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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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chorale Preludes in Modern Settings Movement 2

This is the 2nd 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.

I chose "Wondrous Love" for this chorale prelude. After a quiet introduction in 3/4 for four measures, the meter changes to 4/4 for the tune. I have set two verses of this plaintive melody in the 2nd and 3rd flutes. The first flute plays a descant all the way through. The 4th part has an independent bass line. All this creates a three-part counterpoint. The first verse has rests between each of the phrases where the descant and bass line fill in the gaps. The second verse eliminates the rests between phrases. The movement ends with a repeat of the last phrase as a coda.

I found the harmony of this tune fascinating. It is very modal and while it appears to be in c minor, it begins and ends on a subdominant (iv) chord. I made the harmony even more interesting by alternating between the major form of the submediant (VI) and a borrowed minor version. This can be observed by the use of D or Db, therefore creating the two different versions of the chord.

The other thing to note is my judicious use of staccato in this primarily legato tune. The tune itself is almost always legato (slurred) and to set off the decant which crosses above and below the tune, I use staccato notes. The bass line also becomes staccato at times to support the descant. I hope that this variation in articulation creates interest and also aids in the clarity of the lines.

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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