Create something each day

I give out two parts this morning from yesterday’s work. I have never actually written for guitar before, and I’m uncertain how it’s going to go over with the guitarist.

It turns out he’s been reading TAB notation, but that is something I am completely unfamiliar with. I’ve written it on a normal staff, and he reassures me that he can translate into the format he knows better.

I get to my computer, and I’m kind of dragging my feet today. That song I started working on earlier this week is itching at me, but I don’t know what I’m doing with it. I decide to just do something. I write in the right hand of the piano to accompany the melody line I wrote a couple of days ago. I find that adding in one more voice actually does a lot to inform the way the song will go – harmonic changes, interplay between voices, and in turn, the bass line, if that isn’t one of the first two.

Yesterday I did a scripture hunt for the word “Perfect.” I don’t know who will be wanting to play it, but I have this idea for a three-movement piece for wind symphony. I wrote the first movement some time ago, but I never got it performed, and I kind of lost heart and didn’t write the second and third movements yet. But I had found my notebook with my ideas for the second movement, and yesterday I worked on the ideas for the third.

It’s easy to just go on being busy without creating something. But I made a goal to create something each day, even if it’s small. One thing it has done for me is appreciate the Sabbath more. I’m kind of spent after trying to create something for six days straight, and it gives me a better rest.

Last year, I was practicing my viola so much all the time, that I started to feel an inflammation develop in my arms. After starting to observe a Sabbath rest one day a week from practicing, my inflammation went away, and I don’t have that problem anymore.

Another thing I notice is that when I play music, I am happier. So when I feel heaviness lowering down on me, it’s usually a good cue to go play some music.

I write some more of the piano accompaniment. Last night, I also listened to Arnold Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht. It is not quite as esoteric as his later works, and I felt it was very moving. Somehow, as I’m writing today, I find that his harmonies are still ringing in my head.

And I fill in the rest of the accompaniment to how far I’ve written. I’ve long looked up to Franz Schubert, who cranked out hundreds of Lieder in his short life. Or Charles Ives, who wrote lots of cool songs, which I was first exposed to from a piano teacher at Södra Latin. Maybe that is how it is: once you find the harmonic/melodic language you favor, it’s much easier to put out a lot of music quickly, if you just show up and keep doing it, a little each day.

After getting in a good practice on my viola, I feel very happy. I’m back working on writing the song, and I find the melody flowing to me easily. Suddenly I’m out of lyrics. Is this the end?

Unlikely. It feels like it needs some repetition. So I’ll figure that out, sometime soon, but not today. I add in the right hand of the piano accompaniment for the next 41 measures, and I’m starting to feel tired. I’ll leave it for tonight, and get back another day to this song.

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