100 Days – Day 31

Returning to First Principles

Founder, and Foundation

So I’ve tentatively started (again) the re-write of movement 5 of ACC. I have a new idea – one that has been fermenting for a few days, and that caused me to realise that what I had been working on wasn’t working. I feel that it’s a very strong idea, and the temptation to jump straight into sibelius and start working through it is very strong.

That’s exactly what went wrong last time. I have learned, time and again, that the approach to composition that works best for me is to lay a solid foundation on paper first – come up with all the key musical building blocks, map out where they’re going to go. Then I put those into sibelius, with big gaps in between, and fill it in later. If there’s a lot of filling in to do, then the process repeats. If it’s just little bits, then I can usually get away with doing that straight into sibelius.

This approach can make supervisions a little tricky sometimes. I send my long-suffering supervisor, Dr Phill, about 30 pages of music, lots of which is blank, lots of which is fragmentary, and hope that I can somehow explain to him how this sketch of a blueprint is going to look and sound when it’s finished.

In the case of the big re-write I had not done my homework. I had not laid my foundations and selected my materials. I’d come up with one or two rough-hewn ideas, and gone ahead with putting it all together before I even really knew how the pieces fit. The end result? Dustbin