Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Composition is DONE!


The concert went really well on Sunday. The crowd was great and receptive to everyone's hard work! It was especially nice this time to see everyone's final product, maybe because the ensembles were larger, and the music we heard in class was no where near as polished as the concert.

I do have to say though, that I got a lot of positive remarks on my piece. It's been such an amazing growth from the beginning to the end of this course. And again from the beginning of the degree to now, as it draws to a close. I would have never thought that four years ago I could have written a piece for tuba, trumpet, piano and voice! I wouldn't have been able to fathom that at the beginning of last year!!!

Congrats everyone on a great semester!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Well well.

Last week had the beginnings of my piece 'Hippos Hope' played. It went over well, got some great feedback on considerations for furthering my 'quirky-waltz-feel'. Eastern European rhythms, fragmenting melodic sections, and steal from fellow class mates!

However, sitting down this evening has been FRUSTRATING!!!!!

I spent about two hours in a practice room earlier, trying to further the piece, but came out with the same amount that I walked in with. Everything I thought of, wrote down, plugged into Sibelius, or played just didn't work! None of it did. I had to put it all away for the night, because I wasn't feeling very positive about it. So I'm not going to have anything new for tomorrow's class, which is a bummer, but hopefully I can squeeze in before my next playing early next week...

Sometimes I feel kinda confined as to what I can write. And transitionary tags or sections always throw me for a loop. Aaaaand, composing for more than just two instruments presents it's challenges too! As of right now the piano doesn't have much of a role, and I'd like to change that.

That's it for tonight.
Happy composing errbody!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Done and Done

Check SpellingWell, well!

The recital is done, and that feels great! Had my last in class playing on Friday past, and that was helpful for final tune ups and refining. Though there was only so much I could do before the recital on Sunday.

It was really cool hearing everyones pieces in the hall. It was great to hear effects and ideas that couldn't be expressed in the tiny the resonance of playing into the grand piano. And just being able to hear the pieces in the acoustic context of the hall!

Now onto writing for voice...Not entirely sure what poem or text I'm going to set, but when I think of what I'd like I can't help but think of children's stories or something along those lines.

It'll be so nice to get this final score done and put this piece behind me!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shame, Shame

Well, it's been almost three weeks since I last made a blog post. Tsk, tsk!

So I'll do a little recap of the last two playings and my thoughts and what not.

On October 2nd I had my second character piece played. When I approached this piece I found myself creating something similar in character to the first, so I ended up going with that and thinking I would end the three with this one, and write something more contrasting for the middle piece.

I ended up thinking of something different each time I sat down to write something, and that came through, because it was mentioned that there were too many ideas for a small piece. And that I have to maybe pick one or two and think of the overall effect I want to achieve. As well, varying the ideas a little more, like having offbeat pizzicato after some on the beat, and instead of running 8ths try and throw something in that the listener wouldn't anticipate. To keep their attention.

I've found that it's been hard to just like the idea grow organically, take the idea and vary it, and see where it can go. Something I'll try in the revision of this piece.

On October 9th, the middle piece was played. I wanted to go for a different feel or effect. So I started with a slow arpeggiating piano line with pedal to be played freely. Through playing with the idea I thought of some cool ways to develop it, but was struggling with the notation of my idea, so in the interest of time I added a different idea and then concluded with something similar to the beginning, just as a rough sketch. I've been working on it, and this is going to be my favorite of the three I think. Hopefully I'll be able to really notate what I'm feeling.

So, now I'm revising, and pulling things together...Only one more week! EEK!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Piece - Revamped

Well, it's been a while since I wrote.

Last week I had my first piece played, I completely revamped it. I initially thought that the last section was out of character. But the reaction of the class was that is was perfectly in character. One of the main comments was, brought up by Dr. Ross, was creating a smoother transition between sections. Which is something I'm going to go back and do when all three pieces are done, I think I could create some meaningful connection between the three then. I started writing the second piece this week, and it opens with a similar motif that ended the first, I think it'll end up being the third of the three, since it is very similar in character. I need to create something contrasting for the second.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Post First Performance

Had the first few ideas of my piece played today, it isn't a real representation of what I want to create, but an idea of some ideas I want to elaborate on. I felt like the piano and violin had some sort of musical dialogue on, so I might keep going with that, and gradually increase the tension as if the two parts were fighting with each other.

Then, thinking back to the good-old da capo aria, I thought it would be funny to have a reverse version of the format. Typically it would be happy-sad-happy - which never really made sense in moving the opera forward. So, instead I think I'll have a frustrated and negative interaction (more tension) as an A section, then a atonally resolved and peaceful B section, going back to the angry A - embellishments adding more to that energy. It kind of mirrors a lot of unhealthy relationships people put themselves in.

I should write about the piece itself, and the process I went through. I experienced ultimate frustration yesterday, I have an unregistered version of Sibelius, so initially I started noting by hand. Which was painful, being not so proficient on piano made it difficult to try and communicate any idea what so ever. I ended up writing in Sibelius - and being unable to save it left the program open all day and night. I ended up creating a pretty tense progression in the first four bars in the piano. The violin then comes in aggressively, but there was the comment of making that energy gradually build.

So, after the piano's intro, I'm going to use the same progression and establish the sonority further by easing the violin in, instead of having it do a canon ball. I felt I had three different ideas in the page of music I created, and to get the most out of them it will be a good idea to revoice and stretch the ideas further, develop them more. Some other things I have to look at; writing for the violin (bowing options, range), writing accidentals for ease of players, perhaps a time change for a B section, and slower or faster movement in lines of ascent (what kind of character do I want to establish?).

Anywho...I should go back to paying attention to a presentation on Adolescent Social Stressors.


Thursday, September 17, 2009


Well, well...Since playing my chords in class I've changed them A LOT!

After listening to every one's, and hearing feedback, I felt like I approached creating my chords blindly at first. Just sitting there and bashing them out for the sake of bashing them out. People in class had different ways of creating cohesiveness and continuity with their progression, or had a kind of sequencing. So, I guess after being enlightened, I went back and started from scratch.

I (finally!) came to a point where I was happy with my chords, and that was only yesterday...

Experienced a little bit of frustration in trying my hand at creativity at the piano. I feel like I need to figure out Sibelius.