Manual labor

I’m often asked how I work when I compose and arrange music, and it seems to me that many people today work more in creating, rather than composing, new music. To me, the distinction is in the physical methods of the working process, and the methods of self-evaluation and proof-reading of what has been created.

Here you can see the notestand by my CP5 electric piano I use when I write music. On the stand is my current sketchbook, full with drafts for the first movement of Guitar Pastime Suite – which is now, finally, under way.

To bypass the manual writing process, and the page-by-page layout and overview of the score, is to me to work with creating, and not composing. Composing is to me the process of manual labor with a draft score, and the methodical work of scrutinizing how the parts interact aesthetically in the score, and probing, thinking and rethinking, and ultimately killing ideas that seem good in thought, but turn out to be dysfunctional from aspects that not always include how they sound – though those other aspects most often turn out to have a strong congruence to musical adequacy.

When I compose, I work on my piano to find the lines, chords and dynamics I want and write them in a sketchbook. From the sketchbook I write a sketch score, which I modify, extend or cut until I deem the piece to be as I want it. Finally I use my computer as

Here are two pages from the sketch score of the first movement of Guitar Pastime Suite, titled “Pick Your Point”. I use a cutting mat on the table to get a nice surface to write on, and I use a 0.7 construction/architect pencil with HB pins. I use three different erasers, depending on what is to be erased, how much and if on print or not. The pages are pre-printed from a Finale-template a teacher of mine made some twenty years ago; I still haven’t found any better. The yellow plastic folder is a hand rest so I don’t smear what I write, since I’m left handed.

a typewriter, to edit the score and the parts. Writing the sketch score by hand, makes it possible for me to see and sense the music in a direct physical way, and I can directly see the layout of the piece and the parts visually, by laying out the pages. To me, this process is essential to make the music dynamic and fluent from an over all grasp of the piece and its parts.

Long interruption

Before: Piano wrapped in plastic bags and surrounded by tucked away stuff.

What should have been a simple and brief window renovation, turned out to be the Work-In-Progress from hell. The company doing the renovations took our windows out to do much of the work – such as changing glass, painting and carpentry – at their shop, and we found ourselves having to live with just some poorly fitting tarpaulin umbrellas over the empty windows for more than a month. Because autumn is now setting in here in Sweden, things got cold (the draft!) and damp in the apartment, and since we live by a fairly trafficked street it was also noisy. To keep my electric piano safe, I had to pack it in thoroughly and for more than a month I have been unable to do any serious writing work at home.

After: Piano unpacked, connected to its outlet and played for the first time in over a month. On the stand is the score for Guitar Pastime Suite part 1 “Pick Your Point”. Partly due to this abysmal renovation still not completed.

Today I am finally unpacking my workplace! After tidying things up I plan on a composing spree this weekend.

This year’s summer sale is over, but between 1st and 31st of December, there will be a Christmas-New Year’s Sale.

(Did things finally work out with the renovation? No. We finally got our windows back after a serious delay, but the job was poorly done. This is by no means over…)

Last days of the Summer Sale

Augustus was, as Emperor, also the head priest of the Roman state. Here he is portrayed as a pious, humble priest – the Pontifex Maximus.

The month of August got its name around 8BC, when the Roman Senate wanted to honor their Princeps and Emperor, Augustus. They chose the eighth month of the Roman year, because they wanted to highlight the fact that most of Augustus’s (his birth name was Octavius) military victories and conquests were achieved in this season. Most likely, this is because Summer was the main campaigning season of the year, and most campaigns and conquests came to their conclusion before Autumn set in and the weather made military operations and supply, difficult and hazardous. The Romans renamed their month, and we still use that name over two thousand years later – quite an honor!

This year’s Summer Sale ends on September 1st. I wouldn’t know if Augustus would have seen a sale as an honor, but nevertheless: Take the opportunity to buy some unique Big Band charts at a discount, to get your band on its toes right from the very first rehearsal after Summer recess. 20% off on all compositions, and 15% off on all arrangements.

