Yesterday I filmed a simple and a more complex arrangement of Henry and Jani, and heard that I was over-complicating right out of the gate the simple arrangement.
And all along the way yesterday, I questioned. Every note, every phrase; I stray a note or more from the idea, and lose where I was; hunched at the harp, and scratching notes on the score or computer balanced on my lap; then trying to play it, and more ideas and changes, and try it again, and try to maintain good posture while I am at it.
I worked on an interlude section for H +J, with wandering triplets; I like it, but I question whether it has any value. What is its value? And I also wonder if its taken from somewhere else; someone else; [ I felt this interlude somewhere from deep inside, and think now, that is why I thought it came from someone else; it was so familiar to me, that I thought I had heard it before as someone else’s music; an interesting paradox: my sense of disassociation even in the face of my responding so strongly to it].
I like it; that should satisfy my mantra, that “I play for others but mostly myself”. So if I like it, I should stop questioning it; It’s good enough if I like it; but there is posterity to think of; posterity that is always slinking around underfoot; or the people I play it for, who might secretly be thinking “what was she thinking”? Why did she spend all that time working on that stuff. Didn’t she see that it wasn’t much. Well, she piddled around putting notes on paper and sometimes called herself a composer. I keep having these thoughts in the background. If I am composing for myself, its enough that I enjoy playing and hearing what I have done. But there’s so much great music already for me to play and enjoy listening to, without having to compose more. Unless, that is what I want to do, and it is calling; which it is, I think, but I am not sure.
So, let's say I agree that I will compose for my own pleasure, and if anyone likes it , well that is interesting, and it is touching as it is a means of connecting with another human being.Someone else is on the same page with me; though I have always been a loner, and satisfied with my own company, and this could/may include the company of my music.
Recently I heard that the Van Gogh story was a myth, was over- played, and over-romanticized ; that artists fantasize about Van Gogh's persistence, and the success and recognition achieved after death, to justify their own unrecognized efforts. His art never appreciated till after his death; he toiled on at it despite not being recognized, acclaimed. How many Van Goghs are there, and does it matter? The authors who keep writing in the face of multiple rejections from publishers. This takes me to when I am dead, and someone is going through my papers, or computer files, and the computer gets tossed, or the compositions on paper aren’t even seen and are lost, (like those Vermeers and Rembrandts that have never been seen by contemporary eyes, but were known to have existed). Does this matter?
The archetype is Beethoven or Mozart sitting down and tossing out perfectly formed symphonies, overtures, operas, while they drank their morning coffee, the morning of performance. They heard it all in their head as they did it, the ways they would tease the musical ideas; they did not overthink, they did not question; they sensed and knew when it shone. There were just a few erasures; enough so we could still consider them human. (Oh, and they didn’t have midi pianos, or ipads or computers with Finale notation. Maybe that helped prevent over-thinking!). How did they know when enough was enough; or when to stop or keep going. How did they conceive what they were doing; did it unravel as they did it, or was it fully conceived. Just a matter of getting the notes on paper.
And, what is the big deal about composing? Sometimes I think almost any notes will work and then just apply "arrangement formulas" to the melody (baroque, classical, romantic , 20th century conventions ) , vs utter and sheer inspiration. There are so many levels, so many expressions , so many ways to compose, paint, do art.
There is a long spectrum of genius/art. No one the same; all different; some is instinct, some is created after slogging and toiling through endless ideas and revisions. And for me, it has gotten easier to compose, the more I do it. I need to factor this into these early days.