Feb. 25th, 2017 09:23 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Had a bit of a slow start; I have lurgy. But I did go to the MacRobert building, and got some actual composing done, and got some more done after I got bck. I now have a first draft of the piece for the Uncommon Music competition, subject to permission to use the text. The due date for that is Wednesday, so I'm cutting it a bit fine.

I have, however, entirely gone off the idea of using The New Colossus for the Juice vocal ensemble piece, due Tuesday. I think I've figured out why I'm having such trouble with this one; it's because I did submit Talvilaulu to their Call for Scores this year, and it wasn't chosen, and I had no feedback. So of course the brain squirrels are trying to figure out why it wasn't chosen, and one option is that the text is, frankly, depressing as all get-out, making it harder to program. That's the "safest" option: all other options have to do with my handling of the text. "No, that's fine," cry the squirrels, "it was definitely the text. We shall find a perfect text for you! Perfect! It has to be perfect!" They are very devoted. They want to keep me safe from rejection, at all costs.

Unfortunately, the squirrels can't read, so they are deciding all texts are imperfect and therefore unsuitable.

This is suboptimal.

I suspect the best way to work around it is going to be to find a humourous text.


Feb. 24th, 2017 10:07 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Went to a lunchtime concert, to hear new music by a colleague, and a Beethoven piano trio.

I liked the new music, but having heard it only once I can't write much about it.

The Beethoven was Op. 1 No. 3 in C minor, which I thought I didn't know but which was somewhat familiar. The pianist was seriously struggling with some of the scale passages, I felt bad for him and wondered if he had an injury, or just misjudged his practice. The piano in that space isn't amazing anyway. There were some flat entries by the violin. The 'cello was good. Overall, a spirited performance, but there were definitely bits where the three players were making something greater than the sum of its parts, and bits where they were playing the notes in order to get through that bit.

Went for a walk. Definitely getting lurgy. Walked further than I should have, but I think staring at the sea did me some good, mentally. Trying not to beat myself up about the "lost" time. Sometimes creative work requires staring at the sea.

Did #choralhour on Twitter. Found out my Magnificat might be sung by a choir in Edinburgh in April. Made contact with an Anglican choir in Berlin.

May have found a text for the Juice piece; someone suggested I set The New Colossus. This is appropriate, and topical, and I could also use it for the Choirs Against Racism project.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Today was the first of two "Postgraduate Research Induction" sessions at the University of Aberdeen.

The morning included a lot of talking from the Dean of Graduate Studies, and some talking from a number of others -- the library services, careers services, and so on.

There was a "networking bingo" game which is a sort of specially-designed hell for introverts where we had to talk to people to find out if they had attributes printed in the squares. It was, in fairness, a lot better than just being encouraged to talk to people without that kind of structure, but there wasn't really enough time to get to know anyone properly and also fill in the sheet.

There was nothing at all on how to do a research PhD that's actually a portfolio of your own artistic work and an accompanying dissertation, nor did I meet anyone else who's doing that. So I feel like I used 4 hours of concentration for something that was actually pretty low-value for me. But at least I'm writing about my work more, now, and reading other people's thoughts about contemporary music, and even doing some listening (not much yet, but give it time).

I ran some errands and had some lunch, then came back and listened to Kyle Randall's New Gothic Mass, which I wasn't desperately impressed by, though I'll listen again when I'm less tired.

And I've transferred over my bulletjournal, finally, not having managed to get around to it last night after all.


Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:27 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Yesterday: packing, mostly, which involved lots of laundry and turning the radiators on specially to dry it. But in between that I found some poetry to add to Words for Songs, and another modern poet whose feed to follow. So there's that. I also found some bits and pieces to listen to on Bandcamp.

