Out of the Shadows

Friday, 25 September 2009

Towards a new opera (2)

Reached the 50 minute mark in the new opera and got over the hurdle of the first really big emotional moment. Currently wrestling with whether quarter tones are acceptable or not; whether they will make the piece a bit too fearsome. Do violinists routinely play quarter tones? What about singers?

Here I have a confession to make, I'm actually not entirely sure how to notate them and definitely have no idea how to make my music writing program play quarter tones back to me. I know that it all OUGHT to be in my head, but I do find it useful to play stuff back repeatedly and this helps generate the new ideas. In the old days this required a great deal of bashing on the piano (luckily I have usually had tolerant neighbours).

My problem at the moment is that I am torn between giving the dialogue the weight it needs which means delaying the flow of the piece, or keeping the momentum going. In a dramatic confrontation, you feel that it ought to just keep going on, but opera is not a realistic medium and sometimes there is the need to pause and consider things.

Of course, only having two characters doesn't help. For the big emotional moments I have entirely failed to work out how to include the chorus, so that it is just my two protagonists going at it together. Which is really what it should be.

I still have got quite a chunk of the libretto to get through, so we are not out of the woods yet. I am also starting to print out a fair copy of the music so far, so that I can start the next phase of work. Revising and correcting - which does require me to endlessly bash the stuff out at the piano.

1 comment:

  1. As a New Jersey piano teacher, I am from a family of opera lovers of many generations. I relate well on a musical level to your emotions about singing the scores. I sing in a gospel choir and much admire professional voices such as your own.

    Barbara Ehrlich
    piano teacher
    New Jersey Piano Lessons

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