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Eloise Garland

A Dash of Rustic Rondo and a Dose of Inspiration!

March 25, 2011 at 9:17 PM

 Well, after quite a while of not blogging due to my internet being down and a rather hectic time, I return to violinist.com to give a report on what I have been up to lately! Much has gone on since January for me, especially to do with music. With my GCSE exams creeping upon me quicker than I had anticipated, (yes, time seems to go fast when you are under pressure!) I have been composing non-stop for my compositional element of my Music GCSE. 

It's surprising how much effort it takes to write two contrasting compositions between 2 and 4 minutes long, but when you add up all the time it has taken to add and take away sections of piece that may or may not work, change bits to make them better and more interesting, maybe add instruments, extend the piece and finally put the finishing touches on those two pieces, you're talking about not just hours or days of work, but even weeks. Time and time again, I have been sitting in maths or science and a brain-wave suddenly comes over me, making me have to dig my manuscript out of my bag and jot it down. It's only later that I realise my excitement was for nothing when I type it into muse score and find it doesn't really fit with the piece. Then, it's back to the drawing board, back to a mental block. 

'I know where I want my piece to go, I just can't seem to take it from my head and transfer it to paper. I can feel the music pulsing along inside, yet it can't be applied to something in format.' This is what I would think as I heard the beating of the music as I stared blankly at the screen in front of me. 

So, I decided to try something new. I decided to just get out there and well, just play. Play randomly, compose randomly, record what I was doing. I had a laugh or two with friends and I just played and played on my violin and on the piano. And the next thing I knew was all of my ideas and the information I had built up inside my head pieced together and I could write it down. A breakthrough! Just the one I needed! 

My first composition is called 'Rondo Rustica' and has a rather Hungarian/Russian or even Jewish dance-like feel to it. The piano chords are strong, holding the beat together and the violin part is fairly virtuosic and has flare throughout it. I decided to write my piece like this simply because I love that style! Big, wide chords, double stopping, challenging rhythms - they are all so enjoyable in a piece!

Over this time, I have discovered that just applying myself in a different way can make such a difference to how my mind works. My brain was getting bored with the same, monotonous list of things I was trying to do. That's what brains are like - they get bored easily, whether we like it or not. Composing isn't about sitting in front of a screen or in front of manuscript trying to extract bits of music from your mind; it is about getting out there and listening to other pieces of music, experimenting, and having fun. A composition will not sound good if it has been forced, yet a composition will sound brilliant if it is from the heart and from inspiration. A brilliant composition is what I am aiming for, so I will allow my mind to be inspired and I will allow my heart to pour the music out. And an added bonus is writing a piece won't be as much effort if I allow the music to happen!

I know I am only at the beginning of the road when it comes to composing, and I have a lot more to learn yet, but it's already a wonderfully exciting, frustrating, bizarre, brilliant and vast road from what I have experienced, and I simply can't wait for more to come! 


From Julian Stokes
Posted on March 26, 2011 at 7:23 AM

I hardly dare mention it on such an esteemed serious site but those of us who operate at the rougher ends of the musical spectrum tend to start by knocking a few chords out (guitar or piano are ideal) and seeing what ideas get sparked. It's a magical mystical thing when you start to "hear" the melody emerge inside your head.

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