I think some of the issue for me with getting my academic reading and listening done is that I don't have regular, routine reading or listening times *at all*. So turning this DW account into a place that I do at least some of the reading, and trying to figure out how listening fits into a schedule, is a good thing. Academic research-like reading is going to be different than reading poetry on the internet, but just doing some work-related reading each day is stil better than nothing. Ideally, if I want these changes to stick, they're going to have to be organic and habitual, rather than attempting to do an immediate complete overhaul of my routines. And ideally, I do wnat these changes to stick beyond the PhD. Not reading enough poetry is the main reason I so often struggle to find the right words for a composition; not reading enough of the researchy, theoretical stuff is less obviously limiting, but being able to do self-directed intellectual study at a higher level than "hey, that book looks interesting" or "Oh crap I need to know about widgets, what does the internet say about them?" is going to serve me well no matter what I do. (The practical skills side of this I can already self-direct to an extent I'm fairly happy with, but it's a while since I pushed myself in the arena of learning information.)

Today I spent on the train to Aberdeen. I was going to transfer over to a new bullet journal but the train was too bumpy, and I was not concentrating well. So I mostly spent the journey reading non-PhD stuff, nodding off, and staring at the sea.

Going to have some supper, unpack, and then see how much of the BuJo transfer I can do before bed, and try to figure out what tomorrow's schedule is like -- it's some kind of postgraduate induction thing, with a lot of emphasis on experimental ethics committees. I think there's a concert in the evening, too.

It would be sensible for me to make a post here with things like the regular times of services at St Andrew's Episcopal, opening hours for various restaurants, and so on; I tend to forget while I'm away and no longer need the information, and as I'm currently getting through a bullet journal every 3 months (I have a lot of ideas, okay?), and it's the sort of thing that's useful to have but not crucial to have offline, it's more sensible to store some of that stuff in a bookmark.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Made a blog post that is both a quotidian update of the week, and delves into my feelings aorund #1daywithoutus a bit.

Very tired now.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Not much work today; partly because I was sortof avoiding it because of #1daywithoutus, and partly because I'm very tired.

I did finally add a user icon here, and found some more people to follow who are interested in choral music. I'm... not entirely sure where I'm going with the social networking? This all feels much smaller than Livejournal was in its heyday, but maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, if you're new here, hello, and welcome, and stuff.

I was going to post something on my blog about being an immigrant, but I didn't really know what to write. I might have one more try at it, as I also need to do my weekly summary update.

Thinking about also posting a weekly link roundup. Here? There? Probably there.

The writing here is to catch my thoughts, take PhD-related notes, and get used to writing about my work at a variety of different levels. I'm not locking most of it. If I'm going to write a dissertation as well as compose a portfolio, I need to be in the habit of stringing more than 140 characters together on the regular.

The writing at my blog is much more about things that will be interesting to people who like or are interested my choral music but don't necessarily care much about the academic processes (or my struggles with them), don't want to see a zillion half-baked ideas, aren't necessarily interested in the nuts and bolts. It's public-facing. But it should probably still have some personality, so a link roundup that is partly social justice, partly music-related, partly church-related, is probably good, as long as it isn't too spammy. (One of the ways to make it not seem so spammy, of course, is to cross-pollinate links from DW which don't necessarily make it on to Twitter and the Book of Face.)

If you want to follow both I'm pretty sure there's a feed thing somewhere here. Ah, yes: [syndicated profile] artsyhonker_blog_feed is it.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
So there is Hiveworks, which is a creator-owned comic collective; it looks like there revenue comes from advertising, and they have various mentoring services and so on.

Could something similar work with sheet music publishing?

When I've spoken to traditional publishers, they've generally not been willing to talk about the Creative Commons thing. From their perspective, publishing something that people are allowed to photocopy, and could even reproduce themselves by downloading the work from online, is no way to make a living.

I think this is a misunderstanding of the market for deadtree format sheet music:

1) When I am performing regularly, I frequently buy scores that are in the public domain, because printing things at home is annoying or inconvenient or, in the end, not much cheaper.

2) There are still a number of people who only really buy sheet music by post or in actual shops; while this is a shrinking market, the problems of e-scores (readers are expensive and run out of battery; you can't write on electronic scores anywhere near as easily as you can paper ones with a pencil, or draw pictures of the conductor with a dragon's head for that matter; nobody has really got page turns right; DRM of any kind at all is really annoying if you're buying a piece of music thinking your choir might sing it again in 5 or 10 years) are not really going away quickly yet, and in the meantime, fewer people who own computers have access to a printer at home.

