I have one more arrangement of “Se fiera belva ha cinto” to go, then I start poking around for another aria from “Rodelinda” with a nice intro. I could mull over which one I’d like to use, but I really have no idea which one’s going to spark something in my head. I’ve said that I like “Sospetti, affetti, e timori,” and I do. It might be that — but it might be another Senesino tune. I do like the ones that sit in that area of the voice best. Then, I want to move onto a bunch of ragtime arrangements of full arias from “Giulio Cesare,” but that may be competing with a few other things rattling around up there.

So for now, one more take on “Se fiera,” and then I’m 75% done and down to only one more aria intro.

More patience

I sometimes get annoyed at myself for being at work and wanting to get home to the piano, and then getting home and feeling utterly enervated. Then, I remind myself that I used to have to mark the start and end dates on my pieces, and now I don’t bother because they’re done so much more quickly. Clearly, I’m getting better at this. Not that my early stuff was bad, but it took me a lot longer. I’ve got something else for “Se fiera” rattling around upstairs, so there is a chance that I will have whipped through three complete arrangements of this aria intro in what feels like sixteen seconds.

Between pieces

I still need to record and upload a demo for the impromptu-version of the intro for “Se fiera belva ha cinto,” but it’s done. So I’m between pieces at the moment and not in the mood to start anything new. Meh.

Very strange

I’ve said this before, about my concept of music as a more abstract thing independent of any particular quality of sound, and that that’s why I seem to like pianos the best. Well, I like to listen to anything played well, but for me as a musician, I want to play a piano. The fact that you can make gobs of noises at once, and that they are somewhat characterless, means that you can build very large structures that seem to live on the Perfect Plane of music as opposed to being yoked to one particular means of operating one specific device. I just approach music that way — as a writer rather than a calligrapher. Calligraphers care about what kind of pen they use and will admire something completely inane if it’s well-executed. One ordinary little word, or even one letter, can be beautiful if done well by a calligrapher. A writer just wants something that works with as little fuss as possible, and that is as transparent as possible as an obstacle between them and the idea they want to get out there. It’s the beauty in the mind and not the eye that a writer pursues.

(BTW, I think this little gem explains Bach’s enduring fame.)

That’s how I see the piano. Like this. It’s magnificent. When I want to get an idea down, it stays the fuck out of my way, and the fact that it only took me eight years to learn to manipulate it well enough to do so is why.

But I still feel like some part of me should care about some other way of making music. Viola is gorgeous, hands-down the best single-note instrument in the orchestra, but ergonomically vicious and … well, it still only makes one noise at a time. I’m sorry, but if I hear an E7 chord in my head, I want to hear it coming out of my instrument. It was a real surprise to me to discover how bone-deep that need runs to make all the notes I hear in my head, and how dissatisfying it was to hear a chord behind the melody and not make it. It’s so frustrating to play something in CM, move through a G#, and not be able to bang out the whole chord.

The organ was just too fucking big. Owning something that I could only barely manage to find someone willing to move just creeped me out.

I feel like I’m hunting for some other way to be a musician, and I’m not sure why. Creeping dissatisfaction is the bane of any creative person’s existence, I suppose.

A wee public service announcement for people who accompany singers (mostly violinists and fiddlers)

It’s flat-out idiotic of you to accuse singers of being poor musicians for not being able to sing in any key that’s convenient for you, since you’re too poor a musician to be able to change key comfortably on your instrument. You are supposed to be able to play in any key. Singers can’t perform in any key. For someone whose voice sits in the B-C-D area, singing in G will damage them. You can buy new strings or a whole new instrument. They can’t.

In nearly all cases of sung music, the singer sets the key for their convenience and comfort, and if you don’t like it, tough. Either stop accompanying singers, buy another fiddle and tune it a half-step flat, or learn how to play the damned thing.

Sit it out, or suck it up.

I’m not even a singer and this irritates me. Maybe it’s just another instance of violinists getting on my nerves because they always assume that no one else on stage matters. Maybe as a pianist I’m like the cat who walks by itself, and all key signatures are alike to me. But when a singer is on stage, they drive the bus, people.