Saturday, September 25, 2010

V.S. Time Signature

Here are a couple of sketches in the time signature I'm thinking of using, having beats in two groups of three followed by a group of four. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. To get Finale to automatically beam the notes in a way that shows that grouping I have to use a compound time signature of 3/8+3/8+1/2. To avoid making things look needlessly complicated I'll probably hide that numeric time signature and let the beamed notes (and dotted and undotted quarters) speak for themselves.

I like using the rhythms that can spring from unusual time signatures. Trying to get something that works is almost game like, as there's that feeling of things falling into place when you get it right. I've used this beat grouping before and like it a lot, both in the third movement of Timepiece, and before that in a solo piano piece called Soaring. 
So that's the starting point. Having set the basic parameters as laid out in these posts, the next step is to write 16 measures or so that are interesting and solid enough they can be extended into a whole piece. While I think about structural stuff at this point, once I get going it's written note by note by, measure by measure, straight until the end. I recently fired up an old computer to find a piece I'd forgotten I'd written and found it, along with numerous discards that never took off. The hardest thing is when you work on something for hours and come to realize you need to toss it and use that experience to do something much better.

(Should add that the key signature went to F minor from F major due to those extra flats just coming naturally to my fingers when doodling around with this time signature and thinking about what melody to give the flute that would show off that quality of tone Susan can generate in the middle to low range.)

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