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

At least there’s Radiohead…

This entry is more of an outward rant for myself. And it’s about my third movement. First off I should say, minus the fine tuning and editing I have to do I am happy with what I have for movement 1 & 2. I think there is sufficient honesty in them, and musically I like them–that’s not to say what I have will be the final product. I’m sure I will think of stuff to add or reorganize without jeopardizing my original ideas.

Movement 3–*le sigh.* I have all these musical ideas that I want to incorporate, but I’m struggling to define my own thoughts. It’s as if the idea of a 3rd movement is a bell curve, with the mean/median being musical honesty and individuality. The standard deviation to the right is making the movement a whole fluid piece–one item with musical intricacies throughout. The standard deviation to the left is making the movement a medley, collection, of different and separate songs. Part of me thinks that perhaps I am in a rush to finish this piece, so I’m settling for combining pieces of music that I think are “cool” and haphazardly giving them transitions to each other and calling it a movement, therefore leaning towards one standard deviation to the left. That’s not musical honesty, right?

I’ve been listening to string quintets by Ravel and Debussy, and constantly listening to the Punch Brother’s Blind Leaving the Blind over and over, and the common factor is the ease of transition. Ideas stay the same while the music and textures change. That’s what I should be striving for. Yet, movements 1 & 2 of my own piece are different enough, separately, that I am certainly taking care of the “individuality” aspect I care about. Yes, they are fluid and connected logically, but they are definitely different.

I think the intersection I am approaching is that while striving to make this piece of music the best that I can, and seeing as it is really the first biggest piece of music I’ve attempted, I need to write other things (which I’ve been doing) to get more practice and inspiration. I’m fine tuning my setting of Shel Silverstein’s poem Where the Sidewalk Ends. Though that in itself took all of a day to write and I’m happy with it–that is meant to simple and lovely. It is. I’ve also started and have plans to arrange and handful of Radiohead songs for brass quintet. Hopefully for that I can do some musical justice to arranging them, and not just make some crappy “I’m-a-music-instructor-and-I-arrange-Queen-for-marching-band” approach. Their music is of enough pop, rock, and inventional worth to me that I’m joining the bandwagon of covering Radiohead songs.

I sat down today to continue writing what now may or may not ever become the intro the 3rd movement, and came across this interview online. It is with Jake Schepps interviewing Noam Pikelny from the Punch Brothers.

This is exactly the sort of thing I needed to read today. Noam Pikelny was a theory major in college and applied all his knowledge to his banjo and arranging music for it. I think my immediate goal should be to at least notate out everything I have so far, because if for nothing, should I not use the bits I have in A Man’s Will to Woman at all, I like them all is individual songs, and I will definitely use them on their own.

Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I push up the glasses, snap the suspenders, drink coffee like it’s water and I’m stranded in a desert, and just keep on writing. This 3rd movement will come, but I suppose I can’t rush importance. Until then, at least there’s Radiohead…


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