It is easy to imagine that planning and organization is this antithesis of “creative” work. We are artists after all – driven by inspiration, sometimes compulsive feelings, plenty of passion of course. But this unbridled emotional condition lends itself only briefly to the creative process.
Once again, our Composer of Music for Art takes her morning stroll with spaniel mix, Deuce, the canine muse. Thoughts flow to her newest creative effort – a 12-tone melody. 12-tone is a great example of the rather prominent position of planning and ordering in the creative process. For 12-tone is all about working within a highly structured system for creating and presenting musical lines and harmony. Essentially, we must use all 12 notes of the chromatic scale once in our melody before we can repeat any of those 12 notes. Further, we must take the chosen order of our 12 notes and run them through retrogrades, inversions and retrograde inversions before we can return to the original 12-tone melodic statement.
So once our Composer has made her choice of a 12-tone sequence, the project immediately becomes all about choosing an order of retrograde, inversion and retrograde inversion presentations of the sequence, as well as decisions about presenting these variations as melodic or harmonic elements.
We find ourselves quickly wrapped in an intellectual exercise which seems the antithesis of the romantic notion of the artist at work. But although we have accepted upon ourselves rather strictly defined parameters, we are nonetheless involved with creative choices in planning, aesthetic considerations in project execution.
Don’t despair this particularly dark part of the tunnel, as you walk through this planning stage of your work. And don’t despair the nuts and bolts struggle of introducing these strictly defined elements into the piece. For this is the very moment of bringing something from nothing, this is the very moment of transformation from conceptual to physical. All your important work after this will be taking your crayons and carefully coloring in.
And don’t despair this feeling of loneliness, perhaps a feeling of incompetence, limitation, as you wrestle with this transformation of material from the conceptual to the physical. You are not alone. You are fully engaged and unified, in a most profound way, a way unique to artists, with the Artist, the Creator.