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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.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

1st movement of Goulash

I now have about a minute of the 1st movement (Chalga). The movement is starting to take shape as I envision a quieter middle section followed by a return to the opening section. Writing for two instruments is a challenge as it is difficult to vary the texture. It is almost necessary for both instruments to be playing most of the time. I am getting a variety of textures by having the marimba accompany the saxophone, the saxophone accompany the marimba, using both in imitation, and having each play by themselves. I am also trying to create variety by varying the dynamics and articulation, and in the case of the marimba, the number of mallets used simultaneously. As I move to the middle section, a change of tonal center will also create variety.

The first section is basically through-composed. After the opening 4 measure melody in the saxophone accompanied by rhythmic chords in the marimba, the melodic ideas seem to grow by themselves. For example, m. 5 & 6 in the saxophone uses the same motif as m. 1 but instead of sustaining, the idea is extended. Much of what I am doing with the ideas in this section remind me of a party game where one person starts a story and the hands it off to the next person. The next person can build on the ideas of the first person, or take the story in an entirely different direction. M. 8 in the saxophone does some of both. The first 3 beats is an elaborate version of first 3 beats of the movement. The last two beats introduce a new twist, the two sixteenth notes followed by the eighth. This new twist gets used frequently as the movement progresses. In M 9-14, the marimba has the opening idea. In m. 10, the m. 8 saxophone part which was the main melody, is now an accompaniment figure to the marimba. Imitation is used in m. 11-15 with the sax following the marimba.

M. 17 in the sax uses the m. 6 idea but now as the beginning of the phrase, instead of the end of a phrase. Triplet patterns are introduced to extend this idea. M. 20 has the marimba playing what the sax did in m. 17-19. The sax now accompanies the marimba with short notes. Originally I had a note on each beat, but after composing the marimba part at m. 28 which uses rests, I changed the sax part at m. 20 to include rests. It is now easier to realize that the marimba has the melody.

M. 24 to the end of this section uses that 2 sixteenth note eighth pattern first introduced in m. 8 and it becomes a prominent feature of this section. All this is a good example of how music can take on a life of its own. It does just repeat, but seems to morph into a reorganization of ideas or generate new ideas much in the manner of that story telling party game.

To see and hear what I've composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.net/goulashblog.html
The score is in concert pitch.

Dr. B

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