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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, December 5, 2013

Bandscapes Movements 10, 11, and 12

I am surprised with how quickly this composition is coming together. When I say quickly, I mean that it is taking me 4-6 hours for the smaller movements and 3-4 times as long for the first movement. I think the reason why it feels fast is because there is not much development of the material as I'm am trying to keep each "instrument demonstration" movement to 30-45 seconds. However, I do try to add slight variations to initial idea, whether it be orchestration, ornamentation, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, tempo, etc.

Here is the narration for Baritone Ballad (with apologies to Shakespeare)

What's in a name? That which we call a baritone


By any other name would sound as sweet;
So a baritone would, if it were a euphonium call'd,


Retain that dear perfection.

Its deep rich voice sounds like Romeo in love
Singing to Juliet on the balcony above
This lyrical ballad its amorous voice
Euphonium or baritone, the player’s choice.


A 5/4 meter in a slow tempo was chosen for this movement. I look for little ways to give fairly straight-forward music a little twist and in this case, the 5/4 meter creates a different rhythmic feel for the ballad. I also use rich jazz harmony and the accompaniment is syncopated. There is a blues feel to some of the motives. 

Narration for Tuba Tango

The tuba rounds out the band’s brass section
Its deep low voice sounding to perfection.
When it wraps around the head it is called a sousaphone
Because of its size, with a lot of wind it’s blown.

Known for its oom-pah due to polkas and marches
Supporting the band like majestic arches
Now it is featured in this Argentine dance
Sensuous and sultry, a mesmerizing trance.


The form of this short moveent is in ABAB with A being diatonic and B being chromatic. The full band section is very colorful with French Horn and trombone rips (glissandi).

Narration for Percussion Polka

The percussion make their sounds by striking
Almost anything they find to their liking.
Some of the sounds have a definite pitch
Others have none, yet still are rich.

Xylophones, timpani, and bells sounding clear
Things hitting metal, skin and wood you will hear
Mallets and sticks and even a spoon
Creating this polka, a light lilting tune.


The band plays a short introduction before the percussion take over with an AABA form. The 4 measures main theme starts diatonically and finishes chromatically. These 4 measure phrases are followed by the indefinite pitch percussion along with the timpani. The triangle and the suspended cymbal are indeed hit with a spoon as the poem suggests.

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

1 comment:

Linda Taylor said...

I am liking everything that I have heard so far.
I'm looking forward to programming Bandscapes, in 2014.
Linda Taylor, Conductor of the Pomona Concert Band