On composing

At seven, Gamma is still too young to drink absinthe, so I sat beside her at the piano and drank it while she composed. “What is that? How can you drink that? Get that out of my sight,” she said.
“The notes have to add up to four,” I said.
I pointed at the time signature. “4/4 time.”
Composition tip: you can’t go wrong with black keys. Much non-Western music is based on the pentatonic scale. Her teacher gave her a half-finished piece, and her assignment was to write the second half of the song, black keys only.
So she doodled around on the piano for half an hour, writing stuff down and then trying it out. She ended it with two whole notes, which I thought was a cool idea.

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