Composing as Whittling, or, Less is More

12/30/11 – Composing is often thought of as constantly adding notes.

But sometimes whittling or paring back what you’ve already written is an important part of the editing process.

Keep only the essentials; clear out the filler, the redundant, the indulgent, the showy, the superfluous.

Today was a day where, despite having the double barline in sight, I stepped back from the urge to finish a piece, and instead took stock.

I took away notes instead of adding them.

That can be a good day of composing too; one of the best.

12/31/11 – But of course, compositional ‘whittling’ is only part of a process that, if we’re fortunate, does indeed end in a double barline.

And, as we near the double barline of 2011, I wish you all many more notes added than whittled, be they written, played, or listened to, in 2012.

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