Thursday, January 21, 2016

W is for Waking

Much, if not most, of my work composing is routine, even mechanical, realizing in details all the consequences of my grand plans and lesser follies. For this, the small hours of the night seem best, and drifting into dreams (and sometimes providential error!) reliably gives those details an added dose of fantasy that might otherwise be lost to the routine.  Editing, the work I like least, is done best in the afternoon, the dullest part of my day. But it is in the waking moments that my best composing gets done, or better: begun, composing music at the same time you're composing yourself, and, when both fortunate and focused, being able capturing some of the spark remaining from the productive sense and nonsense of musical dream-work. It's not unusual for me to rush straight from bed, not quite awake, not quite still asleep to a keyboard or to paper and pen and try to capture just a few sounds from rapidly fading memory. Like trying to catch mercury.  No, not transcribing whole, finished pieces from dreams, but carrying musical ideas and impulses from dreams forward into waking life and real music to be played and heard.

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