Small breakthrough (?)

For several weeks now, I’ve been struggling with getting “Iris” under way. It’s been frustrating, a weird circuitous process of reworking the same ideas over and over, trying to find a way to get them to go together, and largely failing.

A form for the piece seemed to have been emerging, more or less as follows:

A. Slow, ametric, based on drones and largely quintal harmony.
B. Moderate, 12/8, based on a short melodic ostinato with slower melody developing.
C. Slow again, more etherial and ambient in quality.
D. Fast, rhythmic, dissonant, with jagged mixed meters, increasingly tense.
A’. Sudden return to drones, etc.

I was having no trouble coming up with ideas, but they just weren’t coming together; they seemed too much like random, disjointed rambling, and I couldn’t figure out how to make them fit with each other into an organized, coherent piece.

This afternoon I realized that a lot of my problems could be solved if I simply got rid of everything I was thinking of doing for the B section, and instead replacing it with what I had originally been planning for section D. I hate to lose the B material; a lot of it was very interesting, but it will sound better in a different piece.

So now, what seems most likely is for “Iris” to be in an extended arch form: ABCBA, where both B sections are the dissonant, rhythmic idea. As so often happens, the solution lay in simplification. I’ve had to learn that lesson so often over the years, its a wonder it isn’t second nature to me by now.

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