Music For Bionic Ears: Progress Report

Wednesday 19 January 2011

This was going to be a standard progress update on the Music For Bionic Ears concert, tickets for which are selling fast. However, there is now a bad twist ending. I’m talking M. Night Shyamalan bad; I’m talking that episode of Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected with the bee-baby bad.

Up until 15 minutes ago, things had been going okay, more or less. I’d been immersed in getting the final rendering, editing and mix of my piece, that state of drudge-work which leaves you convinced there is nothing remotely imaginative or interesting in your music. My main points of reflection during this process were:

  • I need the instrument timbres to be clear….
  • but not so clear that it sounds like I’m playing keytar for Howard Jones!
  • These steady rhythms are really pissing me off now.
  • These irregular rhythms sound like slop.
  • Now I’m just aping Morton Feldman.
  • Better than Howard Jones, I guess.
  • I should just use something I’ve already made…
  • except that would show blatant contempt for my intended audience.
  • As soon as this is over, I swear I’m going to read the instructions for this software.
  • Let’s try transposing this passage one octave higher.

I have just discovered a basic error in my initial calculations for implementing the tuning in this piece. This means that everything I’ve done up to now is useless. Somehow, I had managed to listen to the two differently-tuned ranges of notes without ever hearing them both together. Everything will now have to be done over, from the top.

At least I know what it is I have to do, which is always the trickiest bit.