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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.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

River Suite Movement 3

The third movement is called Mississippi and is influenced by the blues. Because this is a slow blues, I selected a triple meter of 12/8 to get the triplet feel instead of using a duple meter with swung eighth notes. All the material in this movement is original unlike the first two movements where existing folk songs were used. The melodic material is created from a derivative of the blues scale. The harmonic material comes from a mixture of triads and 7th chords that hint at polytonality, and 9th and 11th chords, along with an occasional chord in 4ths.

I had some good ideas in this movement, but struggled with balance and proportion. The first 8 measures were added after measures 8-28 were created. I had difficulty moving forward from measure 28 and I discovered that the reason was because things were out of balance before then. After I added M. 1-8, things fell into place.

The form is an arch form (ABCBA). The A section begins moodily with a bass line in the piano left hand. At M. 5, the violin and saxophone introduce a motif (motif a) that will be enlarged in the B section. The piano finishes out the phrase with another motif (motif b) that will also be used in section B. Section B begins at M. 9 with the melody in the saxophone (motif a) and a response in the violin using quadruplets. The violin then does motif b and the saxophone has the response at the end of the phrase. The roles are reversed at M 16 before a cannon between violin and saxophone using motif b finishes this section.

M 23 ushers in section C with the use of lush harmony in the piano and the melody mainly in the left hand. At M. 27 the violin and sax take over this melodic idea and expand it before bringing the B section back. I like to vary my material slightly when ideas return. The most notable is the triplet feel eighths in the piano right hand, but there are also subtle differences including a tonality shift from the original statement. M. 48 brings back the A section and the movement ends quietly and mysteriously.

I added a lot of tempo changes and tweaked some of the ideas to help the transitions between sections flow seamlessly. These little details add a more artistic touch.

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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