Drought and heatwave

Sweden is right now in a severe drought, with large areas not having had rain since early May. Combined with a – for Swedish conditions – heatwave, with about a month of temperatures around and above 30C, or 86F, trees and lawns are now yellow, brown and autumn-like, and in forests around the countryside wildfires are ravaging unprecedently.

In such circumstances, a trombonist has to take shelter in the cool of his basement to get some proper bass trombone practising.

Fortunately, the Summer Sale is unaffected by drought and wildfires! Take the opportunity to buy new, unique Big Band charts at a discount – to keep your band practising during summer recess. 20% off on all compositions, and 15% off on all arrangements.

Just Past Midsummer

Thursday 21:st of June, at 12:07 pm local Swedish time was the summer solstice for this year. From now on the warmest period of summer will come, while the days get shorter until December 21:st.

This is also the time when many people go on summer vacation, as have I. Though I’m spending time at my summer house, I enjoy the luxury of free time to do some composing – but in a more rural setting.

The Summer Sale is continuing throughout August. Take the opportunity to buy unique Big Band charts at a discount for your band’s autumn startup. 20% off on all compositions, and 15% off on all arrangements.

I wish all you visiting here a really nice and relaxing summer!

Summer Sale 2018

The Summer Sale this year is from 2018-06-01 throughout 2018-08-31. The discount is 20% off on all compositions, and 15% off on all arrangements.

Take the chance to buy some exciting charts and get a kick start for the band at the first rehearsal after summer break.


I wish you all visiting here a really nice Summer!

Happy “Valborg”

In the Nordic countries there is a tradition of burning large fires in the late spring, to usher in the arrival of summer. Where this tradition comes from, and how old it is, is unknown to me as I write this, but most likely it is a combination of pagan and early Christian practices.

In Sweden, April 30th is Valborg’s name-day – Valborg is an old nordic pagan name – and since that is today – I wish all of you visiting here: Happy Valborg!

The fourth and last movement of Guitar Pastime Suite is now much delayed under way, and will be published here upon completion.

New composition in the shop (and a correction)

From today, Past Masters, the third movement of the suite Guitar Pastime Suite, is available in the web shop. The work on this suite fell severly behind schedule due to much work and the disrupting loss of my computer, but finally the chart is edited and uploaded here.

Also a correction would be in place here. In the post from September 22, I said that the nights are longer than the days from the automnal equinox until December 21, the winter solstice. This is not the case. The correct description is that the nights are longer than the days between the automnal and the vernal equinox, approximately between September 21 and March 20 – whereas the winter solstice marks the end of the nights getting longer, and summer solstice ends the days getting longer. All this on the northern hemisphere.

Lost, not found – replaced!

If anyone wonders about the last months silence on my behalf, on my site, it’s because I had my computer stolen some time ago. Besides the finacial hit of loosing programmes, licenses and the hardware, it was also a substantial loss of work and basic material for past and coming projects; multiple gigabytes of data in sound files, countless note files, valuable documents and a lot of photos were lost.

Now I have bought a new computer and though much is irretrievably lost, I have finally gotten everything as much in place as needed to get back on track again, so from now on I can continue doing updates and publish new charts; next up is Guitar Pastime Suite part 3, titled “Past Masters”, that will be published here as soon as the Finale editing is completed.

When Nights Get Longer

Today is the Automnal Equinox – after today, on the northern hemisphere the nights are longer than the days until December 21.

In ancient times the apparent celestial movement of the sun was essential to people, and the various cycles of the sun were both celebrated and feared, as they have such influence (both physical and psychological) on the life and well being of both men and creatures. To me; it’s kind of strange that not more modern music inspired by these annual events is composed – but maybe that’s because we live less in consideration of the sun’s phases in today’s society.

One who has composed music inspired by today’s solar event is Jean Michel Jarre. His music has been a huge influence and inspiration to me, and his 1978 album Equinoxe is one that I’ve listened to hundreds of times – each time feeling something new about the both powerful, awe inducing and beautiful powers of the nature and universe that harbour our little blue and green planet.