A good stint of work yesterday afternoon in a cafe in Bath, throwing ideas down in the cantata and rewriting certain passages. It is sometimes slow and fitful work, but every step marks some progress, even if that progress often comes in the form of telling me what I should not be doing.

I tend to work in Panorama mode in Sibelius, which is a little bit like an infinite ticker tape, the score stretching out virtually from left to right with only the little bit on the screen visible at any particular time. I find it easier to work that way than to deal with the up and down and side to side of ‘pages’, and only very late on in the process do I begin the formatting, once almost everything else is done.

At the end of my session of work yesterday I clicked into page mode, just to see what the rough score of movement four might look like by the end of the month and I was pretty pleased with what I saw, something that looked right on the page. There were many gaps and still a decent amount of work to do, but it is beginning to look good, and I am reasonably happy with the way that it is sounding as well.

Part of that sonic unification lies in using certain chord structures and scales consistently throughout sections and movements, and while I often used to decide those parameters often before committing a single note to paper I now prefer to let the music work itself out. The strongest ideas eventually become apparent and then they can be applied to other sections.

While this means a way of working that can, at times, be two steps forwards and one step back, I think that the final result is worth the extra effort. As long as I have a little time to spare and keep chipping away at this then I can afford to work this way, and I think that the finished piece will be worth the slightly greater amount of time that I have had to spend on it.