One way of describing what I am doing is that I am finding the key or mode of the piece. Or some particular scale that doesn’t have a name. I’m finding that the general plaining chords are looking like quarters, and having a flow on motion in eight notes happening in at least one voice, frequently, seems to pull everything together.
I’m finding that one strange thing is that this piece, which is not in a key except that, being all white note, C seems to be the route of this forming mode or scale. Also it likes to hop into E Major resolutions which are very beautiful moments in this texture.
AS for the plaining chords I’m finding that I can also plain normal chords in inversions, meaning 6/4’s and 6/3’s and it doesn’t break the character.
I think I found the opening, some rather high piano chords falling in stacked fourths. Then when it gets into choral range the notes stay mid range, and then later there is a general sense of “down” that can drive in a variety of ways to a final low piano C. I find my body reacts differently when low notes become lower than sung notes, meaning in general anything lower than bass E, my body relaxed because I”m no longer trying to sympathetically resonate in my body and breath with something I could sing. (going higher than voices has a similar release but it has a different feeling) When the low comes I sort of give up on holding on release into a more relaxed physical state. So I’m very aware of when I’m going into instrumental range and not choral range. I want this to emerge slowly. Except maybe I want to put some low octaves in along the way just to punctuate. I don’t know.
This is an about face from what I was doing before where the piano started really low. Now the general shape if the piece is high to low and that is an element of structure that will hold things together. I don’t have sometime obvious to hold it together like a repeating melody.
Something happening here is that I don’t seem to be boxing myself in with rules – the improvising is getting increasingly convincing and fluid.
I’m also realizing that this is not all to far from organ improvising where I get myself into a trouble chord and then have to resolve it. Here it kind of the opposite, I am finding that sometimes I hit a normal chord at the wrong time and the effect is terrible.
Also to note – as I am doing this I’m thinking on something more like a 5 year plan. If I keep writing, some of these pieces are going to make it, and then if I’m building this up over something like 5 years I might get more of a voice in the publishing industry or choral word through self publishing. This means that it’s conceivable, in a few years, that the money I make from selling scores could actually be a significant source of income. Not massive but real. I got about $1000-$1500 off of The Bees and it’s still selling just a bit. So If I had 10 The Bees’s out at the same time, I can rehire my personal trainer who helped me loose 20-25 pounds in a year. If I lost another 20 pounds I’d looked lie a skinned rat so I don’t have to repeat that, but there might be another ten to loose to be fit and trim.
I’m also realizing that if I had been doing this for the last 5 years my life would have a huge boost right now. I don’t know, and might never know, why I stopped writing. I guess after you stop for a while you get really out of shape and it’s very hard to get the concentration balanced. But I corrected that with Be Still. My Rumi chant piece wasn’t working well I must admit. The more I tried to figure it out the more constrained and disorderly it became. That’s impatience! Or maybe right now I”m just not in good enough shape to write something that ambitious. And that’s fine.
So to point out a difference, I’m not exactly looking for rules to write this piece by – that never works for me, but I am studying and immersing myself in a new type of tonality – what I do with that is highly flexible.