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  1. Jun 2022
    1. For anyone who reads music, the sketchbooks literally record the progress of hisinvention. He would scribble his rough, unformed ideas in his pocket notebook andthen leave them there, unused, in a state of suspension, but at least captured withpencil on paper. A few months later, in a bigger, more permanent notebook, you canfind him picking up that idea again, but he’s not just copying the musical idea intoanother book. You can see him developing it, tormenting it, improving it in the newnotebook. He might take an original three-note motif and push it to its next stage bydropping one of the notes a half tone and doubling it. Then he’d let the idea sit therefor another six months. It would reappear in a third notebook, again not copied butfurther improved, perhaps inverted this time and ready to be used in a piano sonata.

      Beethoven kept a variation of a waste book in that he kept a pocket notebook for quick capture of ideas. Later, instead of copying them over into a permanent place, he'd translate and amplify on the idea in a second notebook. Later on, he might pick up the idea again in a third notebook with further improvements.

      By doing this me might also use the initial ideas as building blocks for more than one individual piece. This is very clever, particularly in musical development where various snippets of music might be morphed into various different forms in ways that written ideas generally can't be so used.

      This literally allowed him to re-use his "notes" at two different levels (the written ones as well as the musical ones.)