3) In terms of choral music, at least, you can charge a bit more for a "photocopiable resource": I've seen some publishers experimenting with this with the Christian Copyright Licensing Initiative. (The difference between that and CC by-SA? CC by-SA requires no admin on the part of the consumer, and rather less on the part of the composer, too. CCLI is an awkward workaround, and it shows.)

Further, when people go to download music from e.g. the Choral Public Domain Library or IMSLP, they're usually looking for something they already know to be in the public domain. When they go to a bricks-and-mortar or even an online sheet music shop, they're looking for new stuff. My work is new -- but it's on CPDL. Oh, and Lulu, which also isn't somewhere people go to look for sheet music.

Just as e-books have not, in fact, meant that people stop buying deadtree format books, I don't think electronic scores are going to kill the deadtree format music library just yet.

I think it's also a misunderstanding of the nature of copyright and copyright infringement. In general, if someone is going to photocopy my music, they're going to do it anyway, and sortof hope they don't get caught.

Anyway, I am wondering whether some kind of collectively-owned publishing house which explicitly allows composers to choose Creative Commons licenses -- or not, if the composer in question would rather not -- would be a good idea.

I suppose this is just more fleshing out of this idea about a print-on-demand music publisher. The difference between that and this? Collective ownership, and a presence (in due course) in bricks-and-mortar sheet music shops where they exist. (I don't think most of the existing small sheet music publishers do print-on-demand -- I think they do a bulk order from a music reprographics company, and then warehouse it and distribute. I know of one print-on-demand music reprographics company that also does distribution, which isn't cheap, but a co-op might be a good way to manage the cost.)

The thing about print-on-demand is that without the warehousing costs, and with distribution being outsourced, you don't necessarily have to play the crappy gatekeeping game of only having a certain "standard" of composer, either (and very often this is more about an old boys' network and the perceived necessity of going for a certain style, than anything else). You can still have the equivalent of whoever it is that decides to send a catalogue showcasing certain repertoire to the brick-and-mortar shops, print that when they order it, and also have ten thousand "long tail" pieces of music that only get printed when someone requests them -- only now, they can request them from brick-and-mortar shops, too. Further, if you have a decent online shop with decent search engine optimisation etc, you can use the sales figures from that to predict what to send to the brick-and-mortar shops; and since it's a composer-owned co-op you can also ask composers to give you some of their social media stats etc (strictly on an opt-in basis, of course) and add some of the more popular ones there to the deadtree catalogue, so that people like me who are mostly focused on free downloads and Patreon can still have offline representation.

I do think hybrid models like this are a way that the publishing industry can stop eating itself, and that artist ownership is likely to be beneficial. However, I do not know how to get there from here, I don't even know many other composers who use CC by-SA, and I'm supposed to be doing a PhD, not starting companies.


Feb. 18th, 2017 10:57 am
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
16th Feb was a difficult day for me, and in the end I said "sod it" to work and did some gardening instead.

Yesterday was a bit better, but though I was working on composing for part of it, I didn't really... get anywhere.

I think on days like that, it would be better for me to set a timer for 30 minutes and if I haven't written anything, give up and do some reading or some listening.

It wasn't a completely wasted day, though, because there was a ULCC rehearsal in the evening. I always feel better after a good sing. We rehearsed Tallis 'Sancte Deus' which I love; it has that ambiguity over major and minor, and instability of key, that I enjoy so much. This time I noticed that in the final "Amen" section, every part has a sort of ascending pattern: the highest note in the phrase is one higher than the last, for three phrases. This makes me think that the word underlay in the alto part of our copies is wrong, as they have one more "Amen" than the rest of us; whoever put it in (rather than just having one very long A----------men) clearly wasn't paying attention to that.

We also worked on John Ireland's Mass setting, which is rather lovely, and SS Wesley 'Wash me Throughly', which again is harmonically somewhat twisty.

Today is a sort-of work day, too. I've moved the draft of Winter Stars onto the computer, and I'm participating very gently in the February Crowdfunding Creative Jam.

