pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)
Pteromys ([personal profile] pteromys) wrote2011-04-04 02:30 am
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Prismatic: Sheet Music and Inspiration

When the spring rains pause and the clouds part to show you a tiny patch of bright blue sky... do you ever feel a sudden wish to float away on the wind?

Sheet music now exists for Prismatic. Sometime in the next few months I hope to upload a better recording and maybe tweak a handful of notes in the sheet music as I notice the opportunities. Meanwhile, I'd like to tell you the story of this piece's development.

I began "Prismatic" some unknown time in late spring 2010 after a conversation about pieces that "went 'brrum'".

In June 2010 I had the basic theme and some inroads into the middle, and by the end of September I had a playable draft. I thought I was done—but a week later my little tweaks were building into a storm of revisions, under which the middle third or so dissolved almost completely and only re-crystallized in January.

I struggled with the key changes. Instinct and habit were steering me toward sonata-allegro form with a very predictable up-by-a-fifth key change, but the theme's mood and momentum defied that. Something about the sound reminded me of swift currents of water, and that sort of imagery just about demands key changes that fly by in a blur of colors.

The water imagery was evident early on, suggesting the title "Currents". In August, when the imagery of water with a blur of colors dared to express itself in one poetic-sounding word, I changed the title to "Prismatic".

The ending took almost as long to write as the rest of the piece. When the first phrase of the coda fell out of my fingers sometime around the end of July, I spent a rainy evening playing just that phrase over and over again. It stirred up childhood memories that have since lost most of their details and blurred into a generic summer: quiet mornings watching reflected sunlight crawl across the ceiling, breezy afternoons at the piano with the window open, overcast days whose beauty I didn't appreciate at the time, dark evenings in the community gardens chasing fireflies... so of course I wanted to include it. The rest of the coda wrote itself, but then it took me until January 22 to discover a good way to introduce the coda while ending the main theme with a bang. After that I made only a few tweaks and then began preparing to make the first recording.

Actually, a funny thing happened about an hour after I posted the recording, but let me tell you about it some other day.

Now where do I go from here? Well, I've mentioned my intentions before:

I have two new projects getting started—watch for the names "City of Light" and "Currents"—and I intend to edit the assignments I turned in for my classes into a post-worthy state soon.
"Currents" referred to what is now "Prismatic"—which leaves "City of Light", a slowly growing monstrosity begun in October 2008. The experience I got from "Prismatic" is going to help... but it still might take me a couple of years.

Happy spring, everyone!

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