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Topic: Remembering a Design

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  1. #1

    Remembering a Design

    When I come back later to something I've previously written I don't always remember all the details of my design. If a long enough period of time has gone by it can almost be like analyzing an alien score. I've tried keeping notes but in the throes of composition this can really slow me down. Perhaps I just haven't hit on the right level of detail or the right things to note. Or perhaps it is one of life's tradeoffs.

    Does anyone else have this problem and if so what if anything do you do about it?

    Regards

    Chet

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Remembering a Design

    Yes, it happens with little details of complex structures (mainly based on numeric keys), I wrote in the past, forced by Conservatorio program, or to experiment contemporary methods. I remember it was numeric, but i'm no longer able to follow the strict logic of every note and duration choice.

    For more common compositions I experience a different, but related feeling: I can't believe the harmony and good distribution of the piece, because it seems so simple and natural when it's already done, but I can still remember how long and how hard it was to reach the result!

  3. #3

    Re: Remembering a Design

    Fabio

    I've said it before but I must say it again: I like the way your mind works.

    The "little details of complex structures" describes the phenomena very elegantly. And your comments with respect to the effort often required to achieve a natural and simple result are also very much to the point.

    I am considering starting to keep a journal regarding my compositional activities, it might be interesting and useful.

    Best wishes

    Chet

  4. #4
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Remembering a Design

    Chet:

    i spent a great many years struggling in my own musical journal trying to find the materials that I would like to work with. I also went through a trial and error period to test out these concepts. I encourage this kind of experimentation especially if you are at a point where you are having problems regarding your palette of materials and musical aethetic.

    These materials are sometimes worked into 'designs' that are reusable in pieces. They are a bit like progressions preworked ahead of time. These 'designs' could be used for phrases, sections or even whole pieces.

    If you work with traditional tonal music, or any other kinds of music, a 'design' approach with those materials can not only cut down work, but also evolve a style for yourself - if that is your goal.

    The greatest thing for me working this way is that the nexus of what I like has become clearer and easier, so I no longer depend on this workbook to be by my side. Out of the volume of materials, the subset has become only a minute fraction that is easily rememberable. I might dive into a design once in a while, but the use of the individual materials makes it easier freer to write without aid. I have simplified.

    The harder problems then become more global, such as 'what kind of transition should I use?' or 'how do I want to introduce contrast and on what materials?'

    But the designs and materials are simplified.

    Simplify,
    Simplify,
    Simplify,
    Simplify,
    Simplify

    The other thing about a journal is helping in motivation. I keep quotes from other composers and artists in it, including myself. aethetic words, not music. Interviews thoughts etc. When I feel distracted or doubting, I look through these to keep inspired to work on my own aethetic.
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  5. #5

    Re: Remembering a Design

    What I usually do (thanks to modern tech) is to listen to it and watch the score go by in scrolling mode on Finale about 6 times. This is definately not the most scientific method, but my mind doesn't always fire on all four cylinders. This will usually jog my memory of important motives, form, etc.

    I am now trying, as an exercise, to write a piece without thinking of form. I will come up with 3 or 4 developed idea blocks, and then I will sit down and decide what order to put them and how to use them or integrate them.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
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  6. #6
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Remembering a Design

    Creating the blocks begins with a question on how contrasting they should be. And then, it becomes a question of arrangmnet. The more contrast, the more time you need in the piece to be able to transition and also create an understanding of the materials. Too much contrast in a short work makes the piece non-unified and confusing. The mind needs time to digest the materials and understand the relationships between them. This is an example of understanding that most people never deal with when writing, and a small component of understanding the nature of form and creating a form for a work.
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  7. #7
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    Smile Re: Remembering a Design

    The difference for me in 2005 is that rather than having the proverbially "scribbles over a scorepad" I now archive everything (including the 2 out of 3 abandoned things) in my sequencer files. In a lot of ways, I consider it my "vault" -- to be mined later for whatever jewels might be there. Of course, there's always an indexing problem, but if I recall that I was working on something that might be useable from -- say -- March, I just do a date search on the sequencer file type.

    It's a lot more helpful to bring up a partially completed piece with the instrumentation as you had it then than staring at a few black dots on a page!

    at least, that's my $0.02 ... KevinKauai

  8. #8

    Question Re: Remembering a Design

    Quote Originally Posted by newmewzikboy
    Creating the blocks begins with a question on how contrasting they should be. And then, it becomes a question of arrangmnet. The more contrast, the more time you need in the piece to be able to transition and also create an understanding of the materials. Too much contrast in a short work makes the piece non-unified and confusing. The mind needs time to digest the materials and understand the relationships between them. This is an example of understanding that most people never deal with when writing, and a small component of understanding the nature of form and creating a form for a work.
    NMB, you show frequently an interesting and large knowledge of modern music, of history and of compositional rules.

    Why you don't let us know more about your experience, may be in a dedicated thread? I ask for it because the modern art and modern compositions seems to be a very stimulating matter for everybody.

  9. #9
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Remembering a Design

    Alas maestro Fabio, it is a deep subject. And probably best to study privately. Also, it would give away my services for free aye? $ for GPOA needed before xmas. I can conribute occasionally, but really its very deep. And you maero Fabio are probably better in this regard than I am.

    Please see this post for some recommended readings.

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=36763

    I would also like some additions to this thread - European books to read. If you know any.
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  10. #10

    Re: Remembering a Design

    Thanks for all the interesting and thoughtful ideas. You've all given me a lot to think about (and more than I can respond intelligently to on the spur of the moment.) I find particularly interesting the range of methods that we apply and the way we -- I guess for the lack of a better way to say it -- become ourselves as musicians and composers.

    Thanks and best wishes

    Chet

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