Working on the piece

Angela Slater reflects on her process so far on her Adopt a Composer pairing with The Lincoln Ukulele Band.

My Ukulele playing hasn't developed much since last time but I have learnt enough to help refine my piece and even join the band, even if only on a few chords, when the band is playing songs.

I have visited them twice recently and I am looking forward to another visit later today. The band hasve been working hard on the central rhythmic section I have given them, and they are making good progress with the rather tricky rhythms!

Over the last few weeks I have also begun to introduce the band to the beginning of the piece – a soundworld that explores the sounds of the night, with a stillness that begins to rustle building gradually in texture until it bursts out, marking the arrival of the energetic rhythmic section. For this beginning section I have created a number of symbols that the band have been learning to refer to different unusual sounds and techniques on the ukulele. Each bit is loosely timed before moving on the next section. I used lining paper to draw each graphic score part out in large form for the group to learn from together before creating individual parts to learn from.

The first week I went through just part 1 of the graphic score section with the group. This sounded rather unusual without the other parts and was much harder for the group to make the smooth transitions between the sounds.

The second week I introduced parts 2 and 3 to the group. When we did this it  began to take shape and the group were now understanding the shapes and sounds and how it made sense once all parts were put together. The piece is beginning to come to life and I really feel the band now get what l am trying to achieve here. Though we will definitely need to come up with a different method than me pointing with a broom!