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Topic: THE PLANNING: creating architectures.

  1. #1

    Lightbulb THE PLANNING: creating architectures.

    Again, the end of a thread has stimulated a new point to focus on.

    An important step in the composition of big/long forms is the planning. It's due to the more large and complex amount of things to organize, that makes very difficoult to proceed improvisating or casually following the instinct.

    But the structure of even very little/short pieces, (it's possible create them as pure improvisation or totally free writing) can be planned in the same way, if the aim is very precise, or the material is selected accurately, or a special language or style must be used etc. etc.

    A wonderful sample are the ultra-short string quartet of A.Webern, where in few bars and few seconds the whole power of a 12 tunes serial structure, and the maximum variety of sound expressions and dynamics, are condensed in a micro-universe. Every single note is planned and has a coherent relation with the total of the composition.

    It's probably the extreme limit for concert pieces, but simpler samples exist in the whole history of music, frequently for didactic purpose
    (e.g. from the piano "sonatina" of M.Clementi, a sonata form condensed in few minutes of music for beginner pianists, to Bartock's Microcosmos, with the same aim).

    All those pieces were impossible without the same accurate planning of a large Symphony or Concerto.

    But the natural objection is: how much the planning is limiting the artistic level, or reducing surprise, or standardizing the writing?

    The answer is in another question: how much freedom make writing unbalanced and cahotic? How far can you go without a plan? How long, slow and heavy is the work, if a plan doesn't help you avoiding repetitions, developing ideas and keeping all coherent and balanced?

    The last clever point is: you are human, your brain will unconsciously plan even if you try improvisating or you write step by step what the inspirations suggest.
    Only a really random process should be unchained by the power of planning of the brain, but probably for the same reason, rarely satisfying from an artistic point of view!

    Let's start a useful presentation of your planning method and suggestions!

  2. #2
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    May 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: THE PLANNING: creating architectures.

    And perhaps not only what we use, but also what you learned that others use...

    Fabio is the devil!
    75,000th Post Winner on the Garritan Forum
    "Don't you wish you were me?"

  3. #3

    Re: THE PLANNING: creating architectures.

    When talking about planning structure in form, I like to look at Bartok's careful attention to this detail. Check out his use of the Golden Mean and Fibonaccian numbers. He would go so far as noting the time a section should take to be performed inside a piece.

    He carefully thought out proportions and where the climax and recapitulation (if any) should take place and nothing was left to chance. To me, he is the great master of form in more recent music.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  4. #4

    Re: THE PLANNING: creating architectures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio
    The last clever point is: you are human, your brain will unconsciously plan even if you try improvisating or you write step by step what the inspirations suggest.
    Ok, I'll focus on this thought. I find that I can't plan an architecture without knowing some of the content. I usually start writing without knowing what will turn up (i.e. without a plan at all). As the first few ideas start taking shape, an overall structure usually starts to suggest itself to me. But even here, the idea may only be "this will be a 10 minute work in two parts."

    So I guess I tend to create structure in parallel with creating the music. I wouldn't call this totally improvised, just more of a back and forth process (between working form and content). I find this a very organic way to work for me.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

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