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.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adages for Violin and Tuba Movement 5

Adage five is "He who hesitates is lost." Did you ever wonder how certain phrases would be set to music so that the music would represent the meaning of the phrase? How would you set this adage to music? Since instrumental music is by its very nature abstract, how can instruments represent specific meanings? If you weren't reading my blog or even knew the title of this movement, would you get the meaning I'm trying to convey? And is it necessary for one to be aware of the extra musical associations to enjoy the music?

I believe that these pieces would stand on their own without the titles and program notes. But for me, it is an integral part of the composition process. It makes composing easier when I am aiming to represent something specific. I have composed pieces with more abstract titles like "Sonata" where I get a musical idea and see where it leads me, but even then, I have an idea of the emotions that I am trying to represent. It was Stravinsky who said "I believe that music is incapable of representing anything at all." This statement was to foster his argument for Neoclassicism as a reaction to Romanticism. He later retracted this statement. I believe music does represent our humanity. If it didn't, it wouldn't be music, it would be just noise.

When I described movement three, I went into detail about a game of tag. This idea occurred after I completed the movement. I wanted to create a fun movement, but the specific story happened to make sense after I wrote the movement and added it to the description. The listener may come up with their own story line and that is fine.

I hope I have provided you with some food for thought. You may want to listen to movement 5 before reading any further and compare your feelings with my discussion below.

My general goal in this movement was to create a rhythmic complex movement that would involve the two instruments answering each other in the manner of a call and response. I had taken a class on free music improvisation a few months ago and we did a lot of call and response and I think this influenced me in this movement. The tuba is mainly the leader in the call and response, but in good improvisation and in this movement, each person listens to each other and either imitates the other or initiates a variation of the idea or a new idea. The message I am trying to convey is simple; you can't hesitate in this movement or it will fall apart (get lost). The complexity of the rhythms need to gel for it to work. The are little pauses throughout, but those are built in.

To add variety to the straight call and response, measures 9-15 have both instruments playing together. I liked this section so much, that I used again with slight variation towards the end. The tonality is fairly static, mainly built around G and D, but there is so much rhythmic interest, that tonality serves as a stabilizing force.

To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/adages_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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