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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.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fantasie Variations on the Polish National Anthem

Hello readers. I have been working on a new composition for about two weeks. My work has been sporadic because I have also been completely revising my website which is now up and running.

My new composition is being composed for saxophonist David Wozniak and pianist Libby Vanatta who received a Recording Grant from Co-op Press. David wanted a new piece with Polish influences and suggested using the Polish National Anthem.

I find it challenging to compose a composition based upon music with a very simple structure. The chords of the anthem are I, IV, V, the melody is totally diatonic, the meter is 3/4 with a Polonaise rhythm, the form is AB and the phrases are four measure phrases. In in order to be consistent, stylistically, one needs to respect this simplicity, yet at the same time, strive to be inventive.

I began with a simple introduction using motives from the melody is a brief contrapuntal treatment. After an eight measure introduction, the anthem is stated with the polonaise rhythm. On the repeat of the B section, I ornament the melody a little bit.

At measure 33, my ear suggested a minor mode variation. The piano plays alone for the first eight measures then the saxophone joins with a chromatic variation on top of the chordal piano part. I end this variation with a 4/4 measure followed by two more 4/4 measures as an interlude. This breaks up the 3/4 pattern.

The next variation is quieter and thinner in texture, just the saxophone variant and the left hand of the piano. After eight measures, this repeats, but the right hand of the piano does some staccato arpeggios before erupting into a chromatic flourish. Once more I end with a 4/4 measure followed by two more measures of 4/4 interlude.

The last new variation of this fast opening section is the farthest removed thus far. The interlude that precedes it uses some chords in fourth that sets up a looser melodic and harmonic variation. I change meter more frequently therefore creating variety in rhythm as well.

To end this fast section, I repeat the minor variant from earlier but add a little saxophone fill in the sustained notes of the first eight measures.

I plan to transition to a slower section and will discuss that after it is composed.

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

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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