artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-18 12:39 pm
Entry tags:

CamelChicken (humpday check-in)

It is Wednesday, and here we are.

A breath for Wednesday.


I got my scholarship report form done, and some composing, and wound down the thing I was going to wind down, and poked at the Cecilia's List database and website some more, and did a bunch of planning.

The Hard

There is not enough sleep in the entire world. I could say this is partly due to a nutrtional change, or the weather, or the diminishing daylight, and that would all be true, but it's mostly due to the really obvious: staying up way too late, even though I know I don't sleep well in the mornings. Some of this was warranted, some of it was... not wrong timing, exactly, but after a run of late nights it feels odd and tricky to get back onto earlier ones again. Things feel really hard when I don't give the perishing meatsack enough sleep. A breath for snoring.

There is a Social Situation that is so concerning, I'm considering writing to Captain Awkward about it. I'm not going to go into the details here, but it involves in-person interactions and keepng myself and a friend safe. A breath for trusting my instincts. A breath for asking for help.

I am getting different messages from different places about my PhD requirements, and it is freaking me out. I suspect either I've been automagically added to the wrong mailing list, or there are some new requirements for PhD students as a result of a faculty merger thing which are not really on the radar yet for my supervisors; in any case, it's basically a case of Schrödinger's Research Paper, ie I don't know whether I have to write and present one. A breath for it's just one paper, not an entire PhD. A breath for calm down and find out which information is correct.

Frustrating paypal-related admin is frustrating, and blocking my access to (already paid-out) income from Patreon. The timing of this -- while my spouse is changing jobs and we have a gap in our income -- is... unfortunate. A breath for slow bureaucracy taking as long as it takes.

I didn't meet any of the composing competition deadlines this past weekend.

The Good

I caught the staying up too late and have made some progress toward shifting it, though the test wll be this evening when I have a rehearsal until 21.30 and don't get home until at least 22.30. A breath for feeling a bit better already.

I am trying a much-simplified morning routine: 7am wake/wash/dress, 8am breakfast, 9am walk/cycle/movement, 10am work until lunch (with wifi off, no less). That's... a long time for each of those things. But it also recognises that realistically, after I shower I hate getting dressed immediately and prefer to sit around in a towel and dressing gown until I'm quite a bit more dry and it isn't always appropriate for me to do that while eating breakfast. It recognises that on a bad jointcrap day, everything takes longer and I may need to either walk slowly, or abort the walk and do physio instead. It recognises that having exactly 17 minutes to eat my breakfast doesn't play well with my anxiety about getting things done. It recognises that afternoons are wiggly and appointment-ful. So far, this feels kinder than some of my previous routine attempts. We'll see. A breath for experimentation. A breath for noticing what I need and what I don't need.

I have e-mailed one of my supervisors to ask for clarification re: Schrödinger's Research Paper. A breath for seeking clarity. At the moment I'm not yet in trouble over this: a gold star for not letting it get that bad. Worst-case scenario looks like: I have to Do the Thing and Nobody Knew. So, I submit a topic by 1st November, make an extra trip to Aberdeen mid-December to present. This is not actually terrible in terms of how it interacts with my other deadlines and financial stuffs. A breath for perspective.

Someone made a donation to help get Cecilia's List up and running, which means that once the frustrating paypal-related admin stops being frustrating, there is money to spend on a proper domain name, and some adverts in things like Choir and Organ magazine. A breath for encouragement.

My maybe-bricked smartphone isn't. Another customer on the support forums gave me useful information about the magic button presses to get to recovery mode, wipe the data, and start over. Would that the actual tech support people had done so a week and a half ago; but a breath for all timing is right timing. I spent some time yesterday getting it set up again with my various preferred apps and aids, and will in due course give the borrowed Nokia 3310 back to the friend I borrowed it from. A breath for technology. A breath for easier connectivity on my own terms. A breath for not exacerbating jointcrap by pressing buttons to type.

