I began today's composing session by working on the interlude between verse 2 and 3. I first created a flute flourish on the word "me" which led into the flourish being imitated in the clarinet. Accompanying the clarinet flourish is a hemiola figure that begins as a triad and expands in oblique then contrary motion. This hemiola rhythmic idea (grouping the 6 eighth notes in the measure to create a three quarter note feel instead of the normal two dotted quarter note feel) was hinted at in the flute in measure 2 and fully present in the clarinet at measure 16. I an often asked whether I consciously do this and the answer is no. My technique as a composer is so much a part of me now, that I just hear things and later, when I go back and look at what I did, I find these unifying factors. Composers must practice technique just like performers. The goal is to have the technique become second nature, however there are times when I need to go back to see what I wrote to find some technique to continue the piece. All composers get "writer's block" and by examining what you did, you can usually find some gem that gets you over the hurdle. Composers wishing to learn about and practice technique might want to examine my book "A Composers Guide to Understanding Music". This book also has activities to help listeners hear music like a composer and to help performers become better interpreters of music. It is available at amazon.com or by
The hemiola then developed into a 5/8 pattern of 2 + 3 for two measures then 3 + 2 for one measure before returning to the 6/8. The expanding harmony and contrary motion created my piano part for the beginning of this 6/8 section. It alternates with a figure derived from the 5/8. This is a curious instance where solving a practical problem leads to a more interesting line. The 5/8 figure began by alternating halve steps, but when I did that here (f,Gb,F,Gb), I had a clash between the "F" in the flute on beat 3 and the Gb in the soprano. My solution was to bring the "F" up to "Bb" and it eliminated the clash but also created a more interesting line.
On the word "wind", I created a wind line in the piano right hand that carries through for two measures and is used again in the piano left hand in measure 55. The rolling of the chords in measures 54 and 55 reflect the "beautiful Annabel Lee". This is my use of some "word painting" which is a fun thing to do when setting poetry. I took a little liberty with Poe's text by omitting the work "beautiful" before repeating the entire last line of the verse.
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