marking up parts

May 20, 2017 / 0 comments

The instrumental parts for my orchestra piece arrived in the post this week, having been sent back after Tectonics by the BBC Music Library. As I tell all my students, look at what the players write on your parts as it will tell you a lot about what they need to know. Mostly, in this…

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alternate between attention and ease

May 3, 2017 / 1 comment

We had a great rehearsal yesterday with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov. It was a long trip (Parkinson 398 miles, Saunders 374 miles) and an early start, but great to get the piece sorted with the orchestra, who were lovely to work with and very patient. I was really pleased with how…

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do the best you can

January 8, 2017 / 0 comments

I’ve been thinking more about games over the past week as I’m working through Mary Flanagan’s Critical Play, and trying to finish my orchestra piece. The thing which draws me to games as a basis for music (apart from the fact they are fun) is the sense of purpose they present. The last couple of posts…

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end condition

December 30, 2016 / 0 comments

Since beginning to tag my pieces, I’ve been looking at which of them might qualify as games. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s very few: only three. Although I’ve been investigating games a lot over the past year, I’ve not really translated some of the core requirements for the pieces to fit any of the common definitions. I…

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series, groups, tags?

December 30, 2016 / 0 comments

I like to categorise and organise things. I like groups of related items, and looking at the features that they have in common and those that distinguish them. For me, this is a useful creative strategy. When applying it to pieces, it helps me think about what I’ve already done, and what a small change…

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finding word associations

December 22, 2016 / 0 comments

I’m trying to find a satisfying set of words and sounds to use as cues for my orchestra piece at the moment. Each cue needs to be the name of something that makes or describes a sound, and then I also need a sample for each sound. For the past month I’ve been thinking through…

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new orchestra piece nearly done (probably)

December 20, 2016 / 0 comments

I don’t have a title for my new orchestra piece yet, but it explores cognitive load and the way we remember associations between pairs of unrelated elements. Cognitive load is the amount of mental effort needed to remember things in different situations. An example of it in practice is the children’s party game where a tray…

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values and motivation

December 18, 2016 / 0 comments

I’ve been reading Mary Flanagan and Helen Nissenbaum’s Values at Play as I’m exploring the ways in which theory developed through game studies might be applied to music. At the moment my interest is in how games can provide motivation for players as this is not always explicit in music. Of course there is a kind of…

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generic/specific

December 5, 2016 / 0 comments

I’ve been reading a lot of game studies texts at the moment that are suggesting some useful ways forward. In particular, applying the frameworks of play, purpose and values developed by game designers and academics to music has presented me with some useful ways to begin thinking about how to develop open scores that rely…

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notebook angst

November 6, 2016 / 0 comments

My notebook is about to run out of space again. I am finding myself hanging around art shops and stationers with a slightly nervous need to buy things. I don’t know whether to get a refill – it’s a modular notebook folder that I can refill – or do something different for a while. It’s…

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