Of course, I said. What’s the instrumentation? Flute, trombone, and piano, he replied.
Say what? I’d never heard of a flute, trombone, and piano trio. Could this seemingly odd combination of instruments actually sound, you know…good ?
I tried to find videos on YouTube. I found exactly one, and a not very helpful one at that. I searched Apple Music. No dice.
It was at that point I remembered I’d been writing nothing but vocal music for several years. I’d grown accustomed to having a text point me in the right musical direction. But here I was in the musical wilderness—no compass, no map, just the idea of a flute, a trombone, and a piano together somewhere, dancing harmoniously in a mythical forest glen. I felt like Link in that old Legend of Zelda commercial: “Which way to go?”
Then I remembered that I do have something useful, something I often forget about when composing starts to feel more like problem-solving: an imagination. Maybe I don’t need a map. Maybe I can just make stuff up as I go along. See what happens. Hack a path through the woods. If I hit a wall, I can turn around and hack another one.
So that’s what I’ve done, and I have indeed hit a wall—several times. Each time, I’ve learned a little bit more about this unique combination of instruments. And, I think, each new path has been a bit wider than the last, a bit straighter, a bit more promising.
I’m still on the most recent of those paths, and definitely the most promising so far. It feels like that mythical glen is, perhaps, just over the next rise.