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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, November 14, 2016

Divertimento for Woodwind Trio or Quartet Movement 2

This is the second movement of a three-movement composition for a flexible instrumentation woodwind trio/quartet being composed as part of a commissioning consortium. Groups interested in joining the consortium can do so until November 30, 2016 at http://www.cooppress.net/page9/page10/index.html

This movement is called Ballad and is lyrical at an Andante tempo. The form of the movement is through-composed as the motives develop into new variations instead of having clearly distinguished themes. There is however a recapitulation that brings the listen back to the opening material.

Some of the main motives that develop are:
  • a sixteenth note pattern that is arpeggiated and also stepwise
  • a dotted quarter and eighth note idea that is often on weak beats as well as appearing on strong beats
  • scalewise eighth note lines
All of these interweave among the parts with frequent counterpoint and some imitation. The harmony is lush with seventh chords used frequently.

The major challenge in composing this piece is to make it playable by either a trio or quartet. I accomplished this by making the 2nd part an optional part. It adds some harmony that is not present in the trio version. The 2nd part also has important melodic lines, but those are cued in other instruments. After creating the piece in this manner, I then created specific versions for a trio of flute, clarinet, and bassoon or tenor saxophone; a quartet flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon; and a SATB saxophone quartet. The quartet versions gave even more melodic material to the second part.

The Saxophone Quartet version was particular challenging in this movement because the lines frequently crossed obscuring the identity of the contrapuntal lines. I put the Sax Quartet version in a different key from the other versions and adjusted the octaves carefully to preserve the lines and also avoid the crossed voices. Videos of the transposed score playing with sampled sounds appear below.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon Version

Saxophone Quartet Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon Version

Flute, Clarinet, and Tenor Saxophone Version

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