No. 3!

Well, GOSH. What a lot I have to talk about today. Yesterday was kind of unproductive for the most part, so it didn’t seem worth blogging. Today has been the exact opposite and now I almost have too much to bore you with!

So, yesterday. I was feeling kind of floundering, not knowing which piece to work on next after finishing Charles’ bass-baritone song. So I looked at my list and realised I needed to spend some more time getting to grips with what Alun’s bass guitar can do, so I bought myself his album If (after checking with him which of the many I should start with) and listened to it on my marathon accidentally-4km walk to and from Waitrose. Not ideal listening conditions, I’ll grant you, but it was a fair start. What I discovered was that it’s not about what Alun’s bass guitar can do, it’s about what it *can’t* do which – it seems – is very little. I had no idea a bass guitar was capable of so much! So now my challenge there is that much bigger and I really need to do some heavy-duty thinking and tinkering very soon. Have a listen for yourself:

I did spend a significant amount of time doing battle with technology yesterday, though, which eventually resulted in a happy conclusion: I can once again doodle about on my (digital) piano and have Finale record my meanderings so I don’t need to panic about not having enough fingers to hold down notes AND write down what they are. It may seem a small thing, but oh no it’s not.

Today I wrote a flute piece. Start to finish. And sent it off to Kim. The flute piece was a bit of an accident – I had decided I was going to do Jen’s piece for singing recorder player. Fished out my copy of Walter van Hauwe’s book on extended recorder techniques (Volume III of The Modern Recorder Player if you really want to know the gory details), then pulled out my flute and wrote a flute piece. Whoops. But huzzah too, because that’s No. 3 done and I hadn’t even planned any of it.

The no-planning led to a momentary crisis of what to call it, but once I realised that it’s stylistically similar to Nest which I wrote for Jenni Pinnock back at the start of the project (for oboe, with option on flute and piccolo and possibly clarinet although the range might not be great for that) and so Kim’s piece has become Flit. I’m thinking I may do a third piece to go with them once all this is over and have them as an actual whole thing for flute (or flute + piccolo) or oboe.

And this evening I’ve been back at Sam’s slide guitar piece. The tyrannosaurus timpani sounds were really bugging me. The pitch was OK but the textures far too thick and it was all getting a bit overwhelming, so I deleted that whole track and am much happier with it now. I got the AC-7 control surface app (iPAD) hooked up to Logic which has made recording automation data MUCH easier and I think there probably won’t be any more major changes to the tape part after this. Possibly some more small volume tweaks, to allow a bit more space for the guitar, but nothing big.

I also took the first steps towards getting the graphic score done for the slide guitar. I’m a bit at sixes and sevens with this. Not quite sure how to approach it although I have a visualisation in my head. I’m starting by mapping it out on the iPad, but may end up doing it by hand, or a combination of the two. I kind of want to use coloured pencil for it. I love coloured pencil – the tones are so vibrant and the transitions can be so subtle – but I know that if I sit down with pen & pencils it could take days, so I’m hoping to convince my brain that it would be just as happy with SketchBook Pro.

So this one’s definitely “the iPad piece” for the project! It was a bit inadvertent but it was something that had been at the back of my mind that I wanted to use the iPad for something in this, so it’s great to be able to use different aspects of it in the one piece – from putting in the first track using Pianist Pro over wireless MIDI, to controlling Logic with it and creating the score. Great fun.

Oh! And I had a most delightful email this morning from Charles about his song in which he remarked that “the whole thing is very well made” along with other lovely comments about it. Super-chuffed that he likes it so much and hoping I can keep up the standard!

(And amongst all this, I made 2 loaves of some of the best bread I’ve ever made.)

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