As I studied for my finals today, I started to wonder about my creative process when it came to composing music and writing novels/stories.
When I sit down to compose, I start with an idea. For example, in my Particles piece, I focused on the idea of representing quantum mechanics in music. With this idea firmly in mind, I set out to research, or in my case review, basic principles in quantum mechanics and the main equations that govern the behavior of particles. I looked for patterns, for characteristics that kept popping up in the equations and theoretical principles, and noted each pattern and each concept in my music journal. I then focused on certain patterns, narrowing down my choices. The patterns I picked became the framework of the song. The rest of the song was me re-constructing those chosen patterns through the pattern’s equations and their resulting numerical results, which gave me the melodic and harmonic material for the piece.
I took an idea, explored it and researched it, and then implemented it into written form. This idea then came alive through the performers, who took my written word, interpreted it, and presented it through the realm of sound.
When I write, I also start with an idea. This idea often manifests itself as a scene, where a character or two is performing an action, so it differs from my composition methods in that the initial idea does not cover a large area, instead it’s more of a glimpse of a small piece of a larger story. From that glimpse, I expand outward. Each step backwards I take gives me a clearer picture of the entirety of the possible project. I start to explore the characters in the idea scene through written exercises. I start to build the world that surrounds them, and through the creation of the world and the character exercises, I am able to reconstruct the plot that caused the original idea scene.
In composition I start with a large over-arching idea and then narrow it down into a small collection of patterns that I can represent through music.
In writing, I start with a piece of a puzzle, and I expand outward until I can see its entirety. Then I sit down and write what I see.
How would you define your creative process?