Lent starts soon and I've been thinking about a Lenten discipline to take up. One strong contender: "some PhD reading and some PhD listening every day". Sundays are exempt. I don't generally give up physical things (chronic pain means my flesh is, essentially, self-mortifying already), and there's a bit of me that is thinking "yes, but a Lenten discipline shouldn't be something you ought to do anyway" -- but if taking this up as a religious discipline would allow me to get into the habit and stop being avoidant about it, then it would be a good thing, to be sure. And working through fears and blocks, getting over one's self if you like, is very much part of Lenten discipline, for me; I cannot focus on, listen to and obey Christ if I am so busy avoiding my fears that I am unable to fulfil my academic or creative duties.

That said, there are other contenders, not for discussion here, which may yet win out; I haven't decided. The biggest danger for me is of choosing too many things, so that my Lenten discipline looks something like "give up snooze button, go to Morning Prayer, 2h bike ride, reading, spend no money" and I give up after half a week, or cannot schedule it around other commitments.
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I'm sort-of following the Church of England General Synod this week. It is making me heartsick.

I know better than to try to follow the livestream: that way lies certain misery, and I can't really face it. But there was a very good speech by the Southern Prolocutor, bits of which ended up on Twitter, and he ended with Genesis 32.6 - "I will not let you go until you bless me."

That instantly earwormed me with a song we usually sing on Song Cycle, words by Wesley and tune from the shapenote tradition in the US. It's a sort of Christological exploration of Jacob wrestling with God.

Here's Maddy Prior singing an arrangement of it.

The words we usually sing are as they appear in the New English Hymnal:

1. Come, O thou traveller unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see;
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle 'til the break of day.

2. I need not tell thee who I am,
My misery and sin declare;
Thyself has called me by my name,
Look on thy hands and read it there:
But who, I ask thee, who art thou?
Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

3. In vain thou strugglest to get free;
I never will unloose my hold:
Art thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of thy love unfold:
Wrestling, I will not let thee go
Till I thy name, thy nature know.

4. Yield to me now, for I am weak,
But confident, in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer:
Speak, or thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if thy name is Love.

5. 'Tis Love, 'tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal Love thou art:
To me, to all, thy mercies move;
Thy nature and thy name is Love.

I wonder if this would be sung more in churches if there were a good 4-part hymnody arrangement. The original of Vernon is in 3 parts with the tune in the middle, which is not a familiar format to most English congregations; there are some other tunes, but I don't think they're a patch on Vernon. The vocal range is a bit large, a minor tenth in Maddy Prior's version (and an 11th in the version we sing), but it doesn't stay high for very long, and there are definitely well-known hymns with a range of an 11th (e.g. Slane, usually sung for 'Be thou my vision').

It would probably only be an afternoon's work for me to make a playable 4-part arrangement with the melody in the treble, such that a typical parish with an organist would be able to do this.

Of course, that won't get it into any hymnals, which is the other reason it isn't widely sung; but that's another problem.

musing about how this sort of arranging might fit into a crowdfunded business model, for me )


Feb. 15th, 2017 02:59 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Kirkoskammer competition is only open to people born after 1982, which is NOT ME.


Well, I guess at least I finished a piece... really just need to tidy up the score now.


Feb. 14th, 2017 06:40 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I thought I probably wouldn't finish it in time, but...I think I have, in fact, finished the horn solo for the Kirkoskammer competition (deadline Thursday).

I think there's also progress on the Juice piece (deadline 28/2) but I have a text copyright problem and may need to approach that one differently. Botheration. At this point I need to write the difficult copyright piece to get it out of my mind and then find another text.

Meanwhile I did some back-of-envelope calculations and I am feeling exceedingly skint. I am spending a lot on this PhD, and it's difficult to reduce costs much (yes, transport would be less if I took the bus instead of the train to Aberdeen, but I get horribly motion sick on buses; yes, I could try to stay somewhere cheaper when I'm there, but then I start wasting more time and energy on transport, and my joint problems make the choice of mattress really important if I don't want to be even more limited by pain than I already am; you get the idea.) I think I have a few options for earning more that will help, but none of them are instant, and by my current reckoning I have about 3 months to sort this. Sigh.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
This evening, I made a list of all the competitions, proposals, assignments and commissions I currently have on my plate that have deadlines.

