Welcome to my blog

I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Spectrum Suite for Alto Saxophone and Tuba Movements 6-7

This is a composition that I am writing as a result of a commissioning consortium. The composition is for Alto Saxophone and Tuba. For more information about the consortium, please visit http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html 

Spectrum Suite consists of seven short movements that musically depict the seven colors of the spectrum. Here are movements 6 and 7.

Indigo–Indigo is mystical as it bridges the Gap between Finite and Infinite. Indigo colored gemstones are often used for spiritual attainment, psychic abilities, self-awareness and enhancement of Intuition. This movement is mystical in nature.


Violet–is considered the highest element of spirituality. This movement is rich and inspirational.


Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

Spectrum Suite for Alto Saxophone and Tuba Movements 4-5

This is a composition that I am writing as a result of a commissioning consortium. The composition is for Alto Saxophone and Tuba. For more information about the consortium, please visit http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html 

Spectrum Suite consists of seven short movements that musically depict the seven colors of the spectrum. Here are movements 4 and 5.

Green–denotes fertility, growth, balance, health and wealth. This movement has a pastoral nature with lush harmonies.


Blue–makes us think of the Unknown. The sky and the wide oceans are in this color and hence it has been associated with Spirituality and Divinity. This movement  focuses on the vastness of the oceans and would contain sea scenes.



Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spectrum Suite for Alto Saxophone and Tuba Movements 1-3

This is a composition that I am writing as a result of a commissioning consortium. The composition is for Alto Saxophone and Tuba. For more information about the consortium, please visit http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html 

Spectrum Suite consists of seven short movements that musically depict the seven colors of the spectrum. Here are the first three movements.

Red–signifies passion, vitality, enthusiasm and security. This movement is lively and passionate.


Orange–represents creativity, practicality, playfulness as well as equilibrium or control. This movement is moderate and playful.


Yellow–represents clarity of thought, wisdom, orderliness and energy. This movement contains clear counterpoint and is energetic.



Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Divertimento for Woodwind Trio or Quartet Movement 3

This is the third movement of a three-movement composition for a flexible instrumentation woodwind trio/quartet being composed as part of a commissioning consortium. Groups interested in joining the consortium can do so until November 30, 2016 at http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html

This movement is called Tarantella and is in a lively tempo. The form of this movement is a large ABA (Scherzo, Trio, Scherzo). The A sections are in triple meter while the B section is in duple. The
A section is in three parts, forming an ABA within the large A. The material for the first part is
motivically derived. The first motive is a dotted eighth, sixteenth, eighth note followed by even
eighth notes. The second motive is four chromatic sixteenth notes followed by an eighth note.
This motive appears both ascending and descending. The B section within this large A consists
of a slurred melodic line that has both stepwise motion and leaps. It is accompanied by
staccato chromatic eighth notes. The large B section is folksong-like and is in a recognizable
binary form that repeats in a new key. The large A serves as a recapitulation of the opening
section and it ends lightly and playfully in keeping with the Divertimento title that means to
divert or amuse.

The major challenge in composing this piece is to make it playable by either a trio or quartet. I accomplished this by making the 2nd part an optional part. It adds some harmony that is not present in the trio version. The 2nd part also has important melodic lines, but those are cued in other instruments. After creating the piece in this manner, I then created specific versions for a trio of flute, clarinet, and bassoon or tenor saxophone; a quartet flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon; and a SATB saxophone quartet. The quartet versions gave even more melodic material to the second part.

Videos of the transposed score playing with sampled sounds appear below.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B


Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon Version

Saxophone Quartet Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Tenor Saxophone Version

Monday, November 14, 2016

Divertimento for Woodwind Trio or Quartet Movement 2

This is the second movement of a three-movement composition for a flexible instrumentation woodwind trio/quartet being composed as part of a commissioning consortium. Groups interested in joining the consortium can do so until November 30, 2016 at http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html

This movement is called Ballad and is lyrical at an Andante tempo. The form of the movement is through-composed as the motives develop into new variations instead of having clearly distinguished themes. There is however a recapitulation that brings the listen back to the opening material.

