Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 12 - An investment of time

I'm writing this late.
I have in front of my a page of chords, and, open on my computer, a spreadsheet of times that these chords come in a piece.
I am trying to make them marry up.
They are not playing ball.
So I'm going to leave them to it and come back tomorrow.

I could have probably sat down at a desk and done all of this manually, with a series of durations (worked out on the spreadsheet and then printed out), and a series of chords, written out manually. Instead, I have chosen to use OpenMusic.
If I had done this manually, I would have probably finished the piece about six months ago.
But then again, I don't think I would. It's a rather boring task, and not a very fulfilling one, and by working with this software, I'm trying to find ways of working that are more efficient, and that keep me interested. A long time ago (2005?), Richard Barrett advised me to be much more pragmatic about how I work, and although, at the time, I didn't know what he was talking about really, it's become more evident to me, now that my composition time is packaged into small chunks when I'm trying to avoid the housework, how relevant and urgent this advice has become.

So I come back to this fact that I'm slaving away spending so much time messing around with the software trying to make it do what I want it to do, and, in effect, I'm not at all being pragmatic with my time.
But here's the thing.
I intend to use OpenMusic a lot in the future, and to use MIDI to input a lot more raw pitch material, and an investment of time now should make things easier in the future.

This is true, I think, of a lot of things.
Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and get down to really getting under the skin of a new strand of research or teaching, a new piece of software or technology, or whatever, despite the fact that it seems to be a waste of time.
At our recent Faculty Research Conference, one of the nuggets of advice I offered up to soon-to-be-graduating PhD students was that you have to be willing to invest some of your own time and energy (and sometimes money) into your research in order to make the headway that will convince anyone else to believe in it.
This is quite important I think.
I've said before that this is not a job like most others, and the research angle is certainly not.

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