Friday, December 07, 2007

Tabula Rasa

I'm writing a piece for bassoon. Well, I say "writing". What I'm actually doing is scribbling things down that lie within the range of the bassoon, then looking at them again and deciding they're no good. And staring out of windows. A lot of that. The middle distance has rarely received such scrutiny as I'm giving it at the moment.

A typical sort of thing that people say when you tell them that you write music goes along the lines of, I don't know how you do that. How do you do that? To which the answer is, well, I don't know really. I just do. So when this happens, that I just can't get going on something, it's like I've suddenly been put in the heads of all those people who just can't understand how I do it.
The thing is, I have a very clear idea of the concept of the piece, and I even have a pretty good idea of its trajectory. I just don't have any actual ideas. And as Douglas Adams observed, sometimes ideas come rushing into your head and it's wonderful and rewarding and exhilarating. But sometimes they don't, and then you just have to sit there and think of the buggers. So I just have to keep scribbling away, writing notes down, and hope that eventually I'll see something good on the page. The annoying thing is, I know I'll know when I see it. I just haven't a clue how to go about finding it. Maybe I'll go for a walk. Maybe I'll get stuck in a meeting without a pen and paper and suddenly be overwhelmed with fantastic ideas that will disappear as rapidly as they came the moment I get the opportunity to write them down. There's no Muse more powerful than the Muse of Meetings.

No comments: