Long before I started this blog, I decided to adapt the idea of a writer’s freewrites to music. The exact definition has mutated over the years, but nowadays I define a freewrite as a piece which I compose in one sitting, generally (but not rigidly) avoiding backtracking. That makes it a sort of compositional improvisation.
Yesterday I took two hours to do a freewrite using two of Karen’s instruments: oboe and marimba (instruments I definitely did not focus on in the past). It’s a two minute, four piece ensemble for oboe, marimba, violin, and cello.
Two weeks ago I completed my symphonic serenade, which I now dub opus 3. In previous posts I referred to the second movement as symphonic poem no. 1, and the third movement as symphonic poem no. 2. I wrote a third and crammed the three of them into a logical movement structure, where they form a somewhat coherent piece.
In total, this serenade took me about 90 hours over six weeks. It forms my largest, most complex piece to date, and although parts of it are somewhat juvenile and the scores are messy, I am quite proud of it. Its runtime is 22 minutes. It is also listed on my music page.
Here is the second in my series of symphonic poems. Still not happy with the ending, not because it’s not a good ending, but because it comes too soon. I want this piece to be about three minutes longer. I love it though, it is possibly my best work, so its length will probably push me over the edge on the 275th listen, and I will be forced to go back and add content.
When I finally arrange these poems into a “movement” structure, this will probably be the last one because of its high energy and strong, major key ending. I plan to write one more, which will be the first in the structure.
I began this piece about three weeks ago, and all in all it accounted for something like 35 hours of work. That is a rough estimate, I don’t keep track.
I just finished, in some sense, the first of a series (hopefully) of symphonic poems. I took a long break in the middle of writing this, so I could be mistaken, but I think it took about 20 hours total. It still needs a little tweaking; in particular some of the harmonies on the climaxes are drowned out by the percussion and poor instrument balancing, and I’m not sure if I’m happy with the ending (it’s meant to be a little unsettling…). But the idea is there.
I just got Finale 2007 with GPO. I just tried it out a little, and it sounded incredible. Concerto2 soundbank, bite me (incidentally, I got many samples for concerto2 from GPO). I was so inspired by these great patches that I wrote a new song! It’s called A 41: Quartet (sheet music, midi, Finale source).
The other day, Jude asked me whether my daily improvisations were helping me improve as a pianist (rather than just an improvisationalist). My reply was that I couldn’t tell. And then it occurred to me that I’m not really playing anything challenging anymore. Yeah, I play Pathetique once in a while, Jeux Deau now and again, but I’ve known both of those for a year already. I’m not learning anything new and challenging.
This etude, unlike my other etudes, was written for myself. It is not improvisational in the least. It took about an hour and a half to write and learn to the skill level you hear here. If I wish to treat it as a real etude, I should learn it to perfection, which should take several more hours. I’m not sure if I will. Anyway, enjoy.
Oh, and here’s the sheet music.
I’ve been a little behind on my improvisations. But here’s one for today.
I’m also working on a song for the platformer game I did for the game jam. The other members of the techno folder in my repository will be excited to see a song sparkly and new, after having been neglected for more than two years. I’m not sure whether I’m done with this song yet (reason source file).