Monday, February 01, 2010

Somewhere beyond a thought

I didn't quite manage to achieve my aim of writing something for every day in January, but I got a respectable part of the way there. Somewhere in the middle of it all I reached my 500th post too, which chimes nicely with the thought that part of what this has been about is going back to how this blog started: Write something, get it out there, don't worry too much about whether it's any good, just write something.

So here are the January Pieces. Not all of them are "finished" pieces, though I think many of them would work if you just played them exactly as I wrote them down. To do that would be to miss some of the point, though.

There's more to it than getting over inertia, of course. Although I didn't write so much last year, I thought about the process of it all a great deal. Part of this is to do with exploring the possibilities of Just Intonation as a guiding principle (of which more anon) as well as the problems of notating it (more anon on this too), but there's a bit more to it than that, which shows in the fact that instead of the piano which I half-considered the sketches I put up here in 2005 to be for, all these are for my own instrument, the cello. there are several reasons for this. They're all practical, but also have more philosophical rationales lurking underneath. One is that as I'm beginning to explore a completely new method, and so starting from scratch, really, it's good to be able to experiment directly rather than try and imagine something that remains on paper until you can find someone else to play it. there's also the fact that you can't produce just intervals on a piano, and you can on a cello. But there's also the product of a lot of thought about what composing is and what role the composer has in music. I don't want to be one of those composers who doesn't play music, but has to rely on others to bring his work to life. I've always thought it's important for a composer to ave practical experience of performing, and I increasingly think this should be a primary focus. So these bits and bobs are meant to be the basis for a performance. Maybe not a finished "work", but a pool of ideas to dip into.

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