Some of the main motives that develop are:
  • a sixteenth note pattern that is arpeggiated and also stepwise
  • a dotted quarter and eighth note idea that is often on weak beats as well as appearing on strong beats
  • scalewise eighth note lines
All of these interweave among the parts with frequent counterpoint and some imitation. The harmony is lush with seventh chords used frequently.

The major challenge in composing this piece is to make it playable by either a trio or quartet. I accomplished this by making the 2nd part an optional part. It adds some harmony that is not present in the trio version. The 2nd part also has important melodic lines, but those are cued in other instruments. After creating the piece in this manner, I then created specific versions for a trio of flute, clarinet, and bassoon or tenor saxophone; a quartet flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon; and a SATB saxophone quartet. The quartet versions gave even more melodic material to the second part.

The Saxophone Quartet version was particular challenging in this movement because the lines frequently crossed obscuring the identity of the contrapuntal lines. I put the Sax Quartet version in a different key from the other versions and adjusted the octaves carefully to preserve the lines and also avoid the crossed voices. Videos of the transposed score playing with sampled sounds appear below.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B


Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon Version

Saxophone Quartet Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Tenor Saxophone Version

Friday, November 4, 2016

Divertimento for Woodwind Trio or Quartet Movement 1

This is the first movement of a three-movement composition for a flexible instrumentation woodwind trio/quartet being composed as part of a commissioning consortium. Groups interested in joining the consortium can do so until November 30, 2016 at http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html

 This movement is called Frolic and is light and energetic. There are three main thematic ideas. The first is the section that occurs beginning at measure 4 and goes through measure 19. Dotted rhythms, staccato, and meter change are the main characteristics of this section. At measure 20, the second thematic idea begins. It is related to the first section in that it also uses dotted rhythms and meter change, but is more legato and begins with more sustained notes. The third thematic section begins at measure 54 and is thinner in texture, more playful, and has a legato theme over a staccato background. The motivic material in each of these sections has similarities and contrast is primarily obtained through contrast of style and mood.

These sections develop throughout the movement by varying key, instrumentation, and melodic material. There are several sections of imitation that are very energetic.

The major challenge in composing this piece is to make it playable by either a trio or quartet. I accomplished this by making the 2nd part an optional part. It adds some harmony that is not present in the trio version. The 2nd part also has important melodic lines, but those are cued in other instruments. After creating the piece in this manner, I then created specific versions for a trio of flute, clarinet, and bassoon or tenor saxophone; a quartet flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon; and a SATB saxophone quartet. The quartet versions gave even more melodic material to the second part. Videos of the transposed score (except WW Quartet Version which is in concert pitch) playing with sampled sounds appear below.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B


Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon Version


Saxophone Quartet Version


Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon Version


Flute, Clarinet, and Tenor Saxophone Version


Monday, October 24, 2016

Alabama Songbook Suite Movement 8

This is the eighth and last movement of a multi-movement composition that I am writing for Jeremy Crawford. It is based on selections from The Alabama Songbook compiled by Byron Arnold. This movement is called "If You Don't Want To Get In Trouble".

"If You Don't Want To Get In Trouble" comes from the Spiritual Section of the book and is perfect for the Gospel-swing style that I had in mind for the last movement.

To begin the movement, the chorus is heard in the tuba while the left hand of the piano plays a bass line. This is followed by the verse in the tuba with piano chordal punctuation. At measure 17, the chorus is heard again, this time with a little flare inserted in the right hand of the piano. At measure 25, the piano plays a harmonized version of the chorus. This sections ends with chromaticism in both the tuba and piano that leads the listener into a louder, more intense section at measure 34. The material of this section is taken from motifs of the tune. A modulation up a half step at 42 adds to the excitement.

At 51, the chorus of the tune returns with tuba solo and piano accompaniment. This leads to a long tuba cadenza whose material is freely derived from motifs of the tune. After the cadenza settles down on a low tuba note, the piano returns with the harmonized version of the chorus and the tuba plays the ascending flares. The two measure chromatic section heard earlier returns before the tempo slows down to an "Amen" type cadence.

Below is a video of the score that uses sampled sounds. Your comments are always appreciated.

Dr. B