I have realised it may be possible for me to get cheap-ish "spare" spectacles from one of the online places, and that extended-wear contact lenses are a thing, and a rather better one than they were last time I tried contact lenses around fifteen years ago. Given my current specs are held together with superglue and it's been over three years since my last eye test, it's time to do somethng about this, but I had been putting it off because of the expense, and then worrying my glasses might break. But now I can visit the optician, get my prescription, and order glasses online -- relatively cheaply -- and if my glasses break I will not be as badly off as I had feared. And if it looks like contacts are a thing, then I may only ever need the "spare" glasses. All this depends on my prescription (which may be too strong for the online glasses ordering, let alone the fancy shmancy contact lenses), but it no longer feels overwhelming and terrible. A breath for relief.


Composing! Phd-related: St Lawrence's Tears. Chapel choir commission. Some competitions for end of October: three I'd really like to enter, a further two I could enter. Of the first three, one is a Canadians-only one that I've done some of the groundwork for (for another competition, not entered); one is a set-text hymn tune (I can crank these out fairly reliably); one is Canadians-only and fairly prestgious, but also postal entry which can pose some practical challenges. Of the "could enter", one is a set-text carol which could be done hymn-style, and one is a carol which would be ideal for "Like Silver Lamps". There are things already-written I coudl put on Patreon, and I might opt for that this time, simply because I have so much other composing to do. None of these have to be done this week, but this week will be important in laying groundwork to get them done.

Cecilia's List: keep working on the database. E-mail some more composers to ask for catalogues of their sacred works (yes, eventually I'll just get them to fill out a form and it will be automagical, but for now it's all hand-picked). Write a press release, or pay someone to write one for me. Keep poking at the website.

Maintenance: book an appointment with the optician, and another with the dentist. Attempt some kind of catch up on filing and tidying.


Basically? Keep going with the daly routine I have now. Tomorrow I'm meeting someone mid-day-ish, so my walk gets replaced by a commute, but then there is somewhere quiet I can work. From Saturday to Wednesday, I'm away in Salisbury with ULCC. We're singing the services Monday-Wednesday. I'm intending to use the time as a sort of composing retreat, hiding away in my room (or a quiet corner of the cathedral) as much as possible in the morning and early afternoon, and doing more social stuff in the evenings. This will take a bit of negotiation with people who may have assumed I'll be treating it as more of a holiday, but I have a PLN on how to handle that.

I need to make sure I get enough laundry done to get me through, before I pack.

How are you?

What have you done? What are your quests? What is your favourite food? What is hard in your life? What is good? What is your PLN (or plan)?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-11 07:59 am
Entry tags:

CamelChicken (humpday check-in)

It is Wednesday, and here we are.

A breath for Wednesday. A breath for the last full day in my away-from-home adventures in Aberdeen this trip, so it doesn't feel like humpday at all.


I got my MPhil very very rough draft outline done. I presented my work to a bunch of other composers in the Composers' Forum, and didn't die of impostor syndrome. I resurrected my monthly-ish newsletter, Passing Notes. I had a supervision with my PhD supervisor and he thinks I am "more than on track" to meet my various deadlines. I told him about my side project, Cecilia's List, and he was very supportive and enthusiastc, which I hadn't been sure of before. I dyed my hair blue and that totally counts as self-care, all right? A breath for fulfilling so many quests. A breath for recognition of what is necessary for me to be most myself.

The Hard

The Musical Hat Draw sale did not have the engagement I hoped for. That is, a total of one valiant person sponsored any music (thank you, lovely person!). I so much wanted it to work, because I loved the first bit of the experiment, and because something very similar seems to work so well for [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith, but it was not to be. In time, I will re-examine the whole experiment, and figure out what I might change in trying it again. For now, I am feeling sad, and trying not to succumb to using this as proof that I'm not really a real composer. A breath for grief.

