As I mentioned in the abstract, the process of composition can be a little oblique, so trying to make something of a map of my process might be an exercise in futility. What I can do, though, is detail what my aims (which have evolved throughout the process) and where I am now.
Although I’ve composed “classical” style pieces (whatever that means, probably instrumental pieces with a lot of chord changes and piano/string parts) before, my background is in songwriting. What that has created for me is a preference for melody above all other parts of the piece. That sentence needs clarification though: I don’t mean a preference for typically “pretty” melodies over dissonant ones, and I don’t mean that all focus should go to the instrument carrying the main melody (obv). What it means is that I want, at all times, for the music to be affecting the listener, and for them to be hearing a piece that will stick in their mind. It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course. There’s the concept of diminishing returns—if you have a particularly hair-raising line but repeat it too many times, then of course by the end it’s not going to have the same effect as the first time. Even if it’s in a new key or slightly varied, which seems to be a guiding principal of “classical” composition—take an idea, and then double it, modulate it, whatever. It’s all very impressive from a structural point of view, but I often find myself listening to a beautiful melody of a classical piece only to find myself drifting off as the composer fills in the time by executing circle-of-fifth runs, or what have you, until the next melody surfaces.
This is where my songwriting background comes in—I’ve already completed most of each of the 3 pieces, and none is a particularly long piece, each probably taking around 3-5 minutes to play through. I’ve come up with many ideas for extended pieces in various forms—sonata, rondo, etc.—and one or more of the pieces might qualify as such once it’s completely finished. But it won’t be anything resembling an extended piece—rather, I’ve attempted to create 3 concise and distinct pieces, each with a clear melody present at all times. This has involved a considerable amount of editing—I find that it’s easy to rattle off chord changes and melodies, but whittling them down to something memorable is more difficult.