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Why the Clarinet Choir piece isn’t done yet.

I’m writing a piece for the NDSU Clarinet Choir, which they’ll perform at ClarinetFest 2020 in Reno, Nevada. Well, I mean, I’m not actually writing it this very minute, I’m writing this blog post. But I have been writing it. Except when I haven’t been. Which has been a lot.

This post isn’t so much a list of excuses so much as it is an exploration into the creative procrastination that goes into writing.

I didn’t want to start the piece until January–I finished the percussion quartet in mid-December, and wanted to take a break. By the time I ended up getting back to Fargo and got settled in, it was already the 10th, with classes starting the following Monday.

I had no idea what the clarinet choir piece was going to look like, so the first several days of writing were just bouncing ideas around. I ended up with this weird musical line in my head, which reminded me of some song I heard in college, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t ripping it off. That resulted in several days of trying to remember what that song was.

It ended up being Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men. And the line stuck in my head ended up resembling this not at all. Score one for me.

Also this video is trippy.

Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks (Official Video)

So that line I heard, I still haven’t worked into the piece, because every time I start thinking about where it could fit in, it merges with MacArthur Park. I had never actually listened to the lyrics of MacArthur park until I listened through trying to figure out where it fit in.

Also the lyrics are trippy.

Richard Harris   MacArthur Park

Part of this time has been spent looking for other clarinet choir pieces.

Crickets.

There’s a lot of transcriptions, but not a lot of pieces originally for clarinet choir. So inspiration is scarce. The NDSU Clarinet Choir will be playing Schickele’s Monochrome III and Curtis’s Klezmer Triptych, so I know what else is on the program.

And I almost know how this piece is going to go too.