Did I Write This?
Here’s a bizarre dilemma that is only possible in this post-Sibelius era.
Recently, while fishing through folders on my computer looking at old “sketches” and unfinished things, I found a folder that said “string quartet”. I had no recollection of ever having worked on a string quartet since college. Inside the folder were two files “mvt1″ and “mvt4″, dated September 2003. The one called “mvt4″ was immediately recognized as something that ended up becoming a sketch for Shakespeare’s Merchant.
When I opened “mvt1″, I had absolutely no recollection of composing it, nor was I convinced that it was even mine. (It seemed better than anything I could come up with.) After some time pounding my brain, trying to imagine how anyone else’s unfinished material could end up on my computer (was it a student? a poltergeist?), I eventually became satisfied that it was mine.
How embarrassing it would be to take this material and develop it, only to discover later that it was created by someone else. Since starting to use Sibelius about six years ago, I almost never sketch on paper anymore. If these sketches were on paper, I would have immediately recognized my own handwriting, and there would have been no dilemma.