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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, October 16, 2007

Diamonds continued

It has been a few days since I have posted. There are times when it is challenging to find the time to compose regularly although that is what I prefer to do. But I am also a performing musician and there are times when I get very busy with performing responsibilities, that composing takes a back burner. That has been my challenge the past few days. I have been working in short spurts and did not have enough to post to my blog until today.

In addition, I have been struggling with the Diamonds section. My initial ideas came easily, but developing the movement has been hard work with a lot of revision. The way this section is going together is my adaptation of a technique I ran across on a CR ROM by Morton Subotnick called Making Music. It a composition program designed for young kids and a part of it has short motivic ideas that can be put together in any order by the young composer in order to create a piece of music. In Diamonds, there are three main ideas; the lyrical waltz melody, the dotted eighth sixteenth followed by one or two short notes motif, and the overlapping chromatic motif. I jump back and forth between these three ideas and vary them when they return by adding to them, changing their meter, or combining them together. The problem I have been running into is the lack of direction this section has. It just seemed to wander around and I couldn't figure out what exactly was wrong. I liked the material well enough, but felt it was not coming together the way I intended. I wish I could illustrate all the things I tried and rejected, as I think it would be very informative to composers. There is an excellent recording done by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic where Bernstein takes discarded sketches from Beethoven's 5th Symphony and inserts them where he thinks Beethoven might have had them. Then the orchestra played these versions and Bernstein discusses why he thinks Beethoven rejected them. Everyone should listen to this recording as it sheds a lot of light on the composing process.

In Diamonds, I was feeling like I needed a break from the continuous waltz rhythm. I accomplished some of this by the meter changes, but I felt I needed to get a break in the thick texture and the continuous jumping between motivic ideas. At measure 150, I inserted 5 measures of just waltz rhythm with a 2/4 thrown in. That helped, but it went into the next idea too abruptly. I then added measure 155 which starts with silence of one beat then triplets leading into the lyrical waltz melody. This little interlude serves as break before the final push to the end of the section.

In my previous post, I was wondering if I wanted separate movements instead of a one movement piece. I am now hearing Diamonds building to a peak and climaxing at the beginning of Clubs (War). After all, isn't the quest for riches and wealth and the power that comes with it the cause of many wars? The smooth waltz seems to represent those with wealth that are oblivious to forces around them who are restless for change. The dotted rhythm motif and the chromatic motif keep interrupting the waltz as a form of foreboding.

I hope that I will complete Diamonds by the end of the week as I have a busy day tomorrow attending some rehearsals of my music and planning a concert my brass quintet is doing with a choral group, then a quintet rehearsal at night.

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

Dr. B

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