As I’ve said previously, it’s been intimidating to write a second movement to my string quartet. I wasn’t sure if I loved what I had so far, and I was kind of second guessing myself.
Today’s workplace happened to be outside a classroom where they were learning ballroom dance. I have my headphones on, but they do not cancel the noise outside, and I find myself in the waltz mode a little more easily because of the ambient music.
I look at the piece I’m working on, and realize that what I need is some more clear articulations to help the string players play the right kind of lightness. A waltz cannot be played heavily. It just doesn’t work right. You want it to kind of float. So despite all the more or less dissonant melodic material, harmonized into what I think sounds right, but maybe isn’t the typical Johann Strauss Jr kind of harmony, if you know what I mean, I am really attempting to write a “light” atonal waltz. It’s a fun challenge, and after adding in the articulation, I find that the viola part isn’t hard to write at all. (I had left off the piece with gaps in the middle parts, so next will be some work on a second violin part).
However, the dance class switched and they are playing something Latin inspired, and the rhythm doesn’t work at all with what I’m doing now. I have a hard time finding flow, and I hope to get back to writing later today.
Sometimes, a piece of music has a very imaginative title. Other times, it is more abstract, and I just call it “String quartet #1”, like so many before me. Maybe some day, I’ll have an idea that demands a change, but for now, that is what I call my work.
I filled in the last few measures of music for the first movement. I added in some more articulation where I thought it was needed, and some dynamics markings. The piece is at least a completed draft. As I was going through the parts I wrote today, I noticed several times I had had all of the parts moving in the same direction. Generally, that is frowned upon. So I changed a few pitches, letting the second violin go down as the other three go up, and letting the cello later stay on the same pitch when the other three go up. Last instances, I just let the viola go higher than the second violin, because the chord was pretty tight. Now the second violin goes down when everyone goes up, and the viola gets to go down when all the others go up on the next instance.
I think it can work to have all move in the same direction, but it really sticks out in a piece otherwise adhering to counterpoint rules as best as I can, which is why I try to eliminate most of my rule-breaking voice leading.
I’m a little nervous about giving out the parts to my friends, but also very excited to hear a better rendition than my software does. Live musicians breathe their own life into my ideas, and it is such a lovely feeling when you hear your ideas with their fantastic sound.