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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.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Inventions - Movement 3 - The Periscope

This is the third movement of a composition being composed as a result of a brass trio commissioning consortium. The title "Inventions' has a double meaning as a musical invention is a short contrapuntal composition that is usually based on a single theme. The second meaning is that each movement represents a significant invention. There will be five movements.

It may seem like I am posting these movements very rapidly and one may wonder how I can compose this fast. First of all, the ideas for these movements are coming quite easily, something I don't always experience. Secondly, I am composing 4-5 hours per day. With that amount of time, it is very possible to complete two minutes of music for three brass instruments. I often complete the movement in one day, but I like to let the music sit for at least a day before reviewing it. I find that while composing, I am too close to the details of the music and by coming back to it a day later, I can have a broader perspective.

The way I decided to represent the periscope is to create a scenario. A submarine is lurking under water (Section A). That is represented by the dark colors in a slow 6/8. The melodic lines swell and recede representing the undulations of the ocean. Ominous sounds accompany the rising of the periscope and the scanning of the horizon for destroyers and for prey (Section B). The ascending staccato sixteenth notes represent the periscope going up and when the sixteenth notes descend, the periscope is being lowered. The half-step repeated figure is the periscope scanning the horizon.

The movement is in an ABA'B' form. Subtle variations in instrumentation, melody, harmony, and dynamics created the differences in the repeated A and B sections.

Below is the transposed score and sampled sounds in video format. Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

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