100 Days Redux – BERLIN NIGHTS – Day 4

I met up with a friend who lives in Berlin yesterday, after having written my blog post, and we went for coffee, and then we went for Spätzle and Schnitzel in the same place as yesterday, and may also have had 2 beers, and I don’t know if it was the coffee or the Schnitzel or the beers but I felt a lot happier about my 3rd movement than I had in the morning. Yes, it’s probably one of the weaker movements of the 7, but it’s still good music! Then I changed my house style halfway through editing the 4th movement (7 pages of almost exclusively choral music, which took about 10 minutes to fix up) so I spent the evening going back over the previous 3 movements and tweaking a few things. I actually then managed to get all the on-paper edits of the 5th movement done (including the addition of 5 tom-toms and a snare drum) before bed so all in all quite a productive day yesterday!

I’m currently in the middle of the laptop edits of movement 5, which includes figuring out the actual drum notation. This has always been a weak point for me. I love percussion – always have, and I love writing for it, but for some reason I always second guess my notation choices. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading Samuel Z. Solomon’s How to write for Percussion and it’s given me a lot of confidence in this field, but I still have it sitting open beside me on the relevant pages. I’ve also discovered some more optimal ways to make sibelius lay out the percussion parts, so that’s helping me along too. Basically I’ve learned to go with my instinct.

I think part of the problem is that percussionists tend to be extremely easy going, so whenever I’ve asked one a question about something, they just go “sure, yeah, we’ll read whatever”, and – like the sith – I prefer to deal in absolutes, at least where notation is concerned.

I don’t think there’s much work left to do on the 6th movement, so I may well finish 2 movements today, leaving me with only the final movement to complete. If this is the case, then I’ll spend tomorrow playing a Zelda game, before finishing the final movement on Monday, and maybe also my carol The Morningstar, which is, after all, based on the a Lutheran chorale. It would be wrong to finish it anywhere other than in Germany, while I have the chance.