A diary

It’s tough to talk about composing music, (as I’ve admitted before).  But I thought it might be valuable if I just jotted down a list of random thoughts that pop into my head as I’m writing a piece, a setting of a Shakespeare sonnet.

Librettist has taken what appears to be a bridge, and put it at the beginning, middle and end.  But he’s encouraging me to switch things around however I see fit.  I’m thinking of leaving out a couple of lines the audience won’t understand.

And maybe at the end, leave out more words, so the audience recognizes a lyric phrase it’s heard before, but now has a new meaning and impact.

The A sections are rather even in their scansion.  It suggests a simple 4/4, although that could prove dull over a whole song.  Accompaniment should utilize open fifths, perhaps over different bass notes.  If the right-hand fifths are an ostinato, an interesting bass line could get the harmony to move a bit.

I seem to be humming a phrase in C, so I’ll stick with C, and the simplicity it carries with it.

The character is contemplating the state of her romance, while looking in a mirror.  So I’ll need some touching chords.  I like the way a sustained C sounds over an A-minor going into F minor sixth.  But is this something I’ve employed elsewhere in the score?  If so, how close will the two ballads be?

Already I’m worried about too many ballads.  Perhaps Good Night Good Rest could be done faster, with more doo-wop back-up vocals giving it more energy.  Check with librettist.

Second and final stanzas could use a cadence similar to Billy Joel’s And So It Goes.

“Curse my fate” – extend length of notes.  Shouldn’t be quarter notes.  Break the pattern.

Back when I was rehearsing Jonathan Reid Gealt’s Quiet, I kept thinking how strong the first phrase is, and how dull what follows it is.  What if I took that phrase for the title, and followed it with something more interesting?

Speaking of more interesting: get the bridge in a far-off sharp key.  Too few accidentals (in C) = too vanilla.

Uh-oh.  I played Hamlisch’s How Can I Win? for the first time in years yesterday, and a phrase from it has crept into the second bridge.  I’ll weird this up later.

Coming out of that bridge I was able to use that A-minor going into F minor sixth.

Want to print out what I’ve got so far, but there’s no paper and very little printer ink. So, it’s going on the back of a copy of On the Steps of the Palace I’m no longer using.

The ending of the bridge of Somewhere Out There.  But this brings up a question: the show is set in 1959, so the harmonic progressions need to resemble those that were used 54 years ago.

Just did a scratch recording: God, it’s long!  Nearly four minutes.  How is the audience ever going to sit still?

Collaborator addressing some of my concerns.  Always a good sign.

I’ve screwed up the rhythm of that bridge somehow.

I need a nap.

O.K., now I’m at the point where I think the song is absolutely awful.  This sinking feeling is likely to lift when others hear it.  Also, I ate some chicken that may have gone bad.  So it could be that.

First draft done.  I’m very tired, but I can’t nap since the baby has napped for three hours now and is unlikely to continue.

My concentration is not what it should be.  Way too much procrastination, such as jotting down these notes, as a way of avoiding jotting down those notes.

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