Author Topic: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?  (Read 678 times)

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sandalwood

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January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:55:02 PM »
Under one of his instructional vids on utube, a grateful commenter asks Prof. Belkin if he had written an opera. He replies: "No, it's too expensive and difficult to get played".

How much do you think such practical considerations weigh in on your decisions regarding what to write?


mjf1947

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2020, 01:58:57 PM »
For me .... it's who is skillful and available to perform the work.

I recruit from my orchestral colleagues.

Mark


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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 03:52:35 PM »
for the last 10-15 years or so, under Belkin's influence, I have been mostly writing for people specifically rather than just writing what comes into my head.
I occasionally write something "for myself"... but have been lucky to get them performed nonetheless (the violin concerto, the piano variations, etc...)

My 1st and 2nd symphonies have been "for me" and I don't foresee them getting performed any time soon, but my 3rd and 4th symphonies were commissions and were performed by the ensembles who paid for them.

As things go now, I am barely having time to write for the commissions I have gotten. I'm a very slow worker, a bit too fastidious and perfectionist. I have 3 commissions either in the works or active at this point, so it's all music that will get performed.

But I'd love to take some "me time" and write some things just for myself, like a 5th symphony, or a piano sonata. Time constraints in place, I won't be able to get to anything remotely like that for at least 2 years.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

gogreen

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 05:55:09 PM »
Interesting question. I always write for specific groups at specific playing abilities. I no longer compose a work just because I thought of it. Some years ago, I tried that with a concert band piece that included an anvil sound--the piece is published, but it's seen poor sales because darn near no group at the performance level of the music would have a spare anvil on hand! In retrospect, that was just dumb on my part.

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2020, 07:37:55 PM »
I consider myself a retired computer techie who composes rather than a musician.  I have neither a musical reputation nor a financial situation depending on the performance of my music so I don't really have to have to keep practical considerations in mind when I compose.  But those considerations influence my writing anyway.   I tend write things that have a chance of being performed - generally short works for small ensembles. 

flint

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 06:03:29 PM »
Practical considerations usually win out, but some things I write just because I want to. As my circle of colleagues grows and reputation of my works increase, what is considered "practical" is slowly changing to be a bit more interesting.
"Music is like wine; the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

tbmartin

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2020, 11:45:57 AM »
My sax quartets/quintets are typically written for my own group so I get the satisfaction of hearing them played. I've only really done 1 larger work, and it was written for the local HS band, and it did get "performed." Scare quotes because I don't think it was really that good of a performance, but hey, I suppose it counts.
Terence Martin

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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2020, 09:47:52 AM »
Once upon a time, practical considerations were important to me.

When I was with the Classic Stage Company in New York I wrote incidental music and/or songs for Miss Julie, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, The Servant, Woyzeck, Edward III, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and a staging of Moby Dick. Very specific assignments.

Later, I wrote jazz tunes for my band and a jazz orchestra assembled from the now defunct All About Jazz forum. Those were equally specific, for the instrumentation available.

I've written piano music for the silent movies that I accompany from time to time.

However, lately I've been studying orchestration and writing some new things as well as arranging some old pieces. Thoroughly impractical, as there's not much chance for any of them to be performed.

Cheers,
Jer
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mjf1947

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2020, 10:14:55 AM »

sandalwood

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2020, 10:40:18 AM »
Mark, now that you've pointed to the web page with Jer's recordings, I should add my own opinion that there's some very rewarding music listening there :)

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2020, 11:25:01 AM »
Mark, Reha,
 
You guys are too kind.
 
I keep meaning to replace those cuts. I cringe when I hear them, for all the awkward passages and mistakes. They're a result of the pressure of recording, which lacks the relaxation of live playing.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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EdSharpe

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Re: January, 2020: How do you decide on what to write?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2020, 09:10:23 PM »
Currently I write in isolation, for my own reasons, and with little to no chance of performance, so I write  what ever my muse inspires me to do.  Little to no regard for  practicality in terms of instrumentation or length.  I do tend to write for smaller chamber size ensembles, but the instrumentation can vary quite wildly.  Simply put I write what I hear in my head; be it a one minute piano piece or a 60 minute prelude for symphonic band.

EWS