Managed to tie back to a little fanfare that I put in front of the thing, just for fun because I’d never done it before. But without tying it into the main piece, it was a bit like putting a locomotive in front of an 18-wheeler trailer. Yes, you stick a locomotive in front of things usually in order to pull them along … but not like that. By tying it into the body of the piece and building slowly up to it, I’ve made it more a puzzle for the listener to notice when it reappears — “Hey, I heard that at the beginning! That’s why that was there!” And of course I can nod sagely and say that that’s what I planned all along, aren’t I just the cleverest person in the world since Ben Franklin died? 🙂
Foreshadowing is a lot more mysterious to the listener than to the composer. The listener may have to hear things in a certain order and at a certain pace, but the composer can write it in any order or at any pace they wish. Agatha Christie started out knowing whodunit, or could figure it out however and whenever she wished, and then go back and edit things in order to make her decision consistent after the fact.
You know, this is fun.
And I still laugh at the idea that composers write things “by feel.” I don’t think a lot of people realize how much planning and conscious decision-making is involved in writing something of any length beyond a 3-minute pop song. Some parts are done by feel, yes. But other structural things are very much a matter of conscious choice, for me at least and I suspect for others.