Dances by Starlight

Dances by Starlight by Joshua Pettus

About the Piece

This is an old piece I wrote for solo piano back in 2006. The piece was an improvisation that I had recorded. Starting out, this was how I had liked to compose. I would often record my improvisations, take any ideas I'd like, and riff on them some more. If I didn't like where it was going, I'd go back to the kernel of the idea and start over, remembering kind of like bullet points of ideas I'd want to hit. Out of these iterations of improvisation, sometimes I would get a structure, sometimes not. In the end when I was satisfied, I'd keep the recording. Doing music this way taught me a sense of how to let music flow from one idea to the next, and a sense of time – which is so easy to forget while you are in the middle of plopping down notes on a score. Years later, I wrote this piece down as an exercise.

One of my teachers, said it best: "Composed music should sound improvised, and improvised music should sound composed" This was very much in the latter camp and I was, and still am, improving on the composition part.