“thinking notes,” ken calls them. lingering on the same note for an extra moment, an extra beat, sorting what’s next. well, technically, it would rarely just be only one beat or one moment, but that would require more explanation. i suppose most composers are familiar with this.
writing on the fly – improvisational but with a sense of theme – is surely plotting and scheming, figuring out in the nanoseconds ahead what will come. the moments you are deep into a recording and you somehow skew the rhythmic pattern – or the melodic gesture – you’ve developed, and you know that twist will change it all. your brain delivers a quick “plot twist” faceslap to your hands and you keep going. and, for the most part, no one is the wiser for the turn in the road, save for your producer.
outside the bookstore in the little mountain town the sign made us stop, nodding our heads. sometimes it’s the plot twists – and the unanswered prayers – that save us. we think we know best. we etch the plans in stone.
but those moments come and nothing stays the same, for even the tiniest twist in the road changes latitude or longitude, beat pattern, melody line. and they deliver with them the grace to play a little thinking note, take a little breath, close your eyes tightly and then reopen them – and then keep going.
hold your plans – and your plot twists – gently.