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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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walk In Balance and Beauty Part 4

I have completed Walk In Balance and Beauty and I am pleased with the way the piece turned out. The fourth saying that I used has a similar sentiment as the first saying:

Treat the Earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
We borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

The opening idea for the flute interlude at measure 74 is borrowed from part of the beginning, but it takes its own direction at the end. It serves as a unifying factor and leads the listener back to a recapitulation of the opening choral section which is sung in full voice. I varied the musical material to fit the new words. After setting the first two lines (measures 78-82), another flute interlude at measures 83-87, this time borrowed from measures 42-45, leads the listener back to the mood of the second saying, which was quiet and reflective. In measure 88, I bring in the top three voices in a pyramid effect. Instead of having all three parts sing the words in rhythmic unison, I have each voice sustaining its own word. I chose this approach because the tenor is on a high G and singing the words "do not" is harder than the vowel sound of the word "we".

My challenge in the setting of the last saying was its short length and the fact that I wanted two moods, strong for the first part and reflective for the second. Its length did not seem to balance the rest of the piece. I solved the problem in two ways. First, I repeated the word "Children" three times, each time getting softer and the last time being elongated. Second, I reduced the tempo of the last section to quarter equals 54. A flute and percussion line that is borrowed from the very beginning of the piece, became my ending.

My experience as a performer in choirs is minimal. I love writing for voices, but as I said in an earlier post, people have criticized my choral writing as being too instrumental. After studying many choral pieces, I have taken this to mean that the voices are too independent. I have always taken care with setting up pitches for the entrances of the voices and to use good voice leading. I was especially conscious of that in this piece. A choral director friend also pointed out that certain vowel sounds are hard to sing in the high register, so I was also conscious of this. I hope I created a singable piece. It is probably college level more than high school, although I suppose there are high school choirs that could do this piece. I invite those of you with more choral experience than myself to let me know whether I have created a singable piece.

I am looking for a choir to premiere this. If anyone is interested, please let me know.

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

Dr. B

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