There are twelve of them. I guess these are sortof the equivalent of conference/journal papers in other disciplines.

lots of things )

While I'm doing this, the "undeadlined" things I have on my plate include:
-the Choirs Against Racism project
-Some more PhD-specific writing that isn't competition-driven
-moving some more WIPs into the "finished" bin generally: I have over 20 in the "back-burner" pile.
-wanting to finish one work/month to put onto Patreon, or even two works/month if I can manage that (I could really, really do with the money).

This afternoon I had another meeting with Dr Francis Roads about the London Gallery Quire CD.

This morning I got my Patreon rewards all ready for posting. Something I want to improve at in my crowdfunding practice is getting those envelopes ready before I even put the music online, so that when the Patreon payments come through I can just go to the Post Office. I'm not there yet, though.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Signed up for Pinboard, have spent some of my evening moving open tabs to bookmarks there instead.

I have various other bits of yakshaving to do, too.

Thinking about categorising my to-do list more generally as "work, yakshaving, firefighting" as this is as good a way to do triage as any.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I'm trying to ease myself into this whole "do your academic reading" thing, because Im not entirely sure why I find it such a struggle. I mean, ordinarily I love to read; it's one of my favourite procrastination activities, and I certainly don't limit myself to fiction within that.

I read about 33% of "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross in an e-book format and then realise that no, I was probably going to want academic books in print. So I bought the paperback, and it's... large. I don't feel like I can face re-starting. I don't feel like I can face picking up where I left off, either.

So instead of that, I decided I'd tackle another book, "O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music", by Andrew Gant. This is a rather slimmer tome than the Ross, and will treat my own subject in a different sort of depth.

Unfortunately, one chapter in, it's already bothering me with some generalisations and inconsistencies. So far, these only have to do with fairly ancient music history, the kind of stuff that's half conjecture anyway; things like not being entirely clear about what Gregorian chant actually was and what it replaced, use of the term "Responsorial psalm" to mean the same form as it typically is sung in post-Vatican II practice without unpacking properly the differences between a responsorial vs antiphonal style of singing, which in any case is in terms of the form of the text rather than the number of participants; that sort of thing. I can understand glossing over the earlier neumes (such as those in the Old Hispanic Office books that we wstill have) as being an aide-memoire, rather than related to handsigns as some scholars believe, because the handsigns thing is pretty niche and not, by any means, universally accepted, but I'm less pleased about the implication that staff notation went from no lines to 4 lines in one smooth jump (rather than various lined staff notations being tried out and experimented with in various regions). Perhaps I am expecting too much; perhaps what I believe to be true is in fact outdated, but without references given in the form of footnotes/endnotes I'm not going to find out.

However, I'm not reading the book for the early history stuff, I'm reading it for the later stuff: partly a better understanding of thow the way the Reformation played out (is playing out!) here influenced sacred music in England (it played out very differently in Scotland, and I am definitely interested in studying that separately); partly a better general knowledge of 20th-century sacred music. My knowledge in both of those areas is probably less than my knowledge of psalmody and plainchant (which in itself isn't extensive, by any means, hence my annoyance at the book), but on the other hand, there is a lot more information available generally, so using the book as a sort of outline for my study of those topics should be fine.

Still, there's only so much annoyance I can take, so let's hope it improves. I will say I am enjoying the tone of the book: I laughed aloud, on this grey day, at "This was the musical world which Augustine inhabited when he picked his way across the sand and shingle of the Isle of Thanet one grey Kentish dawn, no doubt wondering, like Caesar before him, why anyone would leave the Mediterranean sunshine for this." Well, quite. Though currently, I'm jealous of the snow they are getting in North America. I'm Canadian. I miss snow.

Meanwhile -- a bunch more competitions have come to my notice. I haven't quite sorted out which ones are worth my entering yet and none of them have immediate deadlines, so I'm hoping to shift more of the existing stuff from my plate first.