Additionally, there are many good competitions and calls-for-scores out there, but I'm going to have to give up on all but a few of them; I just don't have time to do them and fulfil my already-committed-to obligations. This is not a bad thing, necessarily: the stuff that is on my plate is exciting and good for my career and good for the church music community and so on. But -- triage is hard for me. A breath for decisions. A breath for not trying to do everything.

Maybe it would help me to find a mental model of this which isn't based on an emergency room or field hospital: these tasks are not patients who are going to suffer if I don't personally attend to them. But I do find triage quite apt for the way I order my life: I focus on the Big Stuff That's Big, and on the Little Stuff That Could Get Big If I Leave It, depending which I can actually cope with at the time; and then, if I have any cope left over, on things that aren't going to get a lot better or worse if I attend to them or not, but still present themselves.

I am in pain today. A breath for noticing.

The Good

On Sunday I was feeling overwhelmed and overscheduled and overworked and I did not want to come to Aberdeen. By Tuessday afternoon before my supervision, I was feeling much better, despite not getting great sleep and a few other factors. Doing the work makes me feel better than not doing it, and this is such an excellent tool to have. Managed well, it can set off a feedback system where I do a bit of work, feel better, and use the feeling-better from that to do a bit more work, until I am riding some kind of productivity wave. (These eventually either peter out, or crash against the shore, but that's okay: there'll be another wave along presently. The trick is to avoid the rocks.)

A breath for finding my stride.


Today there is lots of being with people: with other composers, then with scholarship donors. I feel out of my element. I feel I need to be presentable and sociable and poised, and don't really know how to do this. Also, I'm probably going to be late for, and might be better to skip the coffee-with-other-composers thing. A breath while I send an e-mail saying I'm not sure if I'll make it; there, less pressure now.

I need to write a report, do lots of LGQ planning, finish a piece of music, make a good start on another one, wind down another unsuccessful project, book an appointment with the optician, and do some Cecilia's List-related things (add more composers, write press release). This is so many quests! A breath for do the next thing.

Optionally, there are three wider composing deadlines this weekend; one of them I'm going to miss because it's postal and I'd have to send stuff off today, one of them I don't think I can manage. That leaves the Juice Vocal Ensemble call for scores, for which I have an idea but haven't actually written it out yet. I'll have to see how I go with that. A breath for making these optional, not urgent.


Try painkillers, they usually help more than I expect them to.

Today has three appointments; tomorrow I am packing, then spending over 7 hours on a train. I'm pretty tired, but I think I can tackle the LGQ planning and maybe write the report today between appointments (I have a three-hour gap in the afternoon). Booking the appointment with the optician can wait until Friday when I'm in the same city as my optician. Can't do wind down until early next week. So that leaves the train journey tomorrow, and whatever time/energy I can muster on Friday, for composing, and CL stuff. Not ideal: I can't really count on being able to work on trains, because sometimes trying to do so makes me motion sick.

Do the next thing.

How are you?

What have you done? What are your quests? What is hard in your life? What is good? What is your PLN (or plan)? What is your favourite colour?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-09 11:19 pm

Musical Hat Draw Sale closes soon!

The Musical Hat Draw sale closes in just over 12 hours, as I write this. If you've been intending to sponsor some music but haven't gotten around to it, now would be a good time to do so.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-06 10:47 am

Le Sigh

Today's Quests are basically re-arranged to accommodate the fact that my phone failed, probably terminally, last night. It is in some kind of loop when it tries to restart, and appears to have bricked itself. It ought to still be within warranty; I am going to try running the battery right down and then giving it a complete full charge before I attempt any admin around getting it replaced, because its behaviour makes me think there may be some kind of static electrickery problem. (I have had such problems before with phones.)

Meanwhile, I've arranged to borrow a Nokia 3310 (2017), which in combination with Ye Olde Tablette, should keep me sortof in contact with the people I need to be in contact with. Heck, if this setup works out I might just buy a Nokia 3310 for myself, since the £50 it will cost is about as much money as I have spare to throw at this particular problem. I'll see how the battery life is in practice; the thing I loved about the now-dead phone is that it had a 5100mAh battery, which meant I could get about two days of my typical use out of it, rather than the roughly 14 hours that I have been getting out of smartphones of late. This meant no trying to keep track of spare power supplies, which of course also needed regular charging, and the associated short little bits of cable and so on. Also, no deciding whether I needed to carry same; anything that reduces my decision load is pretty much a win.

