Monday, January 12, 2009


I finally finished the cliche assignment!
After adding all of the required information and editing the piece is finished. Tomorrow i'll get the score bound and the parts all ready in final copy format.

After everything I finally decided on what I think to be a great title. "Melancholy" I think it really sums it up and adds to the funeral march feeling of the piece.

I have really enjoyed the composition 3100 class. It was a wonderful learning experience and I look forward to continuing this semster in 4100!


Today my cliche piece was performed in class, and it went quite well. Many thanks to Jon and Stephen for their wonderful sightreading skills. After hearing the piece those that didn't originally know my cliche, couldn't seem to figure it out but once I told them what it was, it became clear that it was indeed there, disguised in the slow tempo the Beethoven's fifth figure was really drawn out, and kind of distorted I guess.
I knew when I went to class that I still had a few things like dynamics and articulations left to complete, but I still received some great feedback!
- the dotted quarter triplets could be switched for just quarternotes, I totally agree and did make the change, its a lot easier to read this way.
- the bell like tones that i played on the syncopated horn part were good, make sure to notate them in the score
- complete some enharmonic changes so that parts are a little easier to read. I definitely agree, and they will be changed
- the instruments worked well together...I was very happy about that!
- the piece kind of resembled a funeral march...also a great comment as this is kind of what I was going for!

Overall I am very happy with this piece, all it needs now is a title and the finishing touches!


Composers Block?!

While attempting to come up with ideas for my cliche piece, I seemed to encounter road block after road block. I just couldn't think! Nothing seemed to work for me! I sat in front of my computer for hours tinkering at Sibelius without any luck. From there I would move to the piano and try to figure out something, anything that sounded remotely good, well at least to my ears, but alas I couldn't figure anything out. Eventually after a tedious amount of work I came up with a few lines but still nothing concrete. Talk about frustrating!
Composition is a very interesting process to say the least. It's so amazing that something's can take no time at all and just appear in my head, while other times its as bad as pulling teeth!

To my relief I finally came up with something I could really work with.

Maybe it becomes easier with experience...well here's hoping!

Assignment #2

For the second assignment we had to take a cliche and recontextulize it. There are so many different options that can be used! Everybody in the class did such a great job with their compositions and the recital was great, but i didn't want to use the same cliche as anyone else.
After thinking it over I finally decided on using the opening theme from Beethoven's fifth. It's so well known that it could be difficult really changing it up, but I know that there is a lot of potential to create a great piece.
The instrumentation for the piece was an easy choice. I went with brass, originally considering a quartet, trumpet, horn, trombone & tuba, but then opted for a trio of just horn, trombone & tuba. From experience I know that these particular instruments work well together and blend in a very effective fashion.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finished !?

Today I fixed up my third character piece by adding some dynamics (which will hopefully help the balance) and adding a couple extra measures of piano here and there. I then went on to edit and put the final touches on all three of the character pieces for project #1. As of right now all they need is one final look over before they can be printed and I can consider myself done! least this first assignment, as soon as the recital is over on Saturday I need to get working on project #2 the cliche assignment.

It's such a great feeling to have these three works completed! More important is the fact that I have suprised myself through this process and have started to grow as a composer!

On another note, in reference to my previous journal I finally decided on a title for my third character piece, "Biding One's Time" I think it fits quite nicely!

I am definitely looking forward to the upcoming recital!!!


Monday, November 24, 2008

What's in a name?

So the past week I've been in the process of giving titles to my character pieces. Believe it or not I have spent hours in trying to achieve this goal. It can be a very difficult thing to do! Probably even harder then composing the pieces themselves...well...almost...

It's just that after putting so much time and effort into composing a work that you are hopefully pleased with, figuring out the perfect title is not the easiest task. Sometimes a title can come to mind right away and you know its just right, if only it could always be that simple! After considering many possible words with particular meanings I think the thesaurus became my best friend.

I have finally come up with what I think to be appropriate titles for my two completed character pieces. They are "Fumbling in the Dark" and "The Sullied Jester". Now its back to the drawing board for my last piece of the three. Here's hoping that I can figure out a title before the recital Saturday. Wish me luck!


Character Piece # 3

Today the last of my three character pieces was performed for the class. I'd like to thank Jon and Andrew for sight reading! You guys did a great job! They will also be the musicians who will be performing my pieces on the recital Saturday night.

I had a lot of trouble this week trying to come up with an idea for this last piece. I was so pleased with last weeks work that I wasn't sure where to go next, so I was suffering from writer's block (or I guess composer's block would be more accurate) Inspiration finally struck when I was listening to one of Jon's regular warm-ups from his daily routine, which I have heard on multiple occaisions. I took the exercise, using the intervals and changed the meter, transpositions, and added or left notes out. This became the tuba line and I created the piano part around it. Anyone who knows Jon and his routine well, would have recognized its connection to the piece. (I highly enjoyed Phils reaction to this) Suprisingly enough the character of this piece was more suited to my original intentions for character piece number two, go figure!

The feedback I recieved was very positive and greatly appreciated!

Some suggestions were:
  • adding appropriate dynamics and markings (I basically know what I am doing in this regards, but just didn't get the chance to mark them in before class)
  • look at the balance between the piano and tuba (Hopefully with the addition of dynamics, practice and the use of the PC Hall, this might work itself out)
  • add more rests and breaks in the tuba line
  • perhaps the addition of some piano flourishes (without tuba) would help to unify the piece more
I think this piece turned out pretty well and I'm looking forward to completing this entire character piece assignment. Hopefully when its performed on Saturday night my pieces can measure up to the wonderful works I had the priveledge of hearing on the first recital!