A rare day at home making music, so an incredibly short post so as not to waste time – but currently working on a loop of ‘peg bag’, ‘ratchet’, ‘spinning top’… If you happen to be reading this and would like to come to my work-in-progress showing on 19th November at Brighton Dome, then please get in touch. Otherwise, buy tickets here for the real show on Weds 10th December here!
Thanks to Brighton Dome for giving me a fantastic opportunity, in using their fab Corn Exchange space and lending me their lovely tech team for the last days. I’ve been in the space with Chris Umney doing lighting design, Lou Cope advising on the dramaturgy and Janine Fletcher talking about Choreography. It’s been a very intense and fruitful time which has left me with some important questions (Is this actually a piece about the tensions between being a musician and a mother? Which one frames and which one interrupts, if so? How much can I sensibly do (e.g. operating sound, looping, props, etc etc!)? What *is* the music?). At points, I’ve had the feeling that I have plenty of time to just tweak but am left with the feeling that I could make about 4 different shows and know that I have to decide which one I will make! All healthy and normal I’m sure…
A fascinating day, as I start to discover just how the theatrical processes might actually affect the music I write, creating useful ideas/challenges/limitations. For example, just for the very first piece:
1. Lou observing that the hammers are really lovely to watch as they hit the string, and thinking about how in low lighting we could really draw attention to them and so could I write music that would play with these patterns – eg making symmetrical shapes, or arpeggiating or making shapes around each metal beam…
2. And that if I play the black keys first, we don’t really see them move so much but then a striking white note could create both the visual and sonic shift suddenly.
3. Also that it’s nice to show preparation early on, so that when I start sticking peas in between the strings, there is a ‘sensible’, musical precedence for that.
We did another run but after much talking and preparation (and re-building the piano!!
And this was the day that I could actually steer the piano in anything other than straight lines too – exciting! Though we did discover that turning the piano in the down/horizontal/splayed position takes a footprint of about 4m square! Happily, it’s very easy to do in the upright position! ☺