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, March 30, 2009

Moving to Arizona

During April, I will be moving to Arizona. We have sold our house in Pennsylvania and will be camping until we find our new home. As a result, my composing activities have been put on hold. I hope to be able to do some composing while camping, but it all depends on how quickly we find a house. I'll be reading any comments that are posted during this time and will resume posting as I begin working on new projects.If you haven't had the opportunity to read my earlier posts, I suggest that you do so. There are a lot of ideas regarding composing and interpreting music that could be helpful for developing composers and to those just interested in learning more about music.

Dr. B

Monday, March 16, 2009

Contrasts Revised

I heard back from John DelVento who had a few good suggestions to adapt the piece to his needs. The first suggestion was in response to my concern about range. The high Db in measure 48 was possible but would be a weak sounding note. Since I wanted this to build to the Allegro, I changed measure 48 to a 3/4 measure, left out the Db on beat 4 and altered notes on the 2nd beat. This accomplishes the drive to the Allegro I wanted in a similar manner.

I was also concerned about the range at the end of the piece, but John said this would be okay. But in looking at it again, I decided to take the first run down an octave which makes the ending more effective.

John also wanted more rhythmic variety in measure 102. Since I wanted a repeated note idea for the beginning of the canon, I broke up the constant 16th notes by putting a eighth note on beat 3.

The last revision was to add a ritard on beat 4 of measure 38 with an A tempo on measure 38. I like this change and it shows the musicality of John, who made the suggestion.

Composers should always be willing to adapt their music to the needs of their performers if it does not compromise in intent of the music. I also find that a objective 2nd party who can listen to my music with fresh ears can also be a benefit. I usually play my compositions for my wife who has come up with many fine ideas to improve my music. Even though I have been composing for 55 years, I still have things that I can learn from others. I thank all those who have offered suggestions over the years. Creating a musical composition is similar to an author creating a novel. If one reads the acknowledgments at the beginning of the book, one realizes that the final product is a result of many others who inspire or assist in the creation of the final product.

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

Dr. B

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Contrasts for Euphonium and Piano Part 2 Completed

I have now completed Contrasts with the exception of getting feedback from John DelVento. I have sent him a copy of the euphonium part for his comments.

I have continued the idea of contrasts throughout this second part. It is imperative that the performers observe the dynamics and articulations for the piece to have its maximum effect. The second part is in an arch form ABCBA where the C section serves as a development of ideas from the A and B sections. The C section also introduces a new thematic idea that is treated canonically. The euphonium uses double tonguing to introduce the canon and the piano uses staccato eighth notes as rapid repetitions of the same pitch are not characteristic of the piano. The sections of the second part are as follows: M. 49-50 transition from slow to fast section. M 51-79 A. M 79-97 B. M 97-101 transition to C. M 102-134 C (development). Of note in this section is the canon I described earlier and the use of the B theme over the canon beginning at M 118. M. 135-138 transition back to B (these contrasting measures are used often for transitions and surprise, like at 157-159 which brings the listener back to the A material). M.160-179 A. M 179-end concluding section or coda.

I urge all composers to format their own parts. When I do this, I see each part from a more linear perspective. While I was formatting the euphonium part, I discovered that I did not give the euphonium player as much rest as I thought I did when composing the piece. This raises a question of endurance and I am asking John to comment on this aspect of the piece. I think it will be okay as there are numerous short rests and two longer multi-measure rests. I became aware of this when trying to figure out where to put page turns. In one place (M. 116), I actually removed some notes from the euphonium part so that a page turn could be accomplished. I added some dynamics at that point to make the rest of it fit what I intended.

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

Dr. B

Monday, March 2, 2009

Contrasts for Euphonium and Piano Part 2

I have begun the fast section of Contrasts and I am pleased with how it is going. It is challenging for me to compose with uninterrupted daily sessions as things keep coming up regarding my impending move to the Southwest. I also spent several days moving some cassette recordings of my music over to digital. That was an interesting project as it gave me a chance to review several earlier compositions and I have decided to eliminate some of those works from my catalog. My main reason for eliminating them was because they are too dissonant. They were composed during the 1970's and early 1980's and I find that I have become more tonal in my later years.

The fast section of Contrasts begins with a syncopated motif in the euphonium and a staccato 1/8 note bass line in the piano. The piano soon picks up the syncopated rhythmic feel while the euphonium becomes more lyrical with its line that is interspersed with some staccato figures for contrast. I find myself attracted lately to a 3 phrase structure reminiscent of the 12 bar blues (a a b). However my 3 phrase structure is often 11 bars instead of 12. The piano them takes over the euphonium part in the right hand beginning at measure 62 while the left hand remains syncopated. From measure 73 to the downbeat of 79, the euphonium and piano have a transition section consisting of the running 16th notes over syncopation. From the 2nd beat of measure 79 up to where I stopped is a more lyrical 2nd theme (also in a 3 phrase structure) over a quiet yet intense bass line. The piano fills in with some running 16th notes during the euphonium sustained notes. The harmony of this fast section is primarily quartal (chords and arpeggios in 4ths instead of 3rds).

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

Dr. B