Author Topic: Sketching  (Read 5756 times)

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Ron

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2012, 10:15:30 AM »
Thank you. I hope I am not being too forward but is there any chance you could post the score so that I can compare it with the sketch that you posted.

If you don't mind, I feel uncomfortable about posting something that is in progress. I will post the entire thing when I am finished.  Look at the different ways people think in the examples you have hare. Michel's method would not work for me at all--and I think that mine might not work very well for him. You have to find what works for you.

A bit off topic: creation is a very personal thing and, at the root of it, is the individual. You need to know yourself before you can write what communicates what you need to get out there. Until that point you are doing preparatory exercises--not that "preparatory exercises" can't be great music. Look at how much richer Beethoven's 9th symphony is than his 5th, or Shostakovich's 5th symphony is richer than his first four symphonies.
Ron
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RichardMc

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2012, 11:07:16 AM »
I'm sorry. I forgot you had said it was a work in process. Thanks.

finger

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 02:05:32 PM »
I'm a little late to this thread--still catching up after my travels. This sketch thread is interesting.

Sometimes I think I over-sketch. I can fill literally hundreds of pages of permutations and variations for a few minutes of music.

I'm curious about a comment Ron made:

You need to know yourself before you can write what communicates what you need to get out there. Until that point you are doing preparatory exercises--not that "preparatory exercises" can't be great music. Look at how much richer Beethoven's 9th symphony is than his 5th, or Shostakovich's 5th symphony is richer than his first four symphonies.



I know you used quotes but you are still somewhat equating earlier compositions as preparatory exercises for later comps.

Some later pieces of some composers may indeed impress a listener as richer, or more profound, or more moving. And every composition in a composer's career represents experience that influences the next piece in some way.

But each piece must stand on its own as most of those early masterpieces do. I don't view them as merely stepping stones to some final achievement. Beethoven would have written a tenth symphony if he had time.

And I'm sure most of us know about B's 9th; that he did many sketches for it as he did all his works. For a long time he assumed a melody he wrote would be the main theme of the finale. He scrapped this idea but changed the key and used it as the main theme for his A minor quartet.

Larrance

RichardMc

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2012, 05:26:06 AM »
I am trying an experiment. I am sketching away from an instrument to force myself to think about what I am doing and construct something rather than just play something. I find it very difficult because I do not know what sorts of things to keep in my mind when constructing a passage. Of course when I take the sketch to the instrument or the computer I may have to change things around. Whether it becomes a working method or is just an exercise remains to be seen.

FossMaNo1

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 08:38:46 AM »
I realize this topic hasn't been addressed in some time, but sketching is something I dearly love. I used to be an idiot and try to compose for full orchestra from scratch--it took me quite some time to admit the absurdity of that notion. Lately, I predominantly use a grand staff or multiple grand staves to sketch. I might start with a simple melody and assign a chord structure to it (see attachment). From there I will go into my grand staff and start doodling, adding other staves as counterpoint or other musical ideas manifest (I will often even label instrumentation I had in mind). The second attachment I've included is my sketch of what the symphonic band might look like.

(Note: This is a piece inspired by the lyrics to my son's high school's "school song." I didn't get anywhere with it, but it was a great exercise for me! Additionally, the mp3 file is incomplete, as it only goes through about 2/3 of the sketch...)

[attachment older than 180 days]
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 08:42:58 AM by FossMaNo1 »
C. Foster Payne
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gogreen

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2013, 02:06:37 PM »
My sketching is usually briefer than Ron's or Michel's. I have manuscript paper in my desk, in my car, and in my nightstand, and I have a sketch file on the computer (a .mus Finale file). When I conjure up an idea, I usually notate it this way as a single-line melody with perhaps a few notes on the instrument(s) I hear playing, the harmony, or the overall context and instrumentation. I often let these sketches "brew" for weeks or months. When I review them, usually more about the work begins to take shape. Then I begin entering music in Finale. I usually don't know where I'm going with a piece until this stage, although I do have many stops and starts. Sometimes, I connect sketches I've written weeks, months, or years apart.

Art

altasilvapuer

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2013, 08:50:27 PM »
Though I haven't yet managed to contribute to it, I am extremely glad this thread was resurrected recently.  Somehow I completely missed it when it was active, so this second chance is most welcome!

I've been working on my sketching, lately, so I'm looking forward to making some time this week to contribute to this discussion when I'm a little better-rested.  And on a related note: Given how much the discussion applies to everyone on the boards, here, perhaps it might be a decent attempt for October's discussion of the month?

For now, though: Bed, before I grow so tired that I forget in which direction it lies.

