Chess and Rubik’s Cubes

So, today I was explaining to my friend Seán the process of writing music. He was wondering when the premiere of the concerto was and how I was getting on with the writing.  “So nothing much written now and a mad dash at the end then?” he said.

It seems everyone things I work better under pressure and when I have no option I will somehow magically just write the music!

You know, its much more like a game of chess (which I don’t play, possibly because I already have my head full with music permutations and don’t want to share the space with chess moves!). I explore an idea and then have to follow the idea through to completion. As the process plays out in my head, I am not filling in the minutia of the process, but getting a feel for the macrocosm of the construction. I keep some type of mental tally of the walls that I run into and either decide to proceed or not with that path.

Now, just to make things complicated, I start to lock in certain requirements after time zero in the concerto, such as the way I want to get from one movement to the other, or a theme for another movement, or a key that that melody needs to be presented in. So, like a rubiks cube, I now have limited paths still open to me to reach my final destination.

Writing this way, I strive to optimize my realization of the music that is floating around me like pollen in the wind.

I guess a time limitation forces your hand, but I genuinely don’t need an unobstructed path to dive right in. I’m already right in. I’ve a slew of chord and melodic progressions both on paper and in my head, and I feel so close to making my first really huge leap forward.

Today for example, I felt that Beethoven leaves his phrase endings unresolved to allow himself a choice of direction for his next move, whereas my melody so far actually resolves itself, so I either need to handle it differently, or add a B section that follows that same pattern that I’m observing!

I’m here blogging watching the Butterfly Effect and I realize that I could of course, be completely crazy and the patterns I’m seeing in Beethoven could all be in my minds eye and no one else sees it my way…. ah well….. I’ll get back on the horse in the morning 🙂

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