I’m writing a piece of music for the Distil Showcase on April 8th at the Stirling Tolbooth and I thought I would blog about my process of writing it.
So I decided last week I would do this which gives me 2 weeks to come up with a concept and deliver ready for rehearsal. Not a lot of time but you can’t beat a deadline! So in coming up with a concept I decided to write just for Mr McFall’s Chamber – no soloists. I remember that Robert McFall said at a workshop that the quartet / quintet form is about the musicians having fun so I hope to make the music fun to play (although I’m sure this come back and bite me!).
Most of my recent music has taken old Scottish tunes as a starting point and from there I’ve worked at creating new themes and expanding on them. So I’ve chosen a tune called the Merry Lads of Ayr from the Athole Collection. I picked that tune (I had never heard it before) because I want the quintet to play it and it has a chamber feel. I think it will work well with classical music technique and still sound traditional in style. I then played it through a few times and recorded some ideas for my weekly Make Good Art project. This gave me some things to build on. I then wrote my various ideas based on segments of the tune, air, march ideas and some links onto manuscript paper. I’ve tried many things over the years but pencil and paper beats them all! I still wasn’t very happy – I needed some kind of intro – so I spent lots of brain time thinking about it, singing it in my head etc until I came up with the idea I wanted.
I’ve now inserted my ideas into Sibelius. I attempt to write the form down before arranging it and that is where I am at the moment. I’ve had some more musical moments to write down and I’m waiting now to work out how it will end – hopefully today or tomorrow. Then I will start to pull it together. Hopefully it will be finished by the start of the next week!
I’ll tell you how I get on!