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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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poem 2 Verse 1

Today I finished setting verse 1. I continued from where I left off yesterday by repeating part of the introduction as an interlude. I shortened it, changed its key and put the melody in the flute. I then created the vocal line for the remainder of the verse. On my notes, I though I would have audience involvement on the words "sing" and "sigh", but the melody did not want to be broken up this time by audience participation. I then worked on some of the bass line in the left hand of the piano as between it and the soprano melody, the harmony was being suggested. I tried blocking the chords after an eighth rest on each beat for the piano right hand, but did not like the lack of rhythmic movement. I then switched to arpeggiated 16th notes. These 16th motes are ascending on the more optimistic line of the verse and descending on the pessimistic line. I then added the clarinet line for smoothness and clearer harmony on each beat than provided by the arpeggios. When I got to harmonizing the word "echoes" I knew I wanted a change. Two things resulted that where kind of a surprise and that I really like. I tried to do some word painting by creating an echo of the voice part. I put this first in the flute that resulted in a neat counter-melody that culminates with a flourish on the words "joyful sound". I then tried to echo the flute in the right hand of the piano and found I could carry through this idea throughout the two measures. This technique of carrying an idea through (with slight variation if needed) for as long as you can was suggested by my composition teacher at the University of Arizona, Robert McBride. I have used this technique a lot in my work and it is always a joy to see where it takes me.

After rounding out this part of the verse with the clarinet repeating the last phrase of the voice as I did earlier, I then used the introduction as another interlude that will lead to verse 2. The interlude is the same length as the introduction this time but in a different key and the flute has the melody. It looks like the piece may turn out to be a modified strophic form as the remaining two verses are very similar to the first.

I hope that the reader does not get the sense that my music is contrived. In my dialogue, I constantly refer to the fact that the music suggests where it should as if it has a life of its own. Yet at the same time, I have my bag of tricks (techniques) that I have learned over many years that are effective ways to use both unity and variety simultaneously in my music. The techniques often help me discover where the music wants to go next. My writting about what I have done is all after I have done it, rather than before. I feel that a good composer always lets his/her ear be the guide while drawing upon whatever resources are available to enable unity and variety to be present in the music.

To see and hear what is discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.hostrack.net/fourpoemsblog.html

Dr. B

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