August 8, 2009

Toccata = doodle

Here’s another attempt to not try at all, to just go with the flow and make some sounds. Never as easy as it should be, since when you’re composing the flow is constantly getting ahead of you.

This is the kind of lazy goofing that I was churning out a lot of in college, 10 years ago. I remember when I saw the score to John Adams’ Road Movies in 2000, or whenever it was published, I was flabbergasted that he could get away with that sort of thing, because I knew just how very easy and superficial that sort of thing was. His pieces are all longer and generally better balanced than this, of course… but then again he probably puts more time into them, right? Maybe not. Also, I always get the sense with him that he intentionally picks slightly ugly or misshapen licks for his “fun-time” movements so that they’ll seem art-ier, which I don’t find sympathetic at all.

Not me! These little fun-time doodles are the little fun-time doodles, not their would-be cubist cousins.

The four hits in the bass at 1:30 are my way of acknowledging that Mr. Adams has elbowed into this territory in my head. But trust me, I was doing exactly this sort of thing before I had any clue that he was.

Actually I just listened and this isn’t least bit like John Adams. Whew.

Sorry I keep writing pieces that require me to play very evenly, and then can’t play very evenly. Especially on this keyboard.


UPDATE: score, for posterity, or my father, whichever comes first.


  1. The only place I hear any Adams at all is the last 2 quarter beats of measure 2. I hear a teensy (sorry, you’ll hate this) Antheil at the top of page 4! These are not bad things. (It’s probably terrible to say one bar in someone’s new piece sounds like someone else. Even randomly chosen notes will sometimes sound like something already written.)

    I wish it ended on an E minor chord.

    Thanks for the score.

    More in an email….

    Posted by John Q Adams on |

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