On Sunday I went to St Paul's Cathedral, and the collect for the fourth Sunday before Lent (and the rest of the week, excepting saints days etc) is:
O God,
you know us to be set
in the midst of so many and great dangers,
that by reason of the frailty of our nature
we cannot always stand upright:
grant to us such strength and protection
as may support us in all dangers
and carry us through all temptations;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(Source: Common Worship)

It's rather apt for the world at the moment. I'm wondering if I can find a public-domain version of it, given that neither Common Worship nor the Book of Common Prayer are public domain in the UK. I wish they would just publish them under CC by-SA, as that would solve a lot of my problems.

There appears to be a Latin version but that doesn't give the publication date or when it was written. However from that I can search for the Latin text, which turns up This CPDL page from which it is possible to discern that the text is, indeed, old enough for the Latin text to be in the public domain.


Feb. 10th, 2017 12:16 am
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Today was supposed to be for academic reading, to rest a dodgy arm showing early signs of RSI and to, well, get some of my reading done.


Sigh. I'll try again tomorrow, when I at least have a reward planned.


Feb. 9th, 2017 11:16 am
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
(from yesterday)

Went to John Lewis in Stratford, got myself a pot of peppermint tea, and sat and did some composing. Draft 2 of 'Winter Stars' by Sara Teasdale is done; the next step will be putting it into the computer. My concentration wasn't great for some of the day so I am expecting to do some re-writing in the computer drafts.

I do like John Lewis as a place to work. There is plenty of space, meaning I can find somewhere to sit even when it's very crowded, though I prefer the booth seats as the chairs mostly have seats that tilt backward: not comfortable or ergonomic for working. Much of the area is carpeted and there seems to be some thought given to noise reduction; and there's no background music, of course. There is free wifi, though I tend not to use it for my work. I can't remember if you have to sign up for anything to get it, I don't recall giving them my e-mail address at any point but this may have changed.

The tea and coffee now all comes from self-serve machines and there is some self-service for cakes etc too, which I think they've done to try to speed things up at busy times; it could be difficult if you're trying to juggle a pram or wheelchair and a tray as the coffee island doesn't have a tray ledge, but there are also full-service hot drink stations. There are also sandwiches and salads and things, and hot food, too, both the kind that you take with you to your seat and the kind they bring to you with a number (mmmm, pizza), but that's not what I was after yesterday as I'd eaten lunch already.

The toilets are just the ones in the main John Lewis shop. They're on the same floor, and as it's the top floor they tend to be not visited very often, quiet, and clean -- but if you're on your own (as I tend to be when working), it can be a bit of a pain to pack up all your stuff, go pee, and then come back -- and possibly find your table has been cleared of the tea you hadn't finished. I would leave a note, just to be sure. Or, you know, go before you go.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I currently put some of my sheet music on Lulu so that people who prefer a professionally-printed copy to download can order it.

It's also handy for sending Patreon rewards to those supporters who have subscribed to printed copies. It's a bit of a pain because there's significant delay to printing compared to me doing it at home, but I can get saddle-stitched booklets from Lulu and I am rubbish at hand-binding booklets myself: my printer only goes up to A4, so I either have to make everything tiny, or deal with tape and so on. It isn't good. The quality at Lulu is much better.


Lulu is a rather spammy. They charge what they do and then offer discounts via codes they send to your e-mail inbox so often that gmail has started filing them as spam for me.

They charge an absolute fortune for shipping, and it increases per copy, rather than per shipment. My guess is they're trying to factor some kind of per-item quality control into their shipping costs? I dunno. I just know that if you send 10 4-page booklets in real life, it doesn't cost 10x as much as sending 1 of them. With larger items I'd understand doing the shipping this way, but most of my items are small, and I'm generally ordering relatively small quantities too.

They don't include VAT in displayed prices, which means that between that and the shipping it's easy to end up spending twice as much as you intended to.

