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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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Alabama Songbook Suite Movement 5

This is the fifth movement of a multi-movement composition that I am writing for Jeremy Crawford. It is based on selections from The Alabama Songbook compiled by Byron Arnold. This movement is called "Drunkard's Song".

My goal in writing this movement is to make the tuba sound drunk. I do a number of things in both the tuba and piano to create this illusion of inconsistencies common in an inebriated person.

While the song itself in in 6/8, I begin the movement with two measures of piano in 9/8, therefore disguising the meter. When the tuba comes in with the song in 6/8, the piano continues its 9/8 pattern. The pattern disguises the tonality by using the lowered 7th scale degree in the triplet. The tuba player is asked to play the tune in a drunkard manner. I am envisioning scooped notes and bending of pitch.

Measures 17-34 is a free section loosely based on motives from the song. Accidentals and tonality shifts obscure the sense of key and hemiola is used to disguise the rhythm.

Measures 35- 45 is a section of all out drunkenness. The tuba uses flutter tongue, high register squeals, and grace notes. the piano imitates the tuba and sometimes mocks the tuba with laughing sounds.

Measures 47-62 brings back a slightly elaborated version of the tune and tuba is muted. The ending incorporates the laughing sounds and the flutter tongue. The tuba is so drunk, that he can't even find the correct pitch to end on until the last moment.

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

Dr. B

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