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.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Grass Roots Ending Revised

I played Grass Roots for my wife yesterday and she had some suggestions for a better ending. She felt that after the tuba flourish near the end that the last measures were an anti-climax. I had to agree with her and after about an hour of trying different things, I felt that I came up with a stronger ending. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts as well.

This new ending incorporates the syncopated rhythm introduced at the Majestic section at measure 79 and also ties things together harmonically by borrowing chords from the modes used in this final section.

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Arizona Centennial Commission

I just received word that I won the Arizona Centennial Commission's Composition Commission to write a new band composition to celebrate Arizona's 100th Anniversary in 2012. The piece is to made available to high schools, colleges/universities, community bands, and professional/semi-professional ensembles throughout the state, so I should get many performances. In addition, I will receive $5,000! I was selected out of the many Arizona composers who applied for this project, so the competition was stiff. The judges were professional musicians and conductors from Arizona. I will be working on the piece during the first part of 2010 as it needs to be completed by June.

The piece that I envision writing, would be a five-minute composition called “Arizona Centennial Overture”, celebrating the various cultures that make Arizona a unique blend of old and new. Sections of the overture would depict the indigenous cultures, the Spanish and Mexican heritage, the early pioneers, and finally, the recent diverse population growth.

I am also excited because I should get some good publicity and recognition as a composer in my new home state that may lead to other opportunities. I am humbled and thankful for this opportunity.

May my readers be blessed with a joyous holiday season and a wonderful 2010.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Grass Roots 3rd Movement Continued and Completed

I have completed the 3rd movement of Grass Roots and therefore the entire piece. The third movement is not only a "Manifestation", but a triumph. The "Manifestation"is represented by the rich harmonies and lyrical lines. The triumph is represented by the gradual increase in intensity as the movement unfolds. The increase in intensity is accomplished through the use of slight increases in tempo, changes in tessitura, increase in dynamics, and shortening of measures (6/8 to 5/8).

I continue my discussion of this movement with the section from 35 to 59. This section depicts a sense of grandeur, reflective of the awe-inspiring scenery of the National Parks. The tuba and left hand of the piano alternate phrases frequently in this section. The right hand of the piano fills in the lush harmony with an arpeggiated figure. When I first composed this section, it was 8 measures shorter. After I arrived at an end of the piece, I felt that I needed to add something here to balance the other movements as the movement was ending too soon. Therefore, M. 41-48 are repeated at 49-56 with some slight variations.

M. 56 begins the triumphant section. The tempo increases, measures are shortened, range is higher and more dotted rhythms are used to create the excitement.

M. 79 is the culmination of the excitement. The melodic line is even more syncopated and both piano and tuba have final flourishes expressing triumph.

I usually struggle with endings and this piece was no exception. My first attempts were too abrupt so I added a repeat of M. 79 & 80 done solely by the piano at 81 and 82. I also added some notes to the piano part in the last three measures as the motion stopped more abruptly than what I had in mind. The ending now has the appropriate length and a sense of broadening towards the final notes instead of just stopping.

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

Dr. B