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Creating the Music
As the creation process for Dreaming In Code comes to an end, we caught up with one of the composers, Angus MacRae, who has been working on the production, to find out more about what the process has been like for him…
“The music creation process started a couple of months before rehearsals began, and followed a number of Skype and email conversations between myself, Alex [Baranowski] and Tamsin [Fitzgerald], in which we discussed the broad themes of the piece and the rough structure that Tamsin had in mind. Following this Alex and I worked on a few initial drafts to pin down a musical ‘palette’ and general feel for the piece. We initially worked fairly independently, but through sharing these early drafts we began to settle on a more coherent musical language and from there the music flowed fairly quickly. Through checking in every few days we were able to ensure the music shared common themes – thankfully Alex and I gravitate towards a similar musical style anyway, so it never seemed too tricky to make sure everything fitted together!
“By the time rehearsals started we had perhaps 60% of the music written and we were getting regular feedback from Tamsin about how it was working with the movement. I then spent the final two weeks of rehearsals working in the room in Hereford and Birmingham, which gave us much more room to try out ideas and make very quick changes. Alex sent me through the individual elements of his tracks which allowed me to make changes and adaptations quickly. For me this is when the piece really began to fall into place, as it’s refreshing to be able to get instant feedback and immediately see how movement will work with the music. When writing for dance there are so many practical considerations that are hard to pre-empt when you’re not working in the room, not least giving some space for the dancers to catch their breath every now and then!
“The final week was spent at DanceXchange in Birmingham, piecing together the technical elements of the show. Whilst it’s always nice to hear the music in a big space over a proper system, it was also great to have this R&D time so far in advance of the show opening in January, as we had the time to experiment and try out new ideas. I can’t say a great deal more, but we have discovered some very exciting ways for the music to be represented visually, as part of the set.
“Now rehearsals have finished Alex and I will work on mixing and mastering the tracks properly to give them an extra polish and make sure they sound great when we open in January.”