Yesterday, I was supposed to go to the zoo. Then it rained. So instead, I am recovering today from a spirited 11-hour stint during which I learned how to use the free music notation software Musescore….
HOLY DATA ENTRY.
My god. The learning curve was real, but that’s beside the fact that notating an actual song in its entirety takes no less time than brain surgery…and that’s even with the “google know-how” (read: ability to figure stuff out faster than the average population) and a midi keyboard hooked up so I wouldn’t have to manually enter everything like a deranged fiend. I really had no idea what this kind of work would take. I’m doing this showcase thing in January with three other creatives (two musician/composers and a playwright), and decided to try my hand at some musical-theater style songwriting. It’s good to have goals, even if they leave you feeling like a limp dishrag.
Also, here’s the kind of person I am: start a project, binge until it’s done. I’ve been known to spend 12 hours painting all the rooms of a house. Or spend 10-15 hours transforming my yard from what may appear to be the set of a Stephen King novel into the cover page for Better Homes and Gardens. During these benders, I usually sacrifice sleep, food, and a pinch of my sanity just to complete the project. Unfinished projects unnerve me because they whisper slyly to me in my dreams.
Here’s a little play-by-play of yesterday:
– Woke up innocently thinking I’d spend my day “off” with the keyboard hooked up to the computer. Download the (amazing) software (it really is a sweet, sweet program that costs nothing) to “just fool around a bit, maybe notate some of that piece I’ve been working on.” That naive girl from 24 hours ago is dead to me.
– Googled (at minimum) the following phrases:
- Musescore add lyrics backspace without re-clicking
- Musescore midi entry not working (hint: turn it off and back on again…solves 90% of computer problems)
- Musescore break beams, then “reset musescore auto-beam to not suck”
- Musescore rolled chord, then “musescore make rolled chord symbol grow tall”
- Musescore three quarter notes against duple half-note thing
- Musescore add text not lyrics
- Musescore add rest without messing other stuff up
- Musescore delete stuff without going crazy
…and a slew of other interesting phrases that made total sense in my head.
– Entered an insane state of flow. Looked up and six hours had passed. Probably didn’t help that the gloom-balls weather (it rained all day) hadn’t affected the day’s light in any way, shape, or form. It looked the same at 9am as it did at 4:30. Thanks for the mind-warp, mother nature.
– Developed the headache of the century, if not from staring at a (slightly elevated) computer screen for 12 hours, then from a severe nutrition deficiency slash sugar-caffeine crash. Napped for 45 minutes on the floor without a pillow because it felt better on my neck. Woke up and took a hot bath because my circulation had ceased to function and needed to wash off the stink of the last 7 hours. Completed four more hours of note entry.
– My husband made patty melts and potatoes for dinner. I promised to clean up. Left it to rot for another 2 hours (really not my preferred M.O.) and tried not to break into sobs when I re-emerged from my basement studio to a kitchen that looked like a demon-tornado had ripped through it. Stood over sink scraping potato pan, contemplating the ridiculous amount of hours I had just contributed to my hobby. Developed serious mental whiplash from warring feelings of honor and confusion, then cried a little because my brain is not equipped to handle such disorder and because it finally sank in that two of my best friends that I’ve known for going on nine years are moving across the country this week with their newborn. These are the kinds of things note entry does to a person.
– Ate the following “meals” at my desk in a zombie state: frozen burrito with jalepenos from a jar and Tapito hot sauce, a Shocktop beer, some of those leftover pirouettes cookies from when I remodeled my office to look like Wonkaland, a 2-day-old leftover mini-scone from Panera, and 3 cups of french press coffee for good measure. Ironically, I have lost one pound between yesterday and today.
All in all, I’d say it was a good day, then.