pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)
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.

It begins about a year ago... )


Feb. 6th, 2011 01:16 am
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

Ah, modesty among artists. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'd be prying if I asked to see more of their work—and so I hesitate, or I swallow my curiosity and let it itch.

And as an artist myself, I've certainly been on the other side of it and could guess at the causes:

  • I'm reluctant to display the work that doesn't meet my own standards.
  • I'm hesitant to expose in full the emotions that fueled a work.
  • I'm afraid of coming across as a show-off/attention-seeker. (Then again, what musician isn't one?)
  • From my perspective, people just don't seem to ask all that often.

I'm not sure how long I've been aware of it—probably as long as I've had artist friends, which is probably as long as I've had friends. What got me thinking harder about it was a moment of uncertainty this summer—in which it seemed inevitable that I'd be perceived as at least one of a show-off and a recalcitrant artist, if not both.

Half a year later I saw this post, in which a writer notices she's suffering from Impostor Syndrome and resolves to trust her readers' judgement of her work. Perhaps I'm not dealing with Impostor Syndrome with regard to my musical work, but I'm still dealing with uncertainty about whether I made the right choice in July. I do think I would gain something from remembering more often that I can trust you all when you tell me a piece is worthy of an audience.

Stepping back a little, that I have to deal with this at all is a reminder that there are some of you out there who actually like my work. You have no idea how happy and fulfilled that makes me!

...then again, at least half of you seem to be artists and the other half of you can probably extrapolate—so on second thought, you all probably know exactly how I feel. :)

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)
Performed on piano by Andrew Geng (Length 00:03:15)
Copyright © 2011 by Andrew Geng
Creative Commons License Some rights reserved.

It feels great to finish another piece at last! I thought I'd try something a little different this time and produce the audio files by hand.

Some small number of you may know this piece by its initial working title, "Brrum".

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

Hey, artists! Has anybody ever told you to "learn the rules before you break them"?

I think this is extremely poisonous advice.

As a young artist, it hurts to hear that your work has no value until you spend years learning the right way to do it. The implication that you should refrain from even trying until then is nothing but discouragement.

I've been there, heard that advice, and stubbornly blown it off. I'm pretty happy with the result.

How I finally learned the rules... )

If I may take a moment to preach to younger artists, I'll say this: go ahead and be adventurous. The rules are really helpful, but if you're serious, you'll inevitably learn them sometime, somehow. Until then, experimenting isn't going to do you harm and may even teach you something. (Don't worry about wasting ideas while you experiment; you'll get plenty of ideas in your life, and you can always come back to something you really like.)

EDIT 2010-07-23 00:00 - Content reordered for better flow.


Jan. 14th, 2010 04:52 pm
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

When I begin a new composition, I'm sitting on an unsteady mixture of emotions. The first exhilarating rush of inspiration is followed by heavy questions: Should I focus on works in progress before turning to this new idea? Will it one day see an audience? Can it develop its own identity amidst the patterns that previous works have already etched into my thinking?

When I declare a composition finished, I'm parting with the freedom to make large, sweeping changes. As I begin to direct my efforts away from a piece, I notice myself continuing to write passages that seem to belong with it. Though I have once used such passages to return to a piece and compose another take on its theme, they usually remain only passages, with no composition to accept them.

As my compositions develop, these passages sometimes emerge from memory, ghosts coming to life to mix their voices with younger sounds. Even in my wariness of their direct influence, I can still appreciate what else they represent. They are the past's mark on me and the reminder that every composition teaches me something. Hearing them prompts me to reflect on the past; and when I do so, I finally begin to understand what I have learned.

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

Piano sheet music is online, at a part of Melon Island that I've managed to raise from the dead. Orchestral sheet music will take me a bit longer to finish. That (perhaps with the exception of the first violin part) won't be posted, but I'll be happy to send it to whoever asks.

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

The audio is done at last! Sheet music (orchestral score, individual parts, and a slighly-updated piano solo) will take a few more days; I need to clean up the notation in Lilypond.

Since Melon Island appears to have vanished, the files are posted on my MIT space for now. I recommend the copy in Ogg Vorbis format, but if your computer can't play those, I did make MP3 files.

Stella Nova
Orchestral audio (Length 00:07:55)
Copyright © 2008 by Andrew Geng
Creative Commons License Some rights reserved.

The piece is named after the work of two astronomers (Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler). Say, today is a good day for looking at the sky, isn't it?

  • Edit A (2008-08-01 7 AM): Is the audio out of tune? It and the piano don't seem to agree, but I'm not too confident about the piano being in tune either.
  • Edit B (2008-08-01 5 PM): I just remembered that the oboe in this soundfont is always flat on 3rd-line B-flat (or possibly sharp on everything above it). It sticks out a little around 00:04:20 (and I'm not sure where else).
  • Edit C (2008-08-02 9 PM): Links have been moved to my Melon Island space.
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (ship)

The sheet music for the piano solo version of "Stella Nova" is now finished. You can download it here:

I apologize for the lack of a matching audio file. There will be one available for the orchestral version when it's done.

Some Background Ranting )


Dec. 27th, 2005 05:15 pm
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (Default)

I began working on this piece sometime in the spring of 2005. By the end of the summer, I had developed it enough to write a short piano arrangement and an mp3. Like "Colors of Spring", and quite a few other pieces at their births, there were some (hastily thrown together) words to this one. Sadly, now that I've changed the music, the words and melody don't fit all the way through anymore.

I believe the music is now at a point where further changes, if any, are likely to be small. I do have plans to use this in a larger work, so I'm not going to link it from my website yet. However, as my Xanga readership is small and probably will not grow to a huge number before I'm able to carry out my plans, I've posted a link to the mp3 below for those who wish to listen to it.

Now, as I have neither the money nor the lawyers to pursue a contract with the big record labels, the only way anybody outside of my neighborhood will ever learn about my music is over the Internet, through file and link sharing. Therefore, I have chosen to release this piece under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

MP3 Format (307.1 k), Length 00:02:37
Music completed on December 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 by Pteromys Fortissimus (pseudonym)
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

February 2012



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