Composing a Fanfare for Crew Dragon: Day 3

The first draft of the first section is complete!

Assumed audience: Anyone interested in the process of writing composed music.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s known me for any length of time at all that the engraving side of producing a score mashes all my buttons. It’s typography! It’s music! At its best, it’s a matter of communicating art in an artful way.

During the early days of the development of Dorico, Daniel Spreadbury (the product manager for the app, and before that for Sibelius) did a bunch of deep investigation on engraving. The result was not only important input to Dorico’s approach to scoring and producing music, but also an open font specificaation for musical notation fonts (SMuFL), and an exemplary pair of fonts to go with it. His many posts about it (which you can find in the back pages of Making Notes, the Dorico development blog) were actually the things which first persuaded me that Dorico could be something genuinely great.

You can see the score so far as a PDF — which is generated straight out of Dorico, with very minimal tweaks from me (basically just to the typeface used for text)!

…but those tweaks and my digression into Dorico’s engraving details are together just a long way of saying that while I made a lot of progress today, I may also have gotten a bit distracted for half an hour at one point digging into the engraving side as well as the composing side of the program. That’s okay: the point of this week’s exercise is not just to get a piece scored (even if it is primarily that), but also to relax.

I managed to orchestrate the entire opening fanfare — probably not to its final form, but to something I’m at least reasonably happy with. While my orchestration skills leave something to be desired, I nonetheless managed to get a lot of what I hear in my head onto the page here — and it’s quite different from anything I’ve written in the past!

Here’s how it sounds (with no tweaks to the virtual instruments — that’s for after the composing itself is done):

the opening fanfare, orchestrated

Tomorrow, I plan to pick up where I left off today and fill out — as much and as rapidly as possible, now that I have a much better feel for how this app works! — the second half of the piece!