Lulu isn't really meant to be a sheet music seller and so there's no way for people to search my work there by number of voices, or whether it's accompanied, or whatever. And it's not somewhere people are going to go looking for sheet music. Some of this I could maybe fix by putting more links on my website, as realistically that's where most people are going to be when they decide to buy my music, but still -- it would be better, I think, to be publishing in a place that people look when they are looking for sheet music.

There are music print-on-demand services like Black Ribbon Select, but they tend to charge monthly; and in the months I'm putting a hymn online, ie a single page I can print myself, I wouldn't be ordering. It doesn't look as if the music ends up in a searchable site that consumers can browse.

There are other allegedly print-on-demand sites but they tend to be selling, er, downloads you print yourself. Completely unnecessary as my music is online for free. I am absolutely committed to the principle behind this, so that's no good.

There are publishing houses that focus on works that are already in the public domain; in theory, they could print and sell any of my CC-by-SA works and I wouldn't see a penny. I don't have a problem with this: they still can't (legally) prevent copying, and it's not like they'd have much of a sales plan given the stuff is available online.

I think what I'd like is something like Lulu that is less "oh, you mean I'm actually paying THAT much?!" and more sheet-music oriented; something that explicitly promotes the work of people who also make their music available for download for free; something that both has its own community feel (so people can search the site for choral music on whatever subject, and so on) and also offers some kind of widget/button so that people can add things to their basket there from my site.

I am realistically never going to get around to doing this; but I do think there could be a market for it. Yes, I know sheet music apps are becoming a thing, but a) large screens are breakable and small ones have too many page turns b) paper doesn't tend to run out of battery, so I think paper sheet music is probably still going to be a thing for a while, the way printed books are going to be a thing for a while even though we also ahve e-books.


Feb. 7th, 2017 01:48 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
This morning, I woke up feeling reasonably energetic, washed, had breakfast, did my morning pages, and thought, "I'll get loads of composing done today!".

Then I fell asleep and woke up at 10.30am. Clearly I am still catching up on sleep after last week.

To my credit, I did then actually get some composing done: more on my SATB setting of 'Winter Stars' by Sara Teasdale, which is for a competition.

Not so much on the reading, unfortunately, though I did do some admin.


Feb. 6th, 2017 10:28 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Sunday, 5th February:
Slept late, eventually dragged myself out of bed in time for the Eucharist at St Paul's Cathedral (11.30am, the last morning Eucharist on a Sunday that I can get to). Nice Mass setting (I forget the composer) with lots of plainchant-y motifs; lovely Finzi anthem setting words definitely old enough for me to set, too; a Collect that is probably still in copyright but that I might be able to find an out-of-copyright version of, somewhere. I have the order of service in a pocket, so will have to transfer the various texts to appropriate places, and listen to the Mass setting with a score in front of me if possible.

I missed the psalm though. Services without any psalms feel incomplete to me; especially when there are only two readings and the one that isn't the Gospel is an Epistle. This was especially ironic given that the Gospel reading had Jesus telling the disciples that not one letter or stroke of a letter of the Law would pass away "until all is accomplished". So, yes, reasons I am an Anglo-Catholic: I want more scripture in my church services than I tend to find elsewhere. But I digress; I mentioned the psalm because I'm wondering if, specifically, psalms of lament might be a good area for me to explore as part of the PhD.

After that, off to St Mary's Rotherhithe for an Accession service with the London Gallery Quire. Because of the way the church is ordered, we almost never end up with enough space; it's really very odd. Yesterday was no exception, and I think we had some trouble with timing which could have been alleviated had the band been able to sit together, but the service on the whole went reasonably well and there were certainly some good moments.

Today (Monday 6th Feb):
Personal stuff until evening, then off to Southwark Cathedral with CLESO to learn about and play the organ there. I'm fond of the cathedral, and the organ is a T.C. Lewis which is not entirely dissimilar to the one I played at St Andrew's, though of course it's bigger and in better repair. As there were considerable numbers of us we didn't each get a long time to play each, but I did get to chat with the Director of Music a bit. I mentioned my supervisor's relative fluency composing in just about any style, and he pointed out that Rutter is like that, too -- he "makes his living from the sweet stuff" but is actually an incredible craftsman. And that in turn is interesting to me; maybe instead of learning about various bits of the 20th-century Western academic musical canon by reading books about them, I should be reading as little as possible and just attempting to write in each style, even if only for a few bars. It might be fun to do this almost as a sort of abecedarium... "A is for Adams, a rhythmic minimalist, B is for Boulez," etc -- just as an exercise, you understand -- though if I do it well enough it could also be a didactic tool for others.

