CP2015: Days 3, 5 and 6

Apologies for the lack of updates – it’s been rather busy few days!

Day three was a productive day, with a couple of scribbles – one bassy serialist idea, with a time signature alternating between 7/8 and 4/4 – about 12 bars in length. I’m not normally a fan of alternating time signatures so this idea surprised me somewhat. I’m also not the hugest fan of using serialist techniques, but I have a piano piece on the go which uses some of the principles and thought I’d apply it to a melody line for a solo instrument. The second scribble this day was much more traditional for me, with a running bass line full of major second intervals and a soaring melody over the top. The contrast between the two ideas on this day was impressive!

Day four was rather unproductive composition wise. A rather unexpected turn of events ended up with some rather odd solo late night driving. I’m pondering a few ideas inspired by the journey so we’ll see what they turn into.

Day five was one conducted on about three and a half hours sleep (see bizarre late night driving on day four!). As well as playing with a couple of driving inspired ideas, I also played with chords made up of major third intervals. The prominence of the major second as a key preference of mine is obvious, so I thought I should use this Creative Pact scribbling project to experiment with other intervals. Created some interesting chords, which I may or may not be able to incorporate elsewhere.

Day six – today – and I’m up to speed! Tonight I started my scribbling time with playing some 20th century piano works. I really need to do this more often – both listening and playing – but in particular playing as it almost feels as if my fingers are decoding the language. Even as someone who has studied music and composition for years, I don’t mind admitting that at first glance I find some music harder to appreciate than others. However, my appreciation grows considerably quicker if I actually play something (be it on the piano or as part of an ensemble) than if I’m purely listening. After sight reading through a couple of pieces and spending some time with some old familiar ones, I wrote two scribbles tonight. One is a short piano (harp? Probably not marimba) sketch which might perfectly fit a piece I’ve been meaning to write for a year or so, but have never quite found the right idea. The second is a continuation of my playing with intervals – this time major fourths and fifths. I quite like experimenting with rules and limiting notes in pieces; the first movement of my string quartet works with a three octave scale which was great fun to write. This little scribble had the rules that each note in a phrase must be followed by a note that is either a perfect fourth or perfect fifth above or below it. As well as general experimentation, this partly came from the fact that the opening of my piece Bells in the Rain features three descending notes, the second and third a perfect fourth lower than the previous ones, and it’s an opening I love.

After tomorrow, week one of this Creative pact will be complete – and hopefully I will have finished some scores I’m currently tidying up, giving me more time to work on the project. As well as aiming for at least one new scribble a day I’m hoping to go back and develop some of them into slightly longer ideas/pieces.

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