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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, September 23, 2016

Alabama Songbook Suite Movement 3

This is the third movement of a multi-movement composition for tuba and piano that I am writing for Jeremy Crawford. It is based on selections from The Alabama Songbook compiled by Byron Arnold. This movement is Logan O. Bucken.

I was looking for a song in triple meter and this song appealed to me because of its rhythmic variety and possible motifs for development. The 7/8 measure is a curiosity as I am sure it is a result of Byron Arnold's transcription of the way the song was sung as he recorded it. Often folk songs are sung with rhythmic liberties that were not originally intended. Nevertheless, the 7/8 measure provides a nice break to the steadiness of the rhythm.

I provide a four measure introduction using one of the motifs from the song. It moves around tonally providing a hint of some of the altered chords that appear in my setting. The verse appears immediately afterwards in a very simple setting. I did not include the chorus here because of its similarity to the verse.

At measure 13, I create a contrasting section using a motif derived from the first measure of the song. The last motif of the song is used to modulate through a number of keys before arriving on the 7/8 measure at 22. This short section treats one of the motifs in a short canon before repeating and extending the introduction.

The section from measures 31-40 is a development section using another motif from the song that emphasizes hemiola rhythm. Instead of two groups of 3 in the 6/8, it becomes three groups of 2. This section is also in minor.

At measure 41, I take advantage of the Scottish roots of this Alabama folk song by creating a drone. The setting is in the piano and is the verse of the song. The chorus of the song appears in its entirety next in the piano while the tuba plays a technical countermelody. A deceptive cadence precedes the final fortissimo declaration.

Below is a video of the score that uses sampled sounds. Your comments are always appreciated.

Dr. B

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