I put the melody of H and J on paper and I think the rhythm and the key just jumped out at me. It didn’t require much thought or exploration. And I really liked it. The rhythm was catchy and didn’t feel like a flash in the pan. The "Henry" melody had an assertive, masculine sound, and the "Jani" melody had a calling feeling (“here I am”); and the notes for their surnames were similar, but finished off the melodic phrases for their first names. Serendipity.
I didn’t want to ruin it, so I stepped back from the tune. Imentally chewed on the melodies, and played with some simple chords to go with it. I didn’t want to commit any accompaniment to paper, for fear I’d ruin the melody. Then guiltily, after several weeks, (let's get going here), I forced myself to do a simple and intermediate accompaniment. I started a contrasting interlude, and stewed about the more advanced technical and advanced harmonic ideas.
I ended up with 12 pages of ideas. Enough. Some of the ideas were very closely related, or even the same. Now it will take a lot of time and effort to decide which are the best ideas, and how to interlace them. And I think this effort is critical to the success of the piece, but maybe it is not at all. Maybe the ear gets to love whatever flavor bone you throw its way.
Did I have to prove to myself that I could do this: yes. Did I learn from the exercise: yes. Is there a lot of work left: yes. I want it to be easier to do. To simply fall in my lap.
Thinking of modeling it after Baroque Flamenco (Deborah Henson-Conant): drama; percusiveness; passion; dazzling harp techniques; and percussive features. Baroque Flamenco has contrast, and that’s what Henry and Jani needs to have. So the listener isn’t bogged down in repetitiveness.
Don’t over-worry each note and fuss about it's being the right/perfect note. No way to know this. Just go on my instinct shaded by what I know from playing and what I like. Perfection doesn’t exist. Trying to achieve perfection is a false pursuit. Unattainable. Getting it where I like it is the task; not so some scholar will discuss how interesting the use of the 6th is, or how such and such a note usage is so idiomatic of my style.
I need to back off theover-concern with finding what is right. That will/may come over time, with experience. I just have to keep doing it, and work towards what seems right . This process takes time to let it happen, and I can come back to hear what it wants. I don’t have all the answers , especially in a short time frame. Just make a choice and don’t set it against some standard of Chopin, Brahms, Bach, etc..
I recorded the 1st and 2nd parts of H + J on Ipad, and heard that the simple was not so simple. It was cluttered and distracting. And the intermediate variation was jumbled too. What was I thinking? By composing /working measure by measure, or phrase by phrase, I lost the whole.
Trying to be clever and creative; placing different emphasis/beats on the accompaniment in each measure; this isn’t even noticeable, except to me or a scholar I suspect, and does nothing to really enhance the piece and is just too fiddly and precious. It takes away from the directness. The alternate rhythms may be worth using, but not as a trick in every new measure.
Four measures from the Interlude. Trying to decide which of the 3 endings I like. Perhaps this is not a critical difference. I am bothered that I might pick the wrong ending, though. I have to trust myself, and just learn from it. I can always come back and revise.