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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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Arizona Centennial Overture - First Step After Completion

As I said in my last post, there is still a lot of work to be done so that this overture can be performed by many different musical organizations during the centennial. I struggled a bit with how to proceed in the most logical manner, since so many things need to be done. I decided that the first step was to determine the absolute minimum instrumentation needed to have this composition work and to insert appropriate cues in order to cover solos and other important parts in less common instruments. I did this by duplicating the Sibelius file containing the overture, renaming it "minimum instrumentation", and muting the optional and less common instruments. I was able to tell where I need to add cues and/or change the voicing of some of the chords so that the piece can sound complete with less instruments. It is difficult to predict the instrument strengths and weakness of every group that will want to play this overture. For example, there was a while when public schools in Pennsylvania were experiencing large shortages of trombone players. Another example is the band that I play in now has a shortage of percussionists. But I think these problems are less frequent than not having double reeds or even French Horns.  

While I was doing this step of reworking the orchestration, I began to prepare a document that will outline the possibilities to potential performing groups. Here is the excerpt regarding instrumentation:

Full Instrumentation – pic; fl. 1 & 2; ob. 1 & 2; bsn. 1 & 2; Bb cl. 1, 2, 3; al. cl.; bs. cl.; al. sax. 1 & 2; ten. Sax.; bari. Sax.; trpt. 1, 2, 3; hn. 1, 2, 3, 4; trom. 1, 2, 3; euph BC and TC; tuba; timp.; perc. 1 (SD, Temple Blocks or 2 WB, claves, tom-toms); perc. 2 (BD, rattle, tamb. guiro); glock.

Minimum Instrumentation - pic; fl. 1 & 2; Bb cl. 1, 2, 3; bs. cl.; al. sax. 1 & 2; ten. Sax.; trpt. 1, 2, 3; hn. 1, 2; trom. 1, 2, 3; euph BC and TC; tuba; timp.; perc. 1 (SD, Temple Blocks or 2 WB, claves, tom-toms); perc. 2 (BD, rattle, tamb.); glock.

Can even be played without Horns, Bs. Clar., and Bari. Sax. if necessary as the following solos are cued:
Oboe solos are cued in Al. Sax. 1
Hn. 1 solos are cued in Trom. 1
Important Bs. Cl. Are cued in the Euph. Or Tuba part

I also decided to make the score size 8 1/2 X 14 (legal size). I left each instrument on a single staff as combining two instruments onto a staff would make the score more cluttered to read due to the stems of notes going in opposite directions. The staves are about the size of a miniature score, which is not too hard to read. If the conductor wishes to, he/she could have the score enlarged to 11 X 17 after download.

To see and hear what I have discussed in previous posts, go to 
http://www.cooppress.net/aco_blog.html. Audio and visual examples are provided to illustrate my discussion . Since blogspot does not have the capability of including audio examples, this link will navigate you away from this blog. To return, use your browser's back button or click on the Composing Insights link on the audio page. You will have two choices to hear the audio examples. The first uses a free Scorch plug-in that will enable you to see a scrolling score as you listen to the audio example. The second is an mp3 file of the audio only. The complete score is now transposed. If you would like to receive notifications of new blog posts, sign up to follow this blog.

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