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.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Funtasies Movement 3 and Revision to 1 & 2

The purpose of the blog is not only to describe what I'm doing with each composition, but also to provide insights to the compositional process and that often means sharing what does not work as well as what does. Often, when I am working on a multi-movement composition, what seems to work when I create the movement needs some minor revisions to work within the context of the entire composition. Such is the case with the first two movements of Funtasies.

First of all, I revised the title of the composition to reflect the fact that the composition will be used on a CD of Sonatas for Saxophone and Piano. As I mentioned in my first post on this composition, it is in a loose sonata form, but I wanted the title to contain the word "sonata"so it is now called Sonata "Funtasies" for Tenor Saxophone and Piano. The other thing I did was to take all the altissimo register saxophone parts down an octive and put optional 8va on them. I still would like the altissimo register in those spots, but in case a saxophonist has not yet mastered the altissimo register, the person can still play the piece. My indications preserve the musical line by taking phrases down an octave instead of just the high notes. I made these changes in my final version so they do not appear in the individual movements that are posted.

When listening to the first movement in the context of the other three movements, I realized that the left hand of the piano was too repetitious at M. 54 - 65. I changed some of the rhythms and pitches to create more interest.

I was planning a slow movement as part of Funtasies, and worked on that quite a bit, however, it did seem to fit into the spirit of the composition. It is difficult to make a slow movement sound like fun as the tempo seems to suggest a more serious emotion. I thought of calling in "Reveries" where one can conceive of reflecting on fun times, but I was still not satisfied with that. Instead, I took the 2nd movement, that was already very legato, and slowed the tempo from quarter = 200 to quarter = 176. This actually made the movement more whimsical and provided the needed contrast.

Both of these revised movements are posted along with the originals, so that you can compare the two versions.

Movement 3 "Witty" is in a scherzo style. The melody and harmony are based on thirds but are not in any clear key because the thirds will freely vary between major and minor creating an atonal quality. Sometimes the thirds outline an augmented triad (all major thirds) or a diminished 7th chord (all minor thirds). There is also chromatic passages that sound almost 12 tone because of the lack of repetition of pitch. With this being said, there are frequent places where tonality is briefly established to contain the atonality. Contrast between staccato and legato is another way the movement is witty.

The last movement "Teasing" will be in a rondo form to close out the Sonata.

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/funtasies_blog.html.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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