Thursday, 6 December 2012

Final week

So last week, I played my full piece for the class. There were many great suggestions and errors in need of correction brought to my attention. But in the last week, I (like everyone else) have been super busy with projects, studying, etc. and have gotten no time to make any changes to my score. After having my first rehearsal with my players, I got some (almost surprising) compliments about my piece. I honestly am not in love with the piece, I felt bounded by the rules of the assignment for the most part but it seems like the other guys really enjoy it. Because of all the positive comments, I decided not to make any huge changes to to my score before handing it in (besides a few notation errors). I was not sure how the piece would be recieved, and I have to say, I am happy with how things turned out.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Assignment 2 first blog

in preparation for my first presentation in class of my 2nd piece, I had a lot of work done. I realized this was possibly a bad idea because if there had been a lot of things wrong with my work then it would have been a pain to have to fix it all. But I was pretty happy with how things went and how my piece was received.

Just to recap, my idea was to have a tonal violin duo with fairly basic melodies accompanied by a percussion duo. While the violin's play what I like to think as a cliche of what one might've heard in the classical renaissance period, the percussionists are laying down different grooves in different percussion styles pertaining to different global regions that just don't fit in at all with the typical violin duo.

There were some really great suggestions in class and most them I plan to use. I really like Mitchell's suggestion which was to build the piece to a clear climax before a resolution and ending possibly making more use of the 7/16 time signature. I think this is an excellent idea since I had already thought about using the 7/16 time signature again.

Like andrew suggested, I plan to use all four players in this section. This is because up to this point, most of the themes are heard in just two instruments. Having all four players going at the same time may help add to the climactic effect.

Lastly, in class, I mentioned the possibility of incorporating a drum kit in the climax, possibly using typical rock drum beat patterns. There were some skeptical reactions but as Dr. Ross said, it's possible to pull off if done right. I plan to give this a try for thursdays class.

Evan Harte

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Assignment 1 week 6

Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent a great deal of time polishing up my first two movements of my piece. Since I am the piano player for the performance, a lot of this time was spent trying to make some sections more playable. After actually learning my own piece, I found that certain phrases begin with a chord or a motive which involve giant leaps from the end of the previous phrase. I found that in these cases, I also don't have much time to get there. So I spent time making changes so that there are no "panicked leaps". A few other things I changed involve the addition of ritardando's, especially in the first movement, in order to make the music flow a little better and to be less metric and "choppy". I have also fixed the notation of several chords. Many of my chords were notated poorly: either all in the bass clef when they could be spread to the bass and treble, or they made use of unnecessary enharmonic spellings. Besides this, I only changed the cello part at the beginning of the second movement. As Dr. Ross pointed out, I made use of the exact same rhythm with every arpeggio in every second bar. In order to add variation, I changed each chord's rhythm after the second repetition of the rhythm. In other words, I used the first rhythm the first two times and used new rhythms for the remaining times. As for the 3rd and final movement, it has only been completed recently and I never got a chance to play it for the class. Because of this, absolutely no changes were made to it.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Assegnment 1 Week 3

There were 3 main comments on the last presentation of my piece that I have been working on/polishing up.

1.) Placing the piano below the cello on the score
2.) Indicate which notes trilled notes are trilling to
3.) Re-write the two-handed piano parts in one stave notation to two stave notation so that it becomes clearer as to which hand plays which notes.

I agree with all of these suggestions and have finally, after many hours of fooling around with Sibelius, figured out how to execute them in the notation program. All three help make my score look more professional, which I like.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Assignment 1 week 2

This week, I presented the unfinished, rough draft of my first piece in composition seminar. I was glad that I got mostly positive feedback because I was rather unsure about how it would be received. Despite this however, there are some things I want to work on / some sections I would like to improve for next tuesday. I will now list some of the comments I received followed by my thoughts and interpretations.

1.) When one instrument, either piano or cello, has an idea or motive, the other instrument seems to fairly inactive/boring. (This is definitely true and is sort of what I was aiming for. My plan was to have these different "motives" in a call and answer style between the two instruments but then have moments where the two join together in unison. Mitchell suggested that maybe I add some variation instead of having just whole notes on one pitch. I agree with this and will give it a try, although I don't want to stray too far from my initial idea.)

2.) Difficult for the piano player to interpret whether a section requires one hand or two. (As Vanessa suggested, I will definitely use the "md" and "ms" for indication of which hand plays which line.)

3.) Too many running 16th note figures / no rhythmic variation (I like the idea Dr. Ross suggested which is to break up the sixteenth note pattern with eighth notes or rests. Wherever this occurs, add notes in the second instrument to add color and interaction between the instruments. I will definitely play around with this idea.)

4.) Very percussive (It's who I am :D   )

5.) Avoid repeating a section / using repeat signs. Instead, write out the section again but with variation and possibly elaboration / extensions. (I like this idea very much. I put in the repeat in in the first place because I felt the section needed to last longer. I found out that the way the section ends and the way it begins ties together nicely. Therefore, I felt that a repeat was necessary. If I had left it the way it originally was, including the repeat, the listener would latch on to the fact that there is an exact repeat happening and lose interest. Therefore, I like the idea of adding variation, extensions etc. in order to change things up a bit but still keep the basic idea of the repeat.)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Assignment 1 week 1

After hearing the other student's chord's today, I knew when it was my turn that I had not fully understood the assignment. I didn't pay much attention to the one guideline in bold print: "None of the chords should sound like an obvious sonority in functional harmony". Most of my chords were obviously functional in tonal harmony. Therefore, I definitely need to add more tension for next week. I will try out the suggested method of using both hands instead of just one and placing them anywhere on the keyboard until I find chords that I like. Although most of the chords I chose were simple and obvious sonorities in functional harmony, there were a few that I really did like and plan to keep. But besides the select few, I will take Dr. Ross' advice and re-do the assignment.

My main goal was to have a first chord somewhere in the lower register and build tension by moving into the higher register. After achieving a maximum tension at approximately 61.8% of the way through the progression, I would start moving backwards towards the first chord again. But as I learned today, it would take the exact opposite of this idea to achieve the effect I was looking for. As suggested to me, I think it is a good idea to try starting out in the middle C area and then work my way outwards to the extremes of the piano. After all, it seems that chords in the lower register have the most tension. And adding higher notes adds even more tension. After achieving the maximum tension, I will then move back towards the middle C area.

Evan Harte