Composing Report: February 2016

This January I had set a goal to compose 8 bars per work day. In February I missed that mark — but I got closer. More importantly, my projects are moving ahead on schedule.

February Stats

Here are the numbers for February:

  • Active projects: 3
  • Bars composed: 147
  • Bars revised: 129
  • Bars arranged: 28
  • Additional sketch pages written: 15
  • Hours spent composing: 22
  • Days I composed vs. potential work days: 16/21
  • Potential bars composed (@8 bars/day): 168

In addition to the septet, I started work on a children’s song and a hymn arrangement. That last project inspired me to add a new stat — bars arranged, to distinguish it from my creative work (bars written) and my editorial work (bars revised).

A few highlights in these numbers:

  • The biggest change in February was a tenfold leap in my revision numbers (up from 17 in January), as my work on the septet has moved from generating material to selecting and refining.
  • I went from working on two-thirds of my potential days in January to three-quarters of them this month. It’s progress.
  • Perhaps influenced by my writing more days, my average hours composing went up by about 20 minutes a day (1 hour and 23 minutes in February versus 1 hour and 5 minutes in January).

Behind the Numbers

In the 19 hours I spent on the septet in February, it went from being a bunch of disconnected sketches to a piece with a narrative.

Earlier in the month I cataloged the material I liked from January and found I had about 7-minutes worth if played end to end. Still, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

While riding the bus one evening, it occurred to me that two of my sketches would work really well if I superimposed them. So the next day I did, and the result brought the whole piece into focus.

Working consistently seems to invite such inspiration. There was another day, for instance, when I didn’t feel like working. I nonetheless sat down and just let myself goof off — just to get something done. I soon ended up producing 7 Bartók-esque bars. Though not yet useable, I enjoyed listening to them, and that joy took a slump day and made it encouraging.

Looking Ahead

I need to finish the septet by April 7 in advance of its premiere on May 8. Essentially, that means I need to complete the score in March so I have time in April to make any last revisions and produce the parts.

Stay tuned for March’s installment to see the showdown of “composing goals vs. looming deadline.”

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: