Often right after I blog post I come up with some sort of new insight or idea and this happened today.I’ve been reflecting on some books and youtubes that deal with creativity and memory. A big part of the message is that imagination is vastly important to learning and creating. This includes memorizing things – if you make up some crazy ilogioal picture to remind you that Jackson was the seventh president, you can think of Michael Jackson moonwalking across the white house lawn carrying a sign that says seven!
My imagination is certainly in play when I am writing, but I”m thinking of things like “what would someone say if they saw me writing this right now?” That’s not helpful. Even “What would the publisher say” is a dangerous thing to be thinking about, and since they never say why they do or do not take something their procedure is left up to my imagination.
So I’m wondering what this would look like – not sound like but actually look like. Something critical here is that it needs to be playful and light – creative and silly. What I”m doing here is making something that is supposed to shock people out of autopilot into clear seeing, even if just for a few minutes. I”m pretty sure that’s the same thing Rumi is aiming for, but I can’t know for sure.
Now is the time to unite the soul and the world could be seen as part of a wake up call. Particularly that word “now.”
So I pictured a version of the choir(s) I conduct in formation in a dark place of worship – maybe a temple maybe a church – too dark to tell, and they are singing from memory holding candles and wearing brown hooded robes. Their faces are very stoic and when they sing their mouths open and close in a way that is a bit more exaggerated then normal. Almost robotic. Overarticulating – visually at least. And I wasn’t thinking about how other people would react to this – I was thinking of how I would react to this if I were sitting there observing it – not just hearing it but seeing it. (I do not intend to put any of these visuals into the score – they are just for me)
I had to go to the pharmacy and pick up some rinitidine syrup – for reflux. It works great! On this walk I went through both seeing and hearing the piece, and focussed completely on the choir and sort of tabling figuring out whatever the piano is going to do, even though I am still grounded in this piano groove I’m using with the minor ninths.
And I cam up with a opening phrase I can live with. I checked it on the piano when I got home just in case – but I had it right in my head. It’s kind of high for the tenors but that’s too bad for them. This first phrase feels like a slow motion energetic inhale, and the second phrase, which I almost have is feeling like it will be an energetic exhale. After the exhale I need to change things up – one thing is that I think I’m going to do some echoing of the text so that this piece has enough time to fill out its ideas, so next comes “soul and the world, soul and the world,” and so on for a while. I don’t know if I have to change harmonies here or not – I”m a little stuck already but if I get stuck I can go visual again. Maybe they put the candles on their heads, maybe they start juggling them like in a circus. Maybe half of them turn backwards.
So I’m feeling that instead of this being an act of calculation is it an act of imagination. When I got this first phrase down I saw when I took it to the piano that there were some “clever” theory / harmonic moments that were new to me. But that’s not done consciously.