Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Had an interesting morning so far. Woke up at about 4:00AM remembering that as I was dozing off last night, I was playing a version of the guitar sonata movement's recap in my head using the chord progression from the development section versus the original from the expo and counter-expo. Well, one thing lead to another, and this morning I rewrote the recap in a much better form that integrates with the development. I always had a nagging feeling that the six bar progression of the development was overly isolated, and putting it into the recapitulation not only solved that, but it also gave two phrases before the second theme area shows up, which also works better.

Then, there's the fact that the ||i(add9)| iv(add9)| bVII(add9)| bIII(add9)| bVI(M7/addA11), Fr.+6| V(m9)|| progression in the tonic minor region passes through the relative major at bIII, and that's much, much more logical and effective for the recap. Since I liked the change of the V(7)/bVI from the exposition to Fr.+6/bVI in the old recap (And the resulting tighter voice leading), I moved that figure back to the exposition, and voila; the exposition became much more interesting and effective as well.

As I have been playing through the piece, I had also begun to realize that the material was suffering from over-exposure, so I dropped both the repeat of the exposition, and the bridging cadential figure that leads to the counter-expo: That bridge was dragging things down too much anyway. Not only that, but the appearance of the tonic major mode is now more of a surprise, which I like. Having that bridge-type figure only appearing in the intro and just before the recap makes it like a pair of columns that the piece sits on, which is, from an archetectural standpoint, a nice feature.

One thing I try to aviod is prolixity: Not many composers can pull it off anyway (I'm thinking speciffically of Bruckner, who bores me to a suicidal degree with his "whole lot of nothing" symphonies), and I'm certainly not one of them. In terms of duration, this is by far the longest solo guitar piece I've ever written anyway, so pairing it down to the minimum length possible is probably best. I'm not going after giant strides here, just logical progressive steps.

One mistake I believe a lot of young would-be composers make is that they try to write too big: I write just tons of miniatures and - every so often - something slightly more ambitious. If you can learn to create simple but effective miniatures consistently, then you will naturally grow into writing longer works and they will be more likely to achieve the same high degree of effectiveness. At least, that's been my experience.

As a result of this flurry of activity today, the piece is just a whole lot better than it was yesterday. One of the nicest things is that the overall piece is now a total of 162 measures long, and the pitch climax now falls at measure 107: 107 รท 162= 0.66049382716, which is close enough to 0.66666666667 for "government work." ;o)

Those of you who write a lot of music know "the feeling" you get when something is nearing completion and all the different versions are finally distilling out to the definitive one. Today is really the first time I've had that with this piece, so I'm thinking I'm at about the 95% point with it now.

Since I'm getting ready to add the fingerings and the rest of the guitar's idiomatic performance indicators, I just posted the updated PDF and MIDI files on my Fileshare page for those interested.


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