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.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Goulash 3rd movement finished

Last week I finished Goulash, but decided to wait a bit before posting as I wanted to be sure I was finished. Because of my hectic schedule, my composing has been sporadic and it was hard to feel a sense of continuity in the piece. After reviewing the piece, I feel that I did create the continuity I was looking for.

M. 122-136 creates a transition back the more rhythmic portion of the slow section. It begins with a restatement of the main fast idea and then begins to develop it a bit before fragmenting some of the ideas. M. 165 winds down the slow section material and M. 171 suddenly brings the listener back to the fast section. M. 192 is a slight variation of this material that appeared earlier. M. 210 to the end is a fiery coda that extends the marimba idea at M. 198 for some technical fireworks.

During this movement, I found myself using the ends of phrases to start my new phrase. This is a way of unifying ideas and also creating variety. An example would be how the saxophone line that ends at M. 9 begins the phrase at M. 16 and then develops into its own melody. T.S. Eliot said "in my end is my beginning". That certainly applies in many places throughout this movement.

I am now working on preparing the parts for this piece and getting them off to the performers for their comments.

To see and hear what I have composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.net/goulashblog.html
The score is transposed.

Dr. B

Monday, April 14, 2008

Goulash 3rd movement

In my last post, I discussed my getting started with the third movement of Goulash. This movement has been challenging to compose, partly because of all the interruptions I have been experiencing with my composing schedule and partly because I do not have a clear vision of the movement. I do have general idea of what I want to do. The opening slow section is now complete. At M. 25, I introduced a contrasting section that is imitative. At M. 32-42, I return to the material I used at M. 14-24 but the saxophone line is now more elaborate. A transition in the marimba at 43-64 brings the listener back to the opening material that gradually accelerates into the fast section at M. 61. The return to this opening section rounds out the slow opening nicely as it is free and exotic sounding before the stricter tempo of the fast section.

M. 61 begins the fast section with an angular, yet harmonically suggestive marimba pattern of eighth notes. The saxophone introduces the first melodic idea at M. 63. It has a dotted rhythm figure, some syncopation and some scale-wise flourishes. The last part of the idea uses imitation between the saxophone and marimba. At. M 71-83, the roles of the two instruments reverse and the last part of the idea is extended. M. 84 ushers in a variant of the idea with descending then ascending arpeggios in the marimba and scalar passages in the saxophone. Imitation once again completes the phrase. At M. 92-104, the roles reverse once again and the end of the idea receives an extension. M. 104 is another variant of the initial idea that incorporates both the eighth note arpeggios and the scalar 16th notes. The texture is all marimba at this point. At 113, the texture is now saxophone primarily with a few punctuations with the marimba.

Once again, the ideas seem to be working but I don't know where it will take me next. The challenge I am finding in writing for 2 instruments is to create variety of texture. I accomplish that by alternating lead in the two instruments, changing from harmophony to polyphony, and using one instrument only for phrases. Since I can't vary the texture like I could in an orchestral piece, I need to strive for variety in other ways, yet still maintain unity in the piece. This might suggest a return to the slow section briefly before the final virtuostic fast section. We will see if this happens as the movement progresses.

To see and hear what I have composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.net/goulashblog.html
The score is transposed.

Dr. B

Monday, April 7, 2008

Marketing, Guatemaya and Goulash

The title of this post sounds like goulash, but it highlights the three things I'll be reflecting on.

Yesterday, I had a table to sell my music and CDs at a Tuba/Euphonium conference being held at Millersville University. Normally, I market through internet news groups but I thought I would try something different. My publishing company is a print-on-demand establishment, so my first task was to decide what music to print and bring with me. I settled on some of my euphonium and tuba duets. I also had some copies already left over from other seminars I have done, so I brought that music along even though it was not tuba or euphonium oriented. I also made catalogs of my tuba and euphonium music for distribution. All in all, I'd say the day was a positive experience. I would have attended this event anyway as I am a tuba player, and it was nice to share my music with some of the people in attendance. I actually sold some of my there music as well as some of my tuba and euphonium music. My setup consisted of a display board with my publishing company and Cd label name, plus some graphics of things we offer. I had nice display racks for my music and CDs. I had a credit card swiper from CDBaby for credit card sales and had my laptop computer and headphones with me so that people could hear recordings or MIDI versions of my music. I will consider doing this type of marketing in the future, but it does take time and can be expensive.

This morning, I made what I hope will be the final revisions to Guatemaya. I have had excellent correspondence with Meggie Aube, for whom this piece is written. She has sent me rehearsal recordings and with the help of her teacher, made some suggestions for changing some of the octaves in the piece. I also made some adjustments to a few measures to facilitate the technique. The biggest change is in the 3rd movement where I adjusted the tempo slower as its sounds more majestic and mysterious that way.This is a good example of how collaboration can work between composer and performer.

To see and hear the revision, go to http://www.cooppress.net/guatemayablog.html

I have also been working on the third movement of Goulash. I have settled on alto saxophone and marimba for this movement. It will be in the style of a Csárdás beginning with a slow section with some freedom of tempo and followed by a fast, fiery section. I started in 6/8 time because I haven't used that meter in the other movements and I'm consciously trying to stay away from imitating the famous Csárdás by Monti. Even though I like what I have written thus far, I am not sure where this is going and whether it will sound like a Csárdás. As you can see and hear, the opening is quite free in tempo. In measure 6 & 7, I develop the triplet motive first stated at the beginning of m. 6 in the saxophone to lead to a climax at the end of measure 7. Measure 9 begins a transition to a section of steadier rhythm. The marimba part of harmonic eighth notes becomes a steadier rhythm at m. 14. The saxophone dotted rhythm motif that ends the section at m. 9 becomes another unifying factor in the new section.

To see and hear what I have composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.hostrack.net/goulashblog.html