I’m sitting here working out the recap of the F minor in my head. I’m not thinking about the viola at all.
But I have a lovely little start to the finish of the F minor going through my brain. The problem is that I’m going to get home and make a beeline for the piano to get it out and write it all down. No time for viola. A shorter commute would help so much, but I really did not expect to start composing. That really can eat my life, and the thing is I want it to. I don’t know how to fit the viola in without resenting it.
I’m pleased and still a bit gobsmacked. It’s a weird take on the main theme — every gimmick is there, but it’s completely different. Interesting. I have the shape of it worked out, but there will have to be a decent amount of Rossini-like offputting that stretches it out for a bit.
And I still need a left hand for it, but … I think I may have fine in sight in about 60-some measures of something that doesn’t stink. I’m still in shock. I knew I “couldn’t write music” for 44+ years of my life until about July of last year or so. I was 5’8″, 125lbs, and couldn’t write music. How incredibly strange this has been — and will likely continue to be.
I’m hitting strings all over the place, and it’s too bright. I want the old shitty bridge and wonky soundpost back.
Either that or I want a wood fireplace and one less viola.
Don’t surprise people in the coda. It’s ghetto. Just before is fine, but if you use a gimmick in the coda, put it earlier as well, even just once. People like being clever for noticing things.
Did I say essays? More like mystery novels.
I need to do a little bit on the viola today, but right now, the piano is sucking up my brain. I’m smelling blood at the end of the Fm thing, and I’m going for it.
Then say it, then say what you just said.
That’s how I remember someone characterizing how one writes an essay. Establish your topic in a thesis sentence, then expand on the ideas contained in it. Then, recap.
It seems to work for music as well. Establish a theme, one with a few “tricks” in it that can be expanded upon. Then, go through each “trick” one at a time, expanding on it. Then, finish up with a new way of looking at the thesis sentence. End with a coda.
It’s amazing how like writing words writing music appears to be. And best of all, I can do it by myself. With others also, if I decide someday that I don’t prefer the company of my instruments to the company of my species. But until that strange day arrives, I can do this by myself. If I choose to interact with people musically, I can do it by releasing my sheet music and letting others interpret it.
This is Heaven.
BTW, I’m not done with this Fm thing … just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and pleased at what’s been turned out so far.
… we are just not getting past Melody V this week.
I also need some exercises to do that will help my intonation when I have to do that half-step scootch back to an Eb or Bb. This is just not something I can get without some exercises.
1) Stop going flat on the next string down immediately after you scootch back to hit a Bb or an Eb.
2) Keep the bow moving gracefully and fully; it’s scratching where you hesitate.
3) Draw the bow down with good arm weight and use the whole thing; it will stop shaking.
4) You’re hitting the C string. *sigh* This one will keep popping up until you can get your fingerboard replaned.
I’ve also got a good, solid left hand for the Fm thing, so it’s done both hands, up to a certain point. Now, it’s time for a C theme (I think, anyway) followed by a pretty, pleasant, nostalgic return to the main theme in Ab, then the coda which — of course — I already have done up. I know where I want to get, I just haven’t gotten there yet.
I still remember when I was a little kid, practicing piano. (Started young, stopped when I began college.) I didn’t really know what “practice” was, and I wasn’t told. Like most people, I thought it meant doing something over and over and over and over and over and over … and it would just somehow “get better” by magic. Sometimes, it did. Sometimes it didn’t, and when it didn’t, it was obdurate failure. Like with my trills. Just doing it over and over a million times didn’t work. I still have horrible trills. I got good by practicing that way, but I didn’t get great, nor was I going to with that approach. Other obstacles prevented further forward movement as well, mostly the fact that while piano was like paint-by-numbers, mathematics and science were innovative, welcoming of novel approaches, and incredibly creative and joyful … something you couldn’t get most musicians to understand if you hit them on the head with it.
Now, as an adult learner, I seem to have stumbled on a very simple lesson. Practicing is problem-solving. The single most useful thing I’ve done is to make a spreadsheet of a given piece with three columns: Measure Number, Problem, Solution. Then, I just go through a piece bit by bit and crush each problem out.
I also have learned of the wonders of mental practice, something that I don’t recall have been introduced to as a kid, but that may have been beyond me until adulthood. It doesn’t strike me as the sort of thing that would really gel for a little kid easily, not without a lot of mentoring. Go through the piece in your head, only without the instrument. If the piece is 6 minutes and 2 seconds long, your mental practice session should take 6 minutes and 2 seconds. Everything happens except the muscle movement. It’s easy to do before you drop off to sleep, and relaxing, and it makes an enormous amount of difference.
I wish I’d known these two things earlier. I might have a trill today. I hope to have a good one on the viola, at least.
Between trying to relax and keeping what I call “marshmallow fingers” — using the pads of the finger more than the tips — something seems to have fallen into place regarding putting down 2-3 simultaneously with a half step between 1 and 2. I don’t know whether or not it will persist tonight when I get more practice in, but now that I know what it feels like, I think I’ll be able to hold onto it and keep doing it. The rest of Melody V is still somewhat crappy, and I still have a lot of work to do on it this weekend before it gets into anything approaching a shape I’d be pleased to show my teacher: scratchy bowing on one particular string change is driving me nuts, as well as having things go sharp or flat more unpredictably. However, that one bit of territory at least is something that I’ve fought for and can now claim as mine. I figure as long as I keep inching forward and owning the ground beneath me, things can only get better.
2) PAY ATTENTION.
3) Marshmallow fingers.
4) Calibrate intonation by 1. (This one is still a bit shaky … )
I’d also like to go back and make sure that the previous pieces haven’t unraveled on me. After what happened when the
Garotte Gavotte did that, I’m a bit wary.
Even though I forgot to do the shifting exercises and the Gm scale. But it was nice to just focus on the exercises for their own sake. I’ll work on keeping that mindset.
Have also begun piffling around with a left hand for the recycled 16th note runs that have surfaced in the Fm thing. I need to just hum it to myself and mull it while driving and walking and figure out what’s needed. Part of the problem is that I don’t start thinking about it until I sit down at the piano, and these sorts of things only work out well when you’ve been chewing on them for a while. I don’t think about words only when I’m in front of a laptop, so I need to think about sounds away from that keyboard as well.