… I have to make sure that I’m not making it interesting enough that it should go later in the song.
Aside: classical music lovers often get so bent out of shape when people call pieces of music “songs.” Someone will hear Mozart’s overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” and go, “Ooooh, I love that song!” and somewhere else some classical buff’s forehead veins will start popping out. I have to admit, it tweaks me too, but not that much. Songs are sung. Music that’s just music is a “piece.”
Anyway, since this is all operatic arias, and many of them have the structure of a standalone pop song, I can call them songs. Songs! Songs songs songs! I’m arranging the prettiest song by Haendel! Nyah!
I should go through my labels and relabel my posts so that I can tell what pieces/songs each post has to do with, instead of just putting them all under “arrangement” or “composition.” Arrangement of what? *click* Oh, that’s a post about “Mormorio.”
Back to the topic at hand:
In the past, I’ve noticed that I tend to write the second part of something first. A lot of times in music, motifs and riffs are repeated. You do something, then futz around, and when you come back to the original something, it’s a bit fancier. That’s the whole point of a da capo aria, after all — and the general concept pops up all over music. All over every creative arena, really. And I noticed over time that I tend to write the fancied-up theme first, then have to backtrack and find out where I got there from. I think this works well, since it’s easier to get someplace if you know what the destination is. This is probably what screwed up that C#m thing that’s gone into cold storage. I started at the beginning and just piffled around aimlessly. I never had a clear idea of where to head.
However, if I know where I’m headed, and I backtrack and get an idea of where I want to start from, then it’s much easier to work. I know the shape of the hole I’m trying to fill. Thankfully, this is often the way I work normally … and I need to keep that in mind as I work on “Lagrimar,” that what I come up with as a little bit of ornament might work better nearer the end if it seems too floofy where I put it.
I also need to just listen to the thing in the background and enjoy it, and see what silent bits and pieces well up in my head as I’m listening. What are the parts of the orchestra accomp that catch my ear most when I listen to it? What parts do I expect to hear something and don’t? Those are probably indications that I need to put something in aside from just a dotted quarter in the relevant chord.
I also had to write out all the chords for the key as well, all the chords from bottom to top in Ebm, and then line them up next to the chords starting at GbM. What’s the third in each, what’s the dominant in each, that sort of thing. It was interesting last night. I was still a little bleary on what certain chords were. For the most part, I like to know where I am but will go by ear if I have to, just blanking on the chord but thinking, “Whatever, I like a Bnat in there, moving on … ” However, for this one, where the melody lines are echoed from minor to relative major so often, it’s really worth it to know what chord you’re in, because knowing that plus what’s the corresponding chord for the other key, will keep you from reinventing the wheel a lot of times. A Roman numeral progression in the minor will often turn out to be the same progression in the major, just with those corresponding chords.
I’ve also gotten better at listening to the melody and thinking what notes would work nicely with the accomp, so I’m happy with that.