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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, July 18, 2014

Chorale Preludes in Modern Settings Movement 4

This is the 4th movement of a 15-20 minute composition for a four-part flute ensemble at an intermediate (early high school) level. The piece is called "Chorale Preludes in Modern Settings" that would have five to eight short movements where each movement would be based on a hymn or hymns and would use the hymn in a creative manner, rather than just a chorale-like setting. The music would still be mostly tonal and lyrical. Each Chorale Prelude can be performed individually and the composition short work equally as well in a church or concert setting.

The required instrumentation is at least 3 flutes plus a 4th flute, alto flute, and/or bass flute as these three instruments play the same line. There is also an optional piccolo part that mostly doubles the first flute an octave higher in spots.

Holy, Holy, Holy is set with two contrasting elements. The first is a chromatic, slightly atonal section at the beginning and between the two verses that suggests the mystery of faith. The second is the settings of the chorale itself in a tonal treatment with counter-melodies. The chromatic, slightly atonal sections use a thinner texture as well. They also outline the rhythm of the hymn and that gives these sections an air of familiarity.

The treatment of the hymn is similar both times. I divide the hymn tune between all four flute parts by giving the 4th flute the tune in measures 1 and 2, the 2nd and 3rd flutes the melody in measures 3 and 4, and the first flute the melody in measures 5-8. One of the challenges in writing for flute choir is the limited range of the flutes that makes it difficult to not cross voices when the lines are independent. You will notice that when the 2nd and 3rd flutes have the melody, there is an octave leap in the middle in order to avoid the cross voices. Another challenge is balance as the flute's low register is weak dynamically. Having an alto and/or bass flute helps the 4th flute line project. If this is played only with the 4th flute, care must be taken to balance the ensemble. The moving lines around the melody should be thought of as an obligato or descant part. The ending is like a written out ritard accounting for the use of the 2/4 and 3/4 measures. It also has a deceptive cadence in measure 52.

I export my Sibelius Music Notation file as a movie (new to version 7.5). I also use Noteperformer software for the sounds. These are sample sounds, but the software also includes an algorithm that reads ahead in the music and phrases the music according to context, therefore making the realization closer to live performance. I  upload these videos to youtube and embed the video for each movement. I hope that this technology allows the reader to have an easier experience and a more realistic performance. To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Chorale_Preludes_blog.html

As always, your comments are appreciated.
Dr. B

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