My thoughts and out loud thoughts on composition, performance, and many things musical.

2nd Movement and other fun ideas

I’ve done quite a bit of work on the second movement in the weeks I’ve had off of school.  The more I listen to my serial section, the more I’m pleased with it.  I still can’t decide if there is something else I wanted to do with it–I think that I need to finish the surrounding material to see if the amount I have already, is sufficient. Perhaps the ambiguous yearning I have for serialism will turn into me writing a strictly serial piece down the road, unrelated to this particular quintet.

I have a nice little intro I’m pleased with, lyrics and all, and a satisfying outro to the serial section that starts as a sort of duet etude, and then trades moving lines between guitar and mandolin, with the violin echoing the material.  All of that goes into a section that starts with solo mandolin–this quaint little chord progression. Oh yes, “quaint.”

The biggest challenge now is writing lyrics.  I must say all the music is in my head–I just need to write it down.  With the first movement, the lyrics came first, and they dictated the music.  This time around, the music came first.  The emotions that surround the theme of this entire piece are still there, and I think I’m going to spend a few weeks webbing and chaining lyrics and really see if I can’t figure out the most eloquent way to express myself.  I am entirely pleased with how I, lyrically, got my thoughts out with the first movement.  I suppose the biggest pain I have is this deep desire to explain my thoughts in phrases and sentences that I set to music. That means they don’t necessarily have to rhyme or be predictable, cheesy words and metaphors.  I’ve written many a song, that are good for playing at coffee shop gigs and bars–ones that simply “woo” people.  That is just not the case with this music at all.  This is the first big thing I’ve done that I need to spend time making sure I feel great about. The major approach to writing this string quintet is that it’s through-composed. So my lyrics should be too–they should be as natural as speaking.  I have no immediate desire succumb to metrical and rhyming lyrics. We don’t speak metrically and rhyming.

I’m thinking about reading some poetry or just having conversation with some of my favorite well-spoken friends, like Anthony Hare or Sarah Taylor.  I need no conversation for my own health, they are just people who love to talk about anything and they are so silver-tongued.

I also have two ideas I’m very excited about for the 3rd movement, but I mustn’t get ahead of myself.  I’ve already had this fun lap guitar piece that I have a violin and bass part for (yes!) that I will from now on refer to as an excerpt from the third movement.  Normally I would assume to myself that I would not want to include it in this quintet because of the wild guitar tuning, but I’ve already (so lovingly-accidentally) written another idea with the guitar in the same tuning, and it just begs for accompanying melodic lines.  The lap guitar is directly related to the subject of this piece, so naturally it was meant to be included.

It’s 2am, I’m drinking hot chocolate, and putting my thoughts into typed words.  Maybe this exercise will help me find the words for movement two.  They’re there, they’re just not…there.


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