However, it Just Won't Do if it is going to randomly fail like that; and I'm loathe to go back to the puny battery life I've been dealing with previously. So, perhaps, a much plainer phone (with associated better battery life) is the answer, at least if I can't get Brickphone unbricked.

My plan for today is somewhat truncated as a result of the extra travel and time associated with this problem.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-04 05:17 pm
Entry tags:

Humpday Chicken (check-in)

It is Wednesday, and here we are.

A breath for Wednesday. A breath for pausing mid-week to listen to myself. A breath for making space.


I finished my Musical Hat Draw pieces and put them up for sale on Monday. (A breath for stepping into the unknown. A breath for trusting that the experiment will be useful.)

I resurrected my newsletter, Passing Notes, which I had not updated since 2016. (A breath for all timing is right timing. A breath for buildng connection and community.)


Write Composers' Forum talk. Write rough draft of MPhil upgrade paper. Choose text for St Cecilia commission. Finish carol for Willcocks. Re-write St Lawrence's Tears. Draft Snow Queens submission. Make progress in a number of other projects. A thousand squillion admin tasks.

The Hard

Overwhelm! I am feeling that I have too many Big Things to do this week, and not enough time to do them. I'm struggling to give myself enough downtime, and when I don't give myself the downtime in a planned and sustainable way, I tend to end up taking it in an unplanned and maybe less sustainable way, and then yelling at myself for it -- as if hating on myself will make me happy and/or productive.

Beloved spouse is changing jobs, and I have The Fear about money, even though having run the numbers several times we ought to be okay. I don't entirely trust us to get this right; I don't trust myself to not be too expensive. Oof. (A breath for oof.)

I launched the Musical Hat Draw sale on a Monday night, which is not the best time for such things, and the response has been slow so far, and I'm feeling as though my work doesn't matter. (A breath for waiting to see what happens at the weekend.)

The Good

I'm getting better at recognising the hard things as genuinely hard, and even at asking for help sometimes. (A breath for accepting myself as I am, not as who I wish I were.)

I am playing a "long game" in lots of areas at the moment and that means that Future Me will have options.

The money fear is not as bad as it was a month ago. Past Me has arranged it so my trips to Aberdeen for my studies are all paid for and I have a bit of cash there, too; so if everything goes sideways, one of the important things is still covered.


Rehearsal tonight, then I basically have two clear days.

Most of my tasks are bigger than one work session, though. So: divide and conquer!

The rough draft of the MPhil upgrade can be as simple as putting some headings on a piece of paper in the first iteration. The Composers' Forum talk is about four or five pieces of music of mine, I can write about them separately. The St Cecilia commission text selection is a pain in the arse, but if I'm stuck I can go wth one of the "hey make lots of music" psalms. If the Willcocks carol or the Snow Queens thing don't get done in time, I'll be annoyed, but the penalties are really low.

And each subtask, each minor achievement, can be followed by a rest, a break, a treat. Go for a walk. Have nice tea. Work on the scrumblecoat, for it is a Thing of Joy.

(A breath for it's actually still a lot of work, but I got this.)

How are you?

What have you done? What are your quests? What is hard in your life? What is good? What is your PLN (or plan)?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-03 09:48 pm

a Wednesday routine/structure/chicken/thing?

Thanks to [personal profile] kyleri I was reminded of the Fluent Self blog, and particularly the weekly chicken (check-in), a sort of being kind to yourself secular examen type of thing. I do like [personal profile] kyleri's format for it very much:
  • "It is [day] and we are here"

  • what works?

  • next time I might...

  • the hard

  • the good

  • the plan

But I do also like Havi's focus on superpowers.

