artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I'm feeling skint again (quelle change) and I was thinking aloud about this over at the [community profile] crowdfunding community. I got some good advice, and have some ideas to be getting on with.

Specifically, though, I'm wondering how people would feel about something like this? It's a bit like [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl events, which seem to work quite well.

I arrange a work -- say, "She's like the swallow", for descant and treble (that's soprano and alto) recorders, since I'm actually working on that at the moment.

When I finish it, I'll post and say so, and you can buy the sheet music from my Lulu shop, but not for another full calendar year (or other arbitrary date). But if crowdfunding for it reaches, say, £100 (or some other amount, I'm going to base it on the length of the pieces though) by the end of the week, I will not only unlock the physical sales, but also put the sheet music online next month for anyone to use. If you donate, your name will go in the .pdf, and for £15 (or some other amount, again this will depend a bit on the length, especially as anything more than two sides of A4 needs me to send it away for printing) you will get a printed copy, signed by me (whether or not the total goal is reached).

The plan would be to wait until I have 5 or 6 different arrangements -- maybe a couple for recorders, some vocal ones, some brass ones -- and then have a sort of sale, so I can batch the admin. There will be robotic instruments playing a selection from each piece. Any that don't reach their total amount can be held back to go into a later sale; I can also say "if the total for this sale reaches £500 (or some other amount), there will be a bonus arrangement" and then people can vote on which one that should be.

I'm not sure of the right timescale. Monthly has some advantages, but I'm not sure I actually have time and spoons to produce enough arrangements and do all the associated admin on a monthly basis while I'm also composing and doing a PhD. Quarterly might be better to start out with. I also need to work out whether to host it here at Dreamwidth or at my Wordpress blog, which I tend to keep for more polished updates. I'm leaning toward there, because for people who aren't from the livejournalliverse, WP looks more "professional"; but here would let me do things like polls in a way that I'm not sure how to on WP. I'll have to think about this further, and explore the technical options.

The idea is that this would be a supplement to, not a replacement for, my composing income.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Would you prefer it with prompts, so you can request more arrangements of Canadian folk songs for recorder duo, or of Swedish music for Sancta Lucia arranged for upper voices, or of Easter hymns for brass quintet? Is this the sort of thing you would contribute to? Is it the sort of thing you would signal boost?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Would you like to be sung to sleep? Or, if sleep really is unattainable, how about some soothing, calming music, music without words, to listen to while you are awake?

Megan Ihnen is commissioning over 25 composers, including yours truly, to compose wordless lulllabies for the sleepless, which she will then record. I'm very pleased to be involved. I saw her quote-tweet Shaya Lyon, who said, "On my list of fantasy commissioning projects: wordless lullabies for the sleepless, sung by @mezzoihnen". Megan wanted to know if composers were interested; I thought it was such a good idea that I jotted down a rough draft pretty much immediately.

But we need your help to make it happen. Wordless Lullabies for the Sleepless is a project that takes time, commitment, and resources. Megan is insistent that every composer should be paid, for which I'm very grateful. And of course, each lullaby will take planning, rehearsal, recording, and editing.

So there's a Kickstarter for the project. It ends on Monday 10th April. Please join us. And sleep well.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
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 )
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.

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