Living With- Part 3


I kind of love the thumbnail that youtube chose for this video! There is typically a lot of head scratching that goes on in this stage of composing for me. When I set out to develop this introduction section, I had no idea it would end up being about 60 measures (over a minute) long! However, as I grappled with the idea of a long introduction, it made sense that living with an idea takes time for the idea to brew, and why not have that be reflected in the music.

Guitar opening

This is the guitar pattern that developed. Having a 6 measure pattern was nice since it would help allow it to feel different than the typical 4 or 8 bar patterns.

When I started to write parts around this, I actually started with writing the inner parts. Usually I like to start with the upper parts, like trumpet or trombone 1, but I tried starting with trombone 2 and 3 and seeing how I could stagger entrances around the guitar pattern. I thought this would help animate the drone pattern a little, but also keep the listener interested in the layers around the drone.

Brass parts- Opening

I decided to change my idea of having the keyboard play the chords with saxes, and instead gave another interesting repeating 2 bar ostinato pattern that worked out interestingly in juxtaposition with the guitar part. This was very similar to a pattern that I was improvising back in the 2nd post after I listened to the Fred Sturm arrangement of Radiohead's Bodysnatchers.

Piano - Opening

I decided to move the opening into the Bmin groove that I developed earlier, and put a guitar solo over the groove, with some brass backgrounds, and a few faster sax figures to help lead into the brass hits.

It was good to have the opportunity to hear a brief read through of the piece so far at the PJO rehearsal. After hearing it, there are a few ideas that I want to rework again, mostly in the transition into the 2nd section. Overall though I am feeling good about the opening, and curious to see where I can take the second section, and it was good to hear some feedback from the members in PJO also.

I'm looking forward to more head scratching! This process of keeping tabs on my own creative choices makes me think more about what I have learned about the creative process, and how that applies to my own journey.

I am thinking a lot about a TED radio hour episode called The Source of Creativity, and I think it was Charles Limb's talk about Jazz improvisers's and the brain. The interesting component is that these jazz musicians were able to in some way turn off that part of the brain that is self-critical, and always questioning, and asking "what I am doing that makes sense" or "is this any good". In a sense, it is the filter by which we make judgements about what should stay, and what should go, right? So, I'm pretty bad about turning that part of my brain off when I'm composing! I always question what is the best option, and have a hard time letting go, and just letting it all flow out without thinking about all kinds of facets.

What will others think about this? Do I really like it? Does it sound like I know what I'm doing? Is it too simple? It is too complex? Haven't I already written something like this before?

These are lots of questions, and more, that continue to flow through my brain filter. Not sure what this tells me, but I'm sure reflecting on it can help with my future process too!


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