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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, November 30, 2013

Bandscapes Movements 7, 8, and 9

Greetings readers and I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  One of the  things that I am thankful for is the support that I am receiving through the Bandscapes Commisioning Consortium. It is has been a lot of fun writing this composition and it is now more than 2/3 of the way composed. 

Movement 7 is a Trumpet Taratella. Here is the poem that introduces the movement:

Vibrate your lips into a mouthpiece
Turn it into a buzzing bee
Put it into a tube with valves
A trumpet or cornet you shall see.

The highest brass look alike at a glance
But the trumpet appears slightly bigger.
Now listen to them as they play a dance
About a spider, not a hornet or jigger.

One of the things that I am able to do as I am writing the brass movements is to involve the rest of the band more because of the carrying power of the brass. The tarantella is in a lively 6/8. The phrasing is irregular in this movement consisting of a 5 measure phrase, two 6 measure phrases, and a 5 measure phrase. At measure 23, the first two phrases repeat but there is a further irregularity caused by breaking the phrase after the second measure by having the piccolo echo the trumpets. 

Hymn for Horns is the eighth movement. Here is the poem:

Born from a hunting horn
Its bell towards the rear
Valves fingered by the left hand
With a sound strong and clear.

Majestic mellow Horns
Sing like an angelic choir
Blending their harmonies
In a song that inspires.

You may have noticed a pattern to the poems. The first stanza describes the instrument and the second describes the music. This movement is very straightforward yet the harmony is enhanced with chromatically altered chords. The arpeggios at measure 9 add color and movement to the harmony. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Horns are cued in the trombones allowing the movement to be played with as little as one Horn.

The trombones are featured in movement 9, Trombone Trepak. Here is the poem:

The trombonist says with certain pride,
“My instrument has no valves, just a slide
By moving it out the notes get low
And I can play precise or with a glissando.”

What better instrument to play this dance
In a lively two-four the rhythms prance.
It came to Russia from the Ukraine
It goes by so quick we will play it again.

The trepak is a very simple dance in AABA form using only I and V chords. I enhanced the harmony by substituted an augmented V chord in several places which gave rise to the melody of the first 4 measures. My form is AABB with the AA repeated. When the repeat occurs, I shift keys for tonal interest before returning to the original key. Trombone glissandi are used in the B sections.

I use 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 and you can use the zoom in feature to see more detail on larger scores. To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Bandscapes_blog.html.

Please read earlier posts for information about earlier movements. As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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