I feel a certain closeness to the music when I’m putting pencil to paper. I carry around my sketches wherever I go, and use highlighters and colored pencils to cross out passages I don’t like and write new ones over it.
When I witnessed composers like Michael Hersch and Kirk Nurock present performers with handwritten scores, I also noticed a collaborative rapport. It was almost like they were delivering something very personalized to a good friend.
Normally I use Finale to engrave my final product– especially if I don’t know the musicians’ preferences. But once in a while I’ll find a musician like Peter Sheppard-Skaerved, who embraces handwritten music.
About half of this piece was written on a train from New Orleans to Baltimore. I also wrote part of Lake Pontchartrain on this ride.