Friday, February 14, 2014

Ogblay? Atwhay ogblay?

Yet another stab at reinstating the habit to ... scribble? ... in public (and why, in this day and age, do we still lack of typographic/keyboard equivalent of the word "scribble"?).

Plugging away at the long-deferred tempo fugue that was at least half the raison d'etre for A field guide to North American car alarms. Taking shape, it is, in despite of (or precisely because of?) the decision to rewrite all the pitches ... partly a matter of thinking more carefully about gestures that can be passed around the sextet (and thus, thinking more carefully about how to translate among percussive, woodwind, and bowed-string media), and partly a matter of being more deliberate about setting certain pillars (following some very strict transpositional plans) and then embracing the sheer ad hoc opportunistic possibilities for pitch levels of the countersubject(s).

Okay, that covers the past few weeks. Today's specific mundane epiphanies are:

1) Dagnabbit, notational clarity can be a pain in the @#$. It finally dawned on me that a gesture in which a grace note is sustained (forming a held dyad) requires notation as two voices. It seems pretentious for such a simple gesture, but goshdarnitmakesadifference.

2) On the other hand, I realized I've been creating extra work for myself, overmarking the dynamics of the countersubject. Eliminating the redundancy provides cleaner copy for the players, and (special bonus) Sibelius was overplaying the overmarked dynamics, effectively dropping notes at the end of diminuendos, so now the piece sounds better in crude MIDI playback (longer gestures / better phrasing ... well, duhhh).

3) Not beating myself up about the above, as so much of this seemed okay with only a few phrases occurring simultaneously ... but as the chaos, er, I mean, counterpoint really gets going, it matters more and more. As the whole Gestalt develops, the forest more clearly dictates the requirements of each tree (duhhh redux).

That's enough for one morning; time to break for lunch. Meanwhile, if you haven't already, mark your calendar for Saturday, 10 May.