SCP #35: A Love, Sweet And Secret
Apparently I'm 9.5% of the way through this project, which doesn't seem very far at all. I already feel that my process is becoming stale, so I introduced some rigorous serial composition into today's piece to shift me away from habit. I took the words ruby and secret from yesterday's title and used them as the basis for the composition.
I focussed on the word ruby for the musical elements, assigning each letter a number based on its position in the alphabet. I manipulated the numbers to produce the bass movement, chord structure and melody of the first section, with a little gentle massaging to create something that made harmonic sense. For the second section I transposed the chord progression and added my own free choice of melody. My inner critic was quiet during this process, and I was able to enjoy the musical problem-solving without wondering if the result was any good.
I was less detached from the lyrics, and spent a very long time trying to figure out the second verse. I started out with a search for secret in the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore and the Occult Sciences. It includes a section with the meaning of different flowers, and the entry "Honey flower - love sweet and secret" gave me the first line of the text. I made a mind map for the word ruby, and focussed on the words flame and heirloom from that mind map for the rest of the lyrics.
Fleshing out the opening line and these two themes into lyrics was as much a problem-solving exercise as the music, but language is far less mathematical than music, so it requires more imagination to work with. This comes with the burden of being more personally involved, which I think is part of the reason my inner critic is harder to turn off when working on the lyrics as opposed to the music. I think I need to find ways of working with the text in a more systematic fashion, so that I can leave my personal judgement out of the writing space for as long as possible.