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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.

Friday, March 16, 2012

River Suite Movement 2

The second movement of River Suite is called Pee Dee. The Pee Dee River runs through North and South Carolina and the movement is inspired by spirituals. The two spirituals I used as the basis of this movement are "Keep in the Middle of the Road" and "Little David, Play on Your Harp."

Like the previous movement, I was challenged by trying to preserve the integrity of the spirituals and at the same time giving them my own individual treatment. I started with a slow, rubato version of the chorus of the first spiritual. Each phrase is interrupted by an arpeggiated figure in the piano right hand that is constructed from characteristics of a blues scale, namely 3 and b3, and 5 and b5 in close proximity, as well as using the b7. M. 17 ushers in the Allegro section with the verse of "Middle of the Road." I use a little octave displacement to add interest to the melody, incorporate call and response, and introduce a running scale in the piano. At. M 27, the phrases are divided among the instruments and the running scale takes on more of a presence. M 34 and 35 introduces a hemiola rhythm that will have more of a presence as the movement develops. The verse is used again at M 36 but this time with modulations up a half step on each phrase. M 54 is a two part canon using the chorus. The canon switches to the piano at 62 and the violin and sax play a counter melody.

M. 71 has a vamp in the piano that uses borrowed chords, therefore disguising the modality and tonality while sax and violin alternate phrases of the verse of "Little David." M. 89 uses the chorus of "Little David" and has call and response. M 102 uses hemiola to modulate up a step to the new key (D to E). M 116 & 117 expand the hemiola to modulate from E to Gb. M. 130 begins another series of modulations and the piano is syncopated behind them. Scales (blues variant), syncopation, and borrowed chords are all used for the ending of the movement.

I am now using flip pdf technology for the musical examples that go along with my posts. It uses Flash Player that most browsers come with. You will be hearing an mp3 of sampled sounds playing the music and you will see the score at the same time. You will need to turn the pages by clicking on the arrows at the appropriate time. To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/river_suite_blog.html.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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