Tomorrow I'm hoping will be full of composing and reading, at least in the daytime.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
It's been a bit of a week and I have struggled to update here!

ULCC sang my Nunc dimittis (YouTube) at St Mary's Eversholt St. It went well, and was well-received. If you want to hear it again in a better version than YouTube, it'll be sung in St Mary's Undercroft Chapel, Parliament, on Tuesday 21st March; I'm not exactly sure what time the service will be.

In the evening I went to St Mary's Addington where they were having the licensing of a curate combined with sung Compline. This combination is sufficiently unusual that I thought it would be worth going, and... well, it was, but it was over in about half an hour, including the bishop preaching. We were using the Common Worship modern language version of Compline, which is in modern-ish blobs notation, and I have to say I do prefer the trad language version with chant notation: plainchant is much easier to read in that version.

Did my tax return. This was an entire day before The Last Minute, which isn't bad going really. Besides that? Not a lot of other work-work, though I did do some various bits of healthwork and housework, and a smidgen of composing.

Medical appointment in the morning (I'm fine).

In the afternoon I had a meeting with Francis about LGQ CD stuff. We met in Sunflower, a little place on Leytonstone High Road that sells crepes, icecream, milkshakes, and various other tasty bits and pieces -- savoury as well as sweet. There's no background music, there's free wifi (ask for the password at the counter), and they've never had a problem with me turning up and working for a few hours.

Choosing repertoire for a CD is a bit like choosing hymns, only with more flexibility. That flexibility can be good or bad; there are over 500 pieces in the LGQ repertoire, and we needed to choose twenty of them. I'ts just as well that we had a short list of pieces that had been suggested by various members of the Quire, and that the CD itself has a seasonal theme so we needed pieces to fit that.

Then, in the evening, I went to Southampton, so sing some music by my friend Gemma who I've known for years. The occasion was a song circle in support of a pilgrimage, and the songs were all to do with Brighid, the Celtic saint/warrior goddess, as it was Imbolc Eve. It was slightly challenging to me to learn the songs without any musical notation, though I have always had a fairly good memory and managed well enough; for some of them I and others improvised some harmonies. And in another lifetime, I could do a PhD in sacred choral music in the context of this modern, pagan/pagan-ish movement which is so often expressed in homegrown, small groups, working with the resources they have and with a shared heritage that is not entirely canonical. But I'm in this lifetime, and taking part in such worship doesn't sit easily with my Christian faith; and observing wouldn't necessarily be welcome. As it was, though, I was glad to be there to support my friend, and her songs were both moving and singable. And I was able to record them when we sang them at the end of the session, which hopefully will be useful.

On the train on the way home I worked on a hymn setting, and put a hymn I'd composed earlier onto Patreon to make sure I get paid this month. I still need to put it on CPDL and my website, and provide MIDI robots and so on.

When I got home I submitted two hymns to the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music -- a day late, as the deadline was actually Monday, but as the form was still on the website I decided to go for it. We'll see. I also made a submission to a Canadian composing competition; this one was within the deadline, thanks to time zone differences (it was well after midnight), but it wasn't the piece I've been working on and which I hoped to submit, as I haven't finished that one. Instead I took another piece, which I submitted to a different competition earlier in the year but hadn't published yet, and re-arranged it for SATB. Well, we'll see.


On Wednesday I was rather tired. I did review the LGQ CD choices, and send a copy of my Magnificat without the score reduction off to ULCC for printing, and managed some errands, and then there was LGQ rehearsal.

Today has been quite quiet, and a good thing, too. Tomorrow will be fairly busy, and I really needed the more restful day that I had today.


artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)

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