making up stuff


I am still thinking about what it means to sketch music daily. I knew an artist once who said that he felt that he must put a line on a piece of paper every day. This was his minimum.

Writers are always writing or talking about some sort of daily routine, often quantifying how many words a day they write.


I watch the word count on this blog and try to keep around 500 words (not counting comments on links).

It maybe that a daily foray into composing will not mean producing a little complete musical piece every day. I have found that it takes me days to come up with a coherent musical concept beginning with little flashes of inspiration. These flashes often seem to later be cleverly interlocked in ways I did not anticipate when thinking them up and writing them down.


So yesterday I wrote what seemed to be an A section of a short piece. This morning I decided to continue working on it. Yesterday when i finished, I began how I thought I wanted the A section to continue. This morning I finished that section and indicated what the contrasting B section will be like. Also I began to understand that the little exercise I am writing sounds a bit like a fucked up boogie. That might make a nice title. “Fucked up boogie”

I also think that part of daily sketching of compositional ideas needs to involve a little chunk of time. Yesterday I looked up after having come up with some ideas and not much time had passed. i resolved that if it takes me an hour or so sometimes to do this silly blog, I should spend at least a half hour working on a musical sketch. I went back to work and didn’t look up again until much later. Same thing this morning.

Part of composing is knowing when to stop and let the ideas go back to wherever they live and grow to gestate further.

So I have managed two days of composing sketches. I have always thought of composing as “making up stuff.” That’s how it feels to me. So far in my musical life my well of ideas for improvising is something that does not seem to go dry. If I sit down at a piano or organ I somehow always have something to say musically. Granted it’s not always particularly profound or earth shattering, but it is always fun.

And I can remember after listening to a composition being performed the distinct interior emotional/psychological reaction/pleasure: “I made that up.”

Armed Good Guys? ‘The Reality of a Firefight Is a Form of Madness’ – The New York Times

This is a letter to the editor from Edward W. Wood, Jr. in Denver, Colorado. It says something that I often think even though I have never been in the situation.

The reality of a firefight is a form of madness: shifting silhouettes, dimly perceived, pop of weapons, freezing fear, trembling hands, most of all the stink: sick, sweet odor of blood mixed with the odor of feces and urine, stale sweat, cordite. Who and where is my enemy?

Bathroom Debate Complicates Mexican Town’s Acceptance of a Third Gender – The New York Times

Another cultural take on gender. Obviously identity understanding is both a social construction of reality as well as a physical one.

Hot Honey Shrimp Is Spicy, Sweet and Speedy – The New York Times

This looks great. Planning to try it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.