Everything is Green (II)

Do most of you write in order? That is, when you are making a piece, be it music or words, do you tend to do the detailed compositional work more or less in order? I do, after a good bit of sketching and "planning" of every stage of the piece so I have a very good idea of what's going to happen at the important structural points, at least.

For the opera (the libretto of which is in the fourth draft and counting) I've been working on the vocal lines for the two characters and their relation to each other. And the relationship of the musical shape to the dramatic shape. At any rate, last night I started at measure one of the Prelude, which will be rather brief and include hints of the music of each of the three scenes.

More later.


  1. An excellent question! I sometimes avoid starting at the beginning. I wish I did it more often. I may be a special case, however. First, I am drawn more to the dramatic possibilities of ending than beginnings, so often the beginning is the place I'm least sure of. Beyond that, I prefer music that increases in complexity as it goes. I'm also subject to the Complexity Temptation, something I've written about on my blog. Thus, I find myself getting to the good stuff too early if I write sequentially. It's best for me to write my favorite part of the piece first, getting it out of my system. Then, ideas for an appropriate beginning start to flow.

    I hope others comment; I'd like to know if my experience is typical, or if I'm ... special.

  2. I used to start at the beginning and then work through to the end, but in the past couple of years I've started to write isolated fragments from all over the piece which only get put together near the end of the compositional process. This is partly because the music I've been writing has been deliberately sectional, and partly because it allows me to work on another part of the piece when I become frustrated with the section I'm writing. I enjoy working with non-linear structures, and this probably leads me to write in this slightly peculiar (and somewhat stressful) manner. Though I work in a fragmentary way, I usually have a very clear idea of how the entire piece is layed out, how each section relates to the whole, before I start.