Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Occupational Hazards

The hazards of loving your job too much.

Sometimes I can get so into a piece of music, working at each instrument line, listening over and over and over for hours until it feels like such a pain in the ass to go and eat, train or even play games.

But when you come across an awesome piece of music, you just want to listen to it over and over and over, even if you came up with it yourself.

Of course there are days when I get the piece gets lost in translation from my head to the computerized orchestra, and I get so involved with a part of the piece like the melody line that I don't notice how grossly unbalanced the harmony line is. In which case, when I take a break and get back to it I just have to go "What the heck was I thinking?!"

Translation is the hardest part for a composer. How do you transfer form, emotion, structure from dreams, from random thoughts, into coherent data/score? Every successful piece of music is literally, a dream come true.

Sometimes that godamn dream gets jumbled, and you have to sort it out by trial and error. Its particularly frustrating when you're doing orchestrated arrangements, because unlike pop or rock that has like melody line, harmony line, bass, alternate melody line, drums.... you now have....

Strings line for melody, strings like for harmony X 2-3, Cello line X 1-3, Bass line, Woodwinds line X 1-4, percussions line, drums line, french horn line, trumpets line, misc brasses line.

And each of these lines can carry the melody line at any point, and it can pass it to another instrument line, or fade in, or fade out, or only come in at certain points like the piccolo section to shine high notes, or bass trombones to boom certain low notes. Even more complicated when harmony lines move into counter melody, or answer call melody.

So yeah, basically a whole lot of ideas need to be sorted out.

The team was rowing past esplanade and we saw/heard the rehearsals for the national day parade. Was just a small part, but the score for that section sounds awesome. The way it transitions between so many styles was very well done, and the strings section sounded like the SSO did it. I wonder who did the arrangement for it.

I wonder when it will be my turn to compose for the national day parade.

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