Ansel Adams dissection

It’s time to admit I have a problem. It’s not that I don’t like these middle section ideas I’ve come up with – rather it’s that they don’t seem to have any enthusiasm to go anywhere. They’re sounding fine as they are but I’m just not getting any prompts about where they want to head. They’re directionless, which is all the more annoying as the “still water” music had LOADS of direction, but this moving-water music has none!

So I think I need to do some dissection. Yes, I think the rhythm’s a bit dull, but I’m feeling there’s a more fundamental problem at work here. The central section was always a bit tacked-on – a way to get from the still-water music which I really wanted to write, to the waterfall music which I have some ideas for and which will probably also be quite still (yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but I’m hoping it will when I get there!). In The Plan, this section kind of almost doesn’t exist. Um. It’s kind of fleeting, and I know that’s because I’m just not enthused about it and don’t really know what to do with it, whereas I had clear sonic ideas for the other two.

If I go back to the images for the central section, these are the concepts I end up with:

1. mist, smooth, soft, quiet, fast but still, sheets of water, orderly

2. rumbling, foam, rocks, changing directions, channeled

3. violent, spray, rocks, lone tree, thunder

I think there’s a clear progression between these images, and maybe this is something I can really do something with. Maybe the violent climax of the piece is actually II(3) and not III, which would leave me free to do things like held piccolo notes, string and harp harmonics, subtones on the clarinet in the final section, maybe some multiphonics, like I want to do.

Next question: Working from the material from section I, how can I adapt this to the needs of II? What new material do I actually need? What actually will be the place of rhythm in this? It feels important for this section, if only because I and III are more about stillness and held notes, so rhythmic contrast would be good.

Enough thinking. Time to deal with notes!

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