-Matthew
R: "How much time do you think it takes to write a book?"
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[Patrick Rothfuss and his son, Oot, on the nature of writing.]

BillChandler

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2013, 11:13:07 PM »
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 11:50:05 AM by M.Wiktor »

gogreen

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2013, 05:47:54 AM »
To sketch, I invoke two important skills. First, I temporarily turn off the internal editor. Everything comes out on paper (or in Finale). No editing. Second, I understand there may be stops and starts, wrong turns, and other course corrections, so I give myself permission to make missteps--in this phase, and throughout the composing process. If you're trying to get from here to there, but you are fighting the process of doing so, then you will either never get there, or the journey will take far too much time than it needs to take.

Art

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2013, 06:19:15 AM »
I used to be an idiot and try to compose for full orchestra from scratch--it took me quite some time to admit the absurdity of that notion.

I am still this idiot, and don't have any plans to move past it any time soon. :)

To sketch, I invoke two important skills. First, I temporarily turn off the internal editor. Everything comes out on paper (or in Finale). No editing. Second, I understand there may be stops and starts, wrong turns, and other course corrections, so I give myself permission to make missteps--in this phase, and throughout the composing process. If you're trying to get from here to there, but you are fighting the process of doing so, then you will either never get there, or the journey will take far too much time than it needs to take.

Essential wisdom! As I like to put it, the secret to creating is turning off your brain while you write, and turning it back on when it's time to edit. I like to throw down the essential milestones, and worry about the transitions later. If I know I want about 30 seconds of material to get from point A to point B, then I just throw down some random idea, and set it aside until later. Eventually I know I'll work it out, and I may even get inspired by the random placeholder.

altasilvapuer

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2013, 06:58:44 PM »
Sketching is something that often gives me trouble and is the root cause of a lot of my more "stream-of-consciousness" works.  When I first begin a work, I'm constantly striking out whole sections and/or inserting whole other sections into gaps in the existing framework - sometimes this is by hand, but more often in a Finale file that can be easily expanded, spliced, etc.  Once a piece begins to "take root," as it were, and develop into more than the rough beginnings of a sketch, however, things become increasingly one-to-one with the eventual product.  Many of my works have unfolded for me much as they would for a listener, which makes intellectual guidance of a piece difficult, at best.

I've been trying to work on my sketching somewhat, lately, partly as a result of this thread and partly out of a desire to get back to writing new things, rather than polishing, arranging, and orchestration previous works.  Usually, I work in a 3-stave format, or occasionally 4-5 for more complex areas: a treble, bass, and octave-transposing bass staff are usually my most common trio.  By nailing a workable range for the breadth of the string section, it gives me room to write (most of the time).  I've also been sketching more and more away from the computer, which has had some interesting effects.

My ear-training is not as strong as I'd like, sadly, so if I'm also composing away from the piano, what is written can be difficult to match to what was heard at the time; I'm getting a little better, but it's a work-in-progress, as always.  The one thing I really like about sketching away from the computer is that it makes me more conscious of what I'm writing and makes it harder for me to fall into the trap of repeating things needlessly because the copy button is no longer readily available and tempting.  ;)

-Matthew
R: "How much time do you think it takes to write a book?"
O: "Oh, you know: Not long . . . but long."
[Patrick Rothfuss and his son, Oot, on the nature of writing.]

perpetuo studens

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Re: Sketching
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2013, 09:04:22 PM »
Great discussion. Lots of useful approaches and ideas.

I've experimented with sketching a little, and the result had always been better music. I had hoped that working out basic structural, melodic and harmonic ideas might help me move a little faster towards a finished piece, but instead it's just exposed how much more work I have to do on developing my craft (a lot :-)).

I am always starting one of two ways: either I have some musical idea, melodic more often than not, and decide what form I want to use to explore it, or I have in interest, often for educational reasons, in writing a piece with a particular form, and then I poke around my head until I find some idea that I think will work for that form.

Where I have experimented with sketching it's been an attempt to work out the basic melodic and harmonic structures before looking more closely at voice leading, contrapuntal issues etc.

Typically if I'm working out something expository or episodic I'll focus on melody over block harmonies. When I'm working out how to get from one part of a piece to another I tend to sketch harmonic structures and add melody later.

The hardest part is discipling myself to make sketches and not just dive in and always try to write something I'd enjoy hearing by the end of the day.

I really like what's been said about turning off your internal editor, but I'm not terribly good at that either :-)

More craft to develop...

Jamie
The perceived object...is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element's existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.

That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and its shape, and be no further ahead than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces...

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