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Composer's Block...

Joshua Iyer

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Published: June 5, 2015 at 6:55 PM [UTC]

During these past couple of weeks I've been out of school, I've been trying to spend as much time as possible composing, taking walks back behind the forest preserve and writing down bits of material for a string quartet I need to complete by the end of the summer. From following the works of some of my favorite composers, I've come up with little ideas to incorporate into the piece, and have now seven or eight distinct scraps entered into the file on the computer, with absolutely no clue what to do with them, and barely any of them I actually like and would consider developing further.

When that happens, usually I would take a break from the piece and come back to it, which is what I'm doing now. I spent time practicing orchestration on a beautiful Ravel piano piece, as well as trying to write out a score by hand, and of course I've been working at practicing violin even harder - I wrote a little medley I'm playing with a pianist and a harpist sometime over the summer. Usually, through listening to other works or even just noodling on my instrument, something will come up and I'll get very inspired to continue working. I'm still waiting for that moment, but I just know eventually I'll reach a point where I can't wait to wake up at 7 a.m. and just sit down at the computer and write out my sketch, or head out into the morning air and compose, as it happened several times last summer with "Birds of Prey".

I suppose one could take composer's block similarly to writer's block, in that if you don't have any ideas for a story, free your mind from the constraints of that world and write in a different world, and similar themes will connect the two. Perhaps if I try writing in a completely different style than what I'm going for, say, writing some epic battle music for a game, perhaps that will trigger an idea in my quartet. It's a possibility....

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