Friday, February 27, 2009

Composition Class

We just spent a grueling yet fun morning playing through all of the compositions that we brought in. Usually, as a group, we don't actually write down what we're composing. It tends to be more along the lines of "So, keep that going until the flute comes in and then drop it a third, yeah?" So making a proper written score is a bit of a change. Also then reading the score...

My brief was to write for 6 members of the group using all extended techniques or sounds that the instruments don't usually make. I ended up also creating my own instrument using a metal goblet, a metal bowl, a chopstick, and a pitcher of water. Water sloshing around in ringing metal? Best. Sound. Ever.

I was up until an embarrassing time last night getting the score all in order and handwriting everything because most computer composition programs don't let you invent new shapes for note heads, which is one of the things that I needed to do in order to make my score work. It should have been tedious writing everything down- but I got the biggest kick out of it.

Ella, my composer flatmate, let me use a couple of pieces of her HUGE manuscript paper, so I was sitting there taking up the ENTIRE kitchen table with my paper and my notes and sketches and my pencils and pencil sharpeners and multiple erasers. Moises and Latana came in and had supper while I was working which was really lovely- to have comfortable conversation going on around you that you can join or not while you're working.

I think my score is beautiful and will probably post pictures of it later. We had 9 scores to get through so we extended class time a half hour earlier and half an hour later. We all have recordings of our pieces now which is really exciting too. Would have been even more exciting for mine if there hadn't been a wind quartet rehearsal next door that was drowning out some of the sounds even through the wall. Oh well, still wonderful. It was fun watching people's faces as their music came to life. Emma at one point even said, with a huge grin on her face, " I wrote in and they're playing it!" Which seems kind of obvious, but is a tremendous feeling.

Off to Cornwall now! We're performing at the Tate St. Ives on Sunday! And I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

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