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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, July 24, 2014

Chorale Preludes in Modern Settings Movement 6

This is the 6th 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 mostly play the same line. There is also an optional piccolo part that mostly doubles the first flute an octave higher in spots.

I chose to combine two of my favorite hymns for this movement, All Creatures of Our God and King and For the Beauty of the Earth. For the eight-measure introduction, I created a variation of All Creatures by using the high and low points of the opening phrase (perfect 5th) and the three note scalar motif. This variant has a lot of diminution (cutting the note values in half) making it faster sounding than the tune itself. The "Alleluia" section of the hymn closes out the introduction (measures 5-8).

At measure 9, flute 2 is given the "All Creatures" melody while the first flute uses fragments of the same tune as a counter melody. The fourth flute has a sustained harmony part while the third flute plays a staccato and accented note every time the 4th flute changes pitch. This technique serves two purposes. It gives the instruments something different to play while also emphasizing the harmonic change, and introduces the idea of staccato contrasting legato that will be developed later on.

This section quietly winds down before a forte D major chord appears suddenly at measure 27 as an introduction to the new key and the next section. Once again notice the use of staccato notes against the sustained notes. Because of the homogeneous sound of the flute choir, it is very difficult to have several melodies occurring simultaneously without clarity being lost. My solution was to do the "All Creatures" melody legato and the "Beauty" melody staccato. The 3rd flute has the "All Creatures" melody and the other flutes do fragments from the "Beauty" melody in counterpoint from measures 29-45. A coda built out of the last phrase of "Beauty" closes the movement.

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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