Daily Archives: February 14, 2009

Orchestrated Update

I should probably note down that over the past few days, between working on the anthology and cooking and running errands and things like that, I managed to do some work on Orchestrated.

New words Feb. 11-13: 2,644
Total word count, Orchestrated: 63,484

Slog, slog. I need to skip the little things and just get the characters and story to the next important thing on the list of things to write. I can smooth out transitions later. And not all of these new words are story, either; some of them are notes to myself in the body of the text to check things and rewrite sections with a different focus.

It feels like pulling hen’s teeth.

Hello, Thumb Position

Last night my hour-long lesson, which usually goes a bit overtime, clocked in at a solid hour and a half. Why? Because we worked on the orchestra music instead of my lesson stuff, which I think is sensible because my lesson stuff can wait while the orchestra stuff grows ever more crucial. Rimsky-Korsakov gave the celli some lovely lines in the third movement of Scheherazade, and wrote them in treble clef. Which means they are Very High. And that means thumb position.

Which I have never used before.

So I was initiated by necessity into the Mysteries of Thumb Position, and ow. But other than the ow, it made a lot of sense. I came home with instructions to play Mary Had A Little Lamb and Ah, Vous Dirais-Je Maman and any other nursery rhymes I could think of in thumb position, as well as the Bizet and Mendelssohn and Rimsky-Korsakov that require it.

I think my lesson would have gone quicker if I hadn’t had to stare at the treble clef and count up from the bottom all the time to figure out what note what indicated. Because good grief, I’m only barely fluent in tenor clef, and now treble? I had to write it all out and post it in front of my music stand at home for quick reference.

And in 7/8 news, it’s very very easy to play all the way up there in thumb position. Sixth and seventh positions in general have been easier to play than on the 4/4, so unless I’m making it up (which is entirely possible) we have a thumbs up (no pun intended) for ease of (and possibly easier) playability in upper positions. I’m finding the full tone reaches between fingers 1, 2, and 3 up very challenging up there, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be with an extra millimetre or two on the oversized 4/4. The distance between notes is supposed to be smaller up there! Why do the distances between full tones seem so big?


I gave the boy a little box of chocolate hearts with Lightning McQueen on the lid, and I am the best mom ever.

    A: Here you are! Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie.

    BOY: Oh, wow — what is it?

    A: It’s chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day.

    BOY: Can I have one?

    A: Yes, you may have chocolate at nine in the morning, because it is Valentine’s Day.

    BOY: Gee, thanks! [opens box, takes a foil-wrapped chocolate out, unwraps it strip by strip, and nibbles the treat] It’s hard!

    A: Yes, and it’s got Rice Krispies inside, too.

    BOY: Thanks, Mama!

    [A turns to leave]

    BOY: [calls after her] That was very kind of you, Mama. Thank you!

Then we had to negotiate when he would be allowed to eat another one, so I brought the clock over and said that when the little hand was pointing at the ten and the big hand was pointing at the twelve, he could have a second one. He decided to hold the clock in one hand and the box of chocolates in the other, just so he wouldn’t miss the precise moment when he’d be allowed to unwrap another chocolate.

Have a terrific day, everyone! Hug a cat or a tree or a friend.