I am working on this Rumi piece, which may or may not be called “Now is the Time” and Ive hit around the half way mark. I feel I have exhausted the musical output from the limited material I’ve been using and have to go somewhere new, but the momentum of this piece is so thick that’s hard to accomplish that and I have no sounds in my head about where to go next. This piece leans toward minimalism so maybe I can embrace that and run with it.
There are definitely some dud moments I need to fix but that doesn’t scare me – the overarching structure is strong and I can make some internal changes without disrupting the flow, like putting a stick in a river. In a few seconds the river acts as if the stick were never there. I just have some weak melodic measures I need to repair.
I think I’m locked in the key of modified D and cannot escape that. There is a ostinato of repeating D’s in the piano against the choir and I don’t think I can get that to break off. But maybe. Or maybe I can keep the pitch and change the rhythm, or keep the rhythm and change pitch. Evolve the ostinato. Or make it go from 1 repeating note into repeating chords but that would really get me stuck in D.
Maybe I don’t have to go through all the lines – I could make this shorter although it definitely feels unfinished. I need more. Maybe I could grab some material from the opening and repeat that. This is the most in (modified) D piece I have ever written. I end up in D a lot. I don’t know why.
Maybe I can take this to the piano and really study the elements to se if there is anything I can take and develop from what is already there. I”m not thrilled with that idea because we need freshness. I am concerned that this piece is too monolithic, but maybe I can just run with that.
I think one thing that will loosed me up is to be aware that, violent sudden death avoided, this is not going to be the last piece I write. It doesn’t have to make a complete statement about all the things I am. But whatever comes out of this, I am actively composing, and my deal from the beginning was that that was my only goal for the foreseeable future. I have to avoid getting impatient.
I just had a simple idea – take the D ostinato on the piano and drop in one or two octaves. That would make a sense of differentiation and not put my into impossible situations. And there is the whole world of inversions – I have some chords I can roll around through inversions and make the sung part different. I’m already starting to do that and it is satisfying. So I guess my two moves I can see now are drop the ostinato down an octave or two and / or dissect this at the piano and see what ingredients I might be able to bring back and develop.
(Five Minutes Later)
Dropping the ostinato two octaves seems effective – it gets me back listening and adds some suspense because I know things are going to develop now somehow. And I’m thinking that maybe I can switch into counterpoint and wait to go back to this opening texture, which I don’t need to do but might want to, on the ending word “fire”