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Unexpected new direction, feeling a bit lost

So, the past few days I've been revisiting one of my old pieces and re-orchestrating it. After finishing the first main theme, I decided on a whim that instead of continuing to the second main theme as I had previously written, I would insert a fugato passage based on a variation of the main motif, just as a fun embellishment. So I spent the past 2 days writing a mini fugue-like passage and today I got to the climax of the fugato... The new passage sounds totally awesome (if I do say so myself), but I just realized that it has also taken the piece in a completely new direction, and I have no idea how to link it back to any of the extensive material I had written for it in the past! Now I'm feeling a little lost...

Has any of your compositions ever taken on a life of its own, as it were, so that it starts going off in a direction that you never expected and ends up somewhere that you have no idea where to go next? What do you do when you find yourself in this situation? Forcefully draw it back on track, or just go with the flow and see where it ends up? (Even if it means you're basically throwing away 90% of the previous work you've done on it?)

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Comment by Nick Capocci on June 11, 2015 at 3:58pm
Seems an odd way to compose. Try starting in the middle and working both ways at once!
Comment by Al Johnston on April 26, 2015 at 5:42pm

I look at those situations as a wonderful opportunity to practice compositional technique. (LoL) But seriously, such happy accidents are what the art is all about. Happily we live in the present age and can just "go with flow." However, I find that the more discipline that I can bring to bear upon what I write the better.

Being born in the current age, going with the flow is 2nd nature and all too easy. Often I use it as an excuse to write the same old stuff (you know, the stuff that sounds like everybody else). But when I work to achieve a "reconciliation," as you describe, something happens ... a synergy ... that takes the writing of the piece out of the ordinary.

Comment by H. S. Teoh on April 26, 2015 at 12:31am

Thanks!! I'll take your word for it. :-)  It does jive with my experience that my best pieces tend to be those that just kinda "write themselves", if you know what I mean, rather than pieces that I had grand plans for but the musical content just doesn't quite fit into the mold I made for it very well.

Comment by Tim Marko on April 25, 2015 at 11:04pm

HS

Go with the flow!  Sometimes, no matter how hard we plan and envision what we want, the music takes us somewhere else.  Don't fight it, let it go where it wants, even if it means throwing away 90%.  As long as it gets you to a better place, that's the price we pay!  (FWIW, Some of my best work never got to the page!)

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