Monday, February 13, 2012

challenges in piece #3

Standard caveat applies here, that proofreading and editing takes away from the spontaneity and honesty of whatever it is I am trying to say, so this is probably less coherent than it should be.

I had discussed the process behind this particular work a few weeks ago in class (a study in aleotoric composition) and in some ways I am pleased with how things turned out, but there are many shortcomings. I think it's important to state that despite the amount of rigor that was involved in the precompositional process, it did not exert nearly as much control over the music as I thought it would.

The problems that exist in this work are problems that also exist in almost all of my music for piano, with the exception of a sonata movement I wrote 6 years ago.

First, it is about as far from idiomatic for the piano as is possible. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in my case, I think it is limiting my progress regarding exploring the intrument, even though I am a pianist. It seems that the sounds that interest (slow, quiet, the focus on what happens "after the note" or attack ((the construction of complex sonorities through ubiquitous pedal)) me the most when I am composing would be more suited to a realization by a small string orchestra.

Duration has always been an issue as well, I think. There are many times when I am working on a composition where I come to an event, or after reach a certain point, that this particular utterance feels complete, that there is nothing left to say. Again, this doesn't have to be a negative thing, but in this case, it is. By stepping away from the music completely like that, I deprive myself of the experience of applying compositional techniques that will benefit myself and my later work.

Lastly (for now, at least), though the processes of #1 and #3 are in a way opposites (total control/lack of control) the end result is too similar (something that Dr. Ross brought up in class earlier this semester, though not directed towards my writing specifically) which goes against the spirit of this assignment. I have experimented with another sketch using fast but static perpetual motion-esque figurations and harmonic development in an almost minimalist style, but that was less than successful. The contrast in process and result would have been much better though, I think. The way things turned out, it seems less and less apparent that my language is consistent, but more apparent that in terms of composition I am a one trick pony.

1 comment:

  1. I have a hunch that your experience as a pianist is allowing you to produce far more idiomatic music than you think. You sit at the piano, you press a key, and you hear a sound. If you like it, you keep it. If not, you discard it. Judiciously selecting pitches on the piano based on their acoustic resonance strikes me as a completely different type of idiomatic exploration, and one that certainly has merit.