in the past and spent an hour or so reading and hopefully taking some of that information on board.
There are more articles to be read, so that is part of the plan for today if I can fit it and the writing around various other rather urgent demands. Even if I only get to sit down for an hour or so it will still be better than nothing and keep the gears spinning in the unconscious.
It helps that I love to read and hear about compositional technique, not just because it is useful to me as a writer but also because I find the creation and use of some of those systems fascinating. It reminds me that alongside the writing I should also be sketching constantly – a harmonic progression here, a fragment of melody there – to keep the imagination working when the mind is on more mundane technical matters.