Meanwhile: Twitter is full of Nazis, the Book of Face appears to have been implicated in messing around with votes for Trump and Brexit, and I don't see why I should keep giving either of them free content. Nopetastic.

But... a lot of my community is there. I'm a working musician and a certain amount of accessibility online is required for networking. I'm probably going to have to suck it up and have some presence on Twitter and the Book of Face until they go the way of MySpace and stop being important. But...I do think they'll go that way, and I think I need to build community elsewhere so that I have a viable exit plan. Like, for example, here.

Earlier in the year I stopped using Twitter and Facebook on Wednesdays for a while, but I wasn't very structured about the "building community elsewhere" bit.

Some of my friends do "Reading Wednesdays" and I had meant to participate in that, but I haven't done it yet.

So I'm wondering if some weekly questions or headings or whatnot here might be the way to go. Wednesday isn't, for me, a natural point at which to review my week, which I think of as starting on Sunday or Monday. But it might be a good mental breathing space, a good place to pause and check in with myself, to see how I'm doing in this week before it gets too hard or too long. I might even include what I've been reading.

It is late, and I am tired, and I will ponder this more tomorrow.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-10-02 10:41 pm

Musical Hat Draw Sale: "Stars"

The Musical Hat Draw Sale is online until 10th October at 12 noon BST! The theme is stars, and prices for music start at £20.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-09-29 03:58 pm


-hard scary admin, wth support from a friend

-read some poetry
-put a hymn tune online so I get paid, hurrah
-more on the Musical Hat Draw pieces; I'm now up to nearly 22h active time spent on them, and that doesn't include the passive time (e.g. going for a walk and thinking about a piece but not really keeping track of it). I have breakdowns of what I'm spending on each piece. I haven't recorded anything yet, and I think if I want to get these online before the world has entirely forgotten about them, I'm going to have to go with robot versions rather than actual recordings, which is a shame given these are pieces that have words. But perhaps I can add "better recordings" as a sort of stretch goal to some of them?
-told Hootsuite to do some tweeting for me
-finished O Nata Lux and sent it to choir director in Ireland who wants to premiere it
-realised Polyphonos/Esoterics competition is snailmail and so I can't enter it, because the (extended) deadline is tomorrow and the post just isn't that fast. Updated pinboard link to check back in 2018.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-09-27 05:53 pm
Entry tags:

worklog yesterday and today

-was on a train all day which does cramp my style a bit.
-did Twitter #musochat questions, asynchronously because they happen at around 2am UK time
-wrote draft of a hymn to use for September Patreon
-tried and failed to find a text that I like at all for St Cecilia
-arranged some in-person support from a friend for some Nasty Admin Tasks that have become too big for their boots

-remembered to search specifically for Canadian composing competitions, found a few more, added them to the list, wrote up index cards. One of them I could think of a suitable text for straight away, because when I had a cold recently I spent some time immersed in wikisource.
-promised to finish O Nata Lux by the end of the week for a choir in Ireland
-read some Canadian poetry in a rather desultory manner

Next up:
-harmonise hymn tune from yesterday, goal is to get it online tomorrow or Friday but it will need to sit overnight after harmonisation.
-work on Musical Hat Draw pieces -- get them off the page and into the computer as much as possible
-O Nata Lux
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-09-01 03:41 pm

Musical Hat Draw: "Stars"

I am seeking text submissions -- public domain, or your own work -- on the topic of "stars". Stars, starlight, outer space, planets and other celestial bodies, the sun, and so on are all relevant. Please read more and submit suggestions at my blog post about it.

It may be foolish to be trying out a new-to-me crowdfunding method at this exact moment in time, but I'm not abandoning anything else to do it, and I want to find out if it will fit. If it doesn't work out, I won't try it again for a while.

