Looooong time no post!

I’ve been plodding along despite having a bad cold. I’ve been in 2 brass band concerts, a wind dectet concert, and, um, that’s it, but lots of rehearsals for the Mbawula Sing! Africa concerts this Thursday and Friday. When that’s over with I have another brass band, wind ensemble, and symphony orchestra. All the rehearsals have kept me off of the Aikido mat, which is unfortunate but unavoidable; I’ll be getting back to it next Thursday, I hope.

Class went really well yesterday. I generally enjoy my arranging class, but yesterday was particularly rewarding.

I learned about diminished (octatonic) scales, and quartive harmonies, and stuff like that, and got more certain about how to refer to the degrees of the chord; they’re interval-based, not sequence-of-scale based (this is not actually important if you aren’t in a scale with a non-standard number of notes, but I was), but using a higher number implies a chain of 3rd below it, which is why a sus-4 is different than a chord with an extension tone that’s an 11th. Also learned about Lydian Dominant mode, which I hadn’t encountered before; it’s got the raised 4th note of Lydian, and the lowered 7th note of Mixolydian, and one of the reasons this is cool is because the harmonic series has those (before it has, say, the ordinary raised 7th or P4th from tonic).

I got a question answered about the F9#11 chord that I wasn’t quite sure how to harmonize in 4-way close, as well as a typo corrected. I need to go through my draft of that assignment, chord by chord, and make sure that I’ve actually got the right notes in the right places. Proofreading in music is not as easy as proofreading English.

I like learning this stuff. It tickles my brain! It stretches! I might go get that Schoenberg book out of the library to read over my trip to Canada. Does that make me a hopeless swot? Probably. Do I mind? Not really.

I’m feeling a little less happy about the improvisation class, which I find rather on the ill-defined side, and don’t enjoy as much as I hoped I would. I’m considering whether it’s worth trying to switch to conducting. I think the only sane way to do this would be to do some of the work the conducting class has already done while I’m away over Christmas; I’ll at least talk to Student Services and find out what’s involved. In the meantime I’ll stick with the improv class for now and see whether things settle a bit.

At the moment I’m in the process of trying to move house, which is taking up a lot of time and energy that would be better spent in other things. I need to guard my academic time carefully so that I don’t fall behind in the planning and documentation aspects of the degree. After that I’m off to Canada to visit family for a while, which will be a welcome change.

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