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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, April 13, 2016

Three Desert Pictures Movement 2 - Virga

I am composing Three Desert Pictures for Frequency 49, a marvelous group of musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area. The combination of woodwind quintet and piano provides a wonderful palette of colors to represent a Haboob, Virga, and a Monsoon, which are the titles of the three movements of this work.

Virga is rainfall that evaporates before it reaches the ground. In the desert, Virga clouds can be present when other parts of the sky are clear. When sunlight reflects off of Virga, the visual effects are very ethereal. Here is a short video of Virga taken in 2010 that I found on YouTube:

There are two things that unify this movement. The first is the use of major 7th chords that are sometimes varied by substituting an augmented fifth or adding a ninth. These chords give an ethereal beauty to the movement. The second is the descending staccato sextuplets that diminuendo representing the falling rain evaporating.

The form of the movement is loosely A A'. Within each section, the musical material is varied through use of different motifs, instrumentation, and texture.

Your comments about this blog post are always appreciated.

Dr. B

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