Beginning a new project, Day 1

Yes, I know, I haven’t put anything on this blog since April. There are a couple of reasons for that: between April and June I was doing a lot of blogging over on the Lacuna blog, and between June and now I’ve been my usual swamped self at GHP.

Now, however, I think I’m going to make up for it.

Suzan-Lori Parks is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright whose work I don’t often understand and is therefore the kind of playwright whose work I’d like to work on. I love a challenge. So does she: last year she decided to write a play every day for 365 days.

Understand that for Parks, a “play” may be a small snippet of text that then a group like Lacuna might gnaw over before staging it, and by “staging” we mean “doing something in front of an audience.” So it’s not as if she was cranking out one acts every 24 hours. Still, the challenge is viable.

As I mulled over my life this summer, I realized that I needed a challenge for me. Yes, Lacuna could stand in for that challenge, but I needed something more personal that wouldn’t necessarily involve real estate and other people’s schedules. So my challenge to myself is to create something every day for 365 days and to post it on this blog.

I may write, either essays or poems. I’m not a fiction writer, although who knows what we will discover as I move through the year. I intend to work on my composition, and a lot of that is going to be tightening up my basics, which are lacking, to say the least. I may analyze other people’s stuff, although my purpose in that would be to discover something about the creative process.

I may post fragments or pieces of work in progress. This is a scary thing to do, because it means I’ll be putting material out there that I know is not finished. One does not do that to an audience, but this whole thing is an experiment in creativity.

Will I cheat? Probably. I may try to claim Masterworks Chorale rehearsals as “creating.” Lacuna will probably also count. Will you read posts about not being able to create? I can guarantee it. Will I be sick or out of town or once again up to my ass in alligators at GHP, and will I write whiny apologies instead of actually doing something real? What do you think?

And so we begin, and you will have guessed by now that this is today’s effort.

4 thoughts on “Beginning a new project, Day 1

  1. Seriously tho, best of luck. I am looking forward to being on the “consumer” end of your effort. May your muse shine gently and frequently upon you.

  2. Dale, Good luck with your project. I’m wondering, after your Berio experience, why you are not a raging avant-gardist? Interestingly enough, I’ve always found Sinfonia a wonderful model for generating performance pieces; perhaps a Lacuna-listen party is in order? Is it time for some inter-disciplinary multi-tracking of composition, performance, (dance), and what-have-you?

    If you score anything with sax, guitar or electronics, let me know. Also, I have jazz theory and composition books if you want to head that way. Another little book which was ear opening and enjoyable was Ernst Krenek’s little book on atonal polyphony–it leads you through tone row projects of inscreasing complexity slowly and gently. George Crumb scores are always fun to look at, too. I also have Maxwell-Davies score for 8 songs…Do you have a book on principles of traditional composition where you drill by ordering those roman numerals for all they’re worth? Let me know.

    And I offer this in all seriousness: What about composing for video games? Serious composers are doing full orchestral scores. I’m thinking in particular of the Japanese composer who does the Final Fantasy series.

  3. Ironically, the iPod is currently playing the Sinfonia.

    I am a traditionally tonal kind of musician, believing that all serial music ought to come with a warning label, so I doubt I’ll be pursuing that path. What you’ll be seeing on this site is snippets of melody, harmonic sequences (without the Roman numerals), reports, musings, rants about what’s gone wrong, etc.

    There are two or three projects I’ll be working on in the coming year. The first, of course, is William Blake. The second is a symphony. Yes, I know… And the third is a musical version of Mike Funt’s play, A Day in the Moonlight. Of course, for this last, he has to work with me a bit.

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