Thanks to [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith, upon whose Poetry Fishbowl this scheme is largely based.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-08-23 07:56 am

Cecilia's List: database structure stuff

Things I want to track about music:

Title/First line of text
Composer: Last name, first name, initials, birth year, death year, nationality, website, e-mail, role, link to contact composer, link to composer's website, notes
Arranger: all the info from Composer.
Date of composition/publication
Publisher (if applicable)
Genre (e.g. hymn, chant, anthem, canticle, responses, voluntary...)
Metre (for hymns)
Tune name (for hymns)
Duration (in time)
Duration (in verses, for hymns)
Hymnals the work is published in
Anthologies the work is published in
Url to order a deadtree copy
url to buy a download
url to a free download, if any legal
url to contact composer
Liturgical context: seasons, saints, services, themes, where in the service it might fit,
Scriptural references (this is fairly complicated because a piece might be relevant to one verse or to a range of them and it might skip some within that range, but at least someone has numbered the chapters and verses already, thank you Dominicans; I almost want to do this with a link to because that is a sensible site)
Lectionary Date (there are three years worth of these)
Related works (e.g. a Magnificat may be linked to a Nunc Dimittis)

Some of these are one-to-one relationships, some of them are one-to-many. I don't really get how to do the one-to-many thing, yet.

I think I need the following tables:
Liturgical context
Scriptural context
Lectionary Date
Relationships between works

But, I am not quite sure what I am doing...
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-06-19 02:14 pm
Entry tags:


Spent some time this weekend thinking about relational databases; I think I've figured out what structure I need, with some help from that [personal profile] hairyears, but I'm not really much closer to figuring out what software to use to achieve this. More on that in another post.

I'm thinking about whether to have a regular-ish Twitter chat for #CeciliasList, and so far most who have filled out the poll seem to like the idea. Maybe one or two Mondays a month? Not sure about timing, that's probably another poll. I do need to keep this manageable alongside a PhD. Similarly, I'd love to have some kind of launch concert -- on 22nd November, of course -- but I don't really see how I can organise one between now and then, unless I do it as some kind of scratch choir thing (but they work better for well-known works and a lot of these ones won't be).

I put some competition deadlines into my calendar.

I finally have both postcards and scores for sending out this month's Patreon rewards.

I took last week very gently, and this week is looking like very hot weather. The next composing deadline isn't until the end of July (I decided to scrap Leith Hill), so I'm hoping to spend the next couple of weeks basically finishing things off and tying up loose ends, of which I have a few floating about.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-06-16 02:05 pm

Database stuff

OK, for Cecilia's List I will need a database.

That is: the volume of information will get really stupid realyl fast if I try to do it without a database of some sort.

For now, I am happy enough with a database where I ask it for a report (which will include some html formatting) and then copy and paste that into a Wordpress page or blog post. Really! This is because this introduces a layer of human proofreading, and I like human proofreading.

It is over a decade since I did any kind of work with databases at all, and that was... rudimentary, to say the least. So I don't really know what I'm doing.
more on what I need/want, and not knowing how to get it )

Er, are any of you good at databases? I think Zair may be able to help me, but I'd like to get a better understanding of what I actually want before I throw myself at another helpful friend.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-06-01 07:38 pm

worklog: there is a spirit

I have decided to try and finish 'There is a Spirit' by 4th June for this call for scores.

Today I have mostly been on a train (I am still on a train), but I did at least do some prep work. The idea I have for the text I want to set (not going into detail, that would be telling!) requires rather a lot of said prep work; but I'm now at a point where I need to either make a decision about some syllables, or find out more information in order to make said decision. I've opted for asking the Twitter hivemind about it, and if I haven't heard back something useful by tomorrow I'll just... make the decision according to instinct.

I've lost a patron from Patreon but it was a relative so I don't feel like I can complain. Ho hum.

Yesterday was meant to be a day off, but then I realised that I needed to put Round Me Falls the Night online, so I did that instead.

Meanwhile, I'm going to be on this train for a while yet, and there are some fragments I can do without having made the syllables decision, so I think I'll put my mind to those.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-05-31 05:19 pm

Round Me Falls the Night

My newest choral piece, a setting of "Round Me Falls the Night" by William Romanis, is online. I'm afraid the recording is still robotic clarinets, but it should hopefully give you some idea of the sound of the piece.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-05-27 06:10 pm

I aten't ded

...just not posting much.

This week I have been mostly writing a Magnificat, which I've sent off for a competition entry; and messing about with a draft of a piece from a few months ago. Think I nearly have the layout sorted now; it's in 12 parts, and the piano reduction was a bit monstrous to piece together.

Last week I was putting the final touches on a setting of a poem by one of my patrons, commissioned by his wife for an important birthday. He seems pleased with it, and I'll go and see them both for a picnic tomorrow.

Today I was with London Gallery Quire for the first of two recording days for our new CD. It was enjoyable, the Quire is an amateur group and the CD is not going to be perfect. I felt we could have done a bit more, but also that there is wisdom in quitting while you are singing well and feeling good; I think definitely stopped at a good time.

Monday I'm on my way back to Aberdeen, with a supervision on Tuesday. I have not actually done the "short fast madrigal" my supervisor suggested I write. I have also not yet composed something to put on Patreon this month, and there isn't much of the month left to do it in, though I have an idea of what I'll do.

Extant commissions:
St Andrew's Cathedral
Wordless Lullabye

Forthcoming competitions:
Busan (probably can't be arsed) 31/5
Vox 04/06 (could use Sara Teasdale one for this, I think, if I can't write something in time, which I probably can't.)
Melodia (application, I don't have to write something unless commissioned) 15/6
Wilmslow (if I can get near an organ to try some things out? Not desperately fussed about this one to be honest) 31/7
Hendrix 01/8 (finding a text is going to be the hard bit)
Claremont 01/9
Laudem 15/9 (They've specified a text but their instructions aren't clear; I need to ask about it)
Polyphonos (application I think?) 15/9

Calls for Scores:
Pacific Edge 01/8
Juice Vocal Ensemble 16/10

short fast madrigal
there is a spirit
start thinking about Mass setting stuff
finish 'O Nata Lux'

Stuff on the general composing to-do list/back-burner:
Pigeons (I didn't get the Boston commission)
Gemma's poetry
Turn under plow
When on life's path (Adrian)
I always tried to write about the light
Dear Sir (maybe for Uncommon Music festival if they have it again)
Docbrush Ubi Caritas
SOMETHING for Choirs Against Racism. It's a matter of finding the right (public domain) text.
Down by the Whitening Birches
Wisdom hymn tune
The Just's Umbrella (subject to permission from author)
Nunc to match the Mag I submitted last night? But I may need to let the Mag sit for a while and do some revision.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-05-05 01:31 pm

Arranging and making some money?

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)
2017-05-01 11:19 pm


A while since I've potsted one of these...

-sent in Boston competition application
-sent in IGNITE competition application
-worked on two separate commissions
-sat on a train for over 7 hours

Still feeling behind and overwhelmed, but a bit more sorted than I was this time last week; and I think I'm getting some momentum back. (So, if I owe you an e-mail, you'll probably get it this week.)
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-04-29 12:48 pm

Strong and stable leadership

Tune: Royal Oak, or All Things Bright.
Thanks to @SNoozeInBrief on Twitter for the first line of the Refrain...

Strong and stable leadership
Of spite and greed and gall;
Right-wing tabloid readership;
The Tories hate us all.

1) Each child in every family
Each library and school;
The Tories steal their funds, and
Delight in being cruel.
Strong and stable leadership...

2) The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate;
The Tories strip their assets
To sell them to their mates.
Strong and stable leadership...

3) The doctors and the nurses
on whom we all rely:
Theresa will expel them
And won't care if you die.
Strong and stable leadership...

Feel free to add verses, if and only if you're happy for me to record them (or not, as I see fit.)
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
2017-04-05 10:24 pm

Sleep Songs: Wordless Lullabies for the Sleepless

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.