Saturday, 7 April 2012

Thoughts Week of April 2-6

This week I had up to two minutes of my piece done, which sounds like not a lot, but in fact took a considerable amount of work.

- A more player-friendly way to beam the accented patterns of eighth notes in my cello part would be in 3, 3, 2 (rather than 4 and 4). This would mean beaming across the bar line, but the end result might be easier to read.

-In order to further accent the accents (which so far are only in the cello part) would be to add a flourish or pick up into it (in all parts) to bring it out further. Accents could also be orchestrated by adding  more weight (instrument-wise) on accents).

-Where parts have accents falling on simultaneous beats, I could have parts syncopate their accents instead.

- Bringing back the 7/8 rhythm would be interesting, as I didn't use 7/8 for very long in the first part.

-At my tempo change, I could re-use material from the faster section in order to get more use out of previous ideas.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Comments week of March 26

This week I managed to add a few more bars to my piece. It's turning out to be a lot of work just to add a a few extra seconds to the composition - but I'll persevere.
I only received a few small comments this week:

-In the flute part, I should look for good places for breath marks, and then perhaps change the rhythms (if necessary) to accommodate breaths.

-Where I have large leaps in the piano part, I should look for possible spots to lead up to a register change, rather than leading down and then making the pianist do a large 'jump'.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Comments Week of March 12

This week I only managed to add a small amount to my composition, which I was happy with, however it made me realise how much time it takes just to compose a little bit of music, especially in a piece that moves quickly.

Peoples' comments were:
-Sixteenth note runs (or any run, really) should usually finish on a strong beat, even if it's just a run in one voice and a finalizing note in another voice.
-My eighth note off beats in the flute could be accented and brought out more by having other instruments play the same rhythm.
-In my a section that is at present a flute solo, perhaps it could become one measure of flute solo, followed by the other instruments coming in for dramatic effect.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Week of March 5

This week I was a lot happier with what I came up with. My piece is more interesting and I am more excited about the possible directions it could go in.

-The flute part needs articulations, and could use irregular slurring patterns to bring out accents.
-Piano could accent the accented notes with chords, or with a unison note (to save large chord gesture for later).
-In the cello part, the open A string against lower notes (on double stops) might be too resonant compared to the lower note. If it is, the piano could double the lower note to bring it out more.
-The piano could have runs lading up to the flute's high accented notes.
-I could mess around with the ADSR envelope, ie. one instrument can do the attack on a note, while another sustains the note.
-An interesting texture/extended technique to try would be to have the flute playing into the piano with the pedal down (flute's mid range works best for this).

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Week of February 27 - March 2

This week I presented my first ideas for my piece for the Ora Ensemble. Overall I'm pretty disappointed/uninspired by what I put together. I was not in a good mindset when I  was trying to write, I think, so I've decided to start again with something totally different, as my first ideas weren't met with a lot of enthusiasm (which didn't surprise me). Maybe it's helpful to get started with a total failure, because then you know exactly which direction not to go in.

The comments were:
-The overall tempo could be faster
-Having such a long solo (on flute, or really on any one instrument) isn't such a great idea, and it's usually best to present the ensemble as an ensemble pretty close to the beginning. All of the ensemble should be included within the first few bars in some way. A way to do this, while maintaining the flute solo idea, would be to have the other instruments hold pedal tones. Even just having the strings play very tiny parts (ie. pizzicato, which is about as sparse and  minimal as it gets for a string instrument) would be another way to do this.
-The piano part should be written as if it's meant for piano (ie. pianistically). I'm not very good at doing this, even  though I play piano, and it's definitely something I need to work on. Even just doubling the existing piano line in octaves is one way to add more depth and 'piano-ness' to a piano part.
-Flute parts should include breath marks.
-Extended techniques in the flute would be a good way to make this more interesting. Flutter tonguing, breathy tones and breath attacks (all demonstrated by Bekah) all sounded really interesting.
-Glissandi should be notated more specifically in terms of their rhythm.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Week of February 6 - February 10

I presented my third and last piano piece this week, which I think has several good ideas and motives, but which are maybe not put together as well as they could be. This piece was meant to sound cold and icy.

Comments were:

-Try having fewer resolutions from D# to E in order to obscure the tonality even further than it already is, and to create more mystery.
-On the repeat of the initial theme, a few changes should be made to make it slightly different from the first time through.
-The second time through the theme could be a different number of measures so that it doesn't feel so perfectly even and proportionate.
-Try not to repeat notes as this feels slightly awkward. (I had already thought this but forgot to make the changes before I presented).
-Make my chords bigger and more rippling.
-My repeated thirds are too repetitious, and should be changed so that they aren't all the same.
-Because I have a pattern of leaps, they should all be approached in the same way to give some unity.

I found most of these comments helpful, however I kind of liked the sparse texture given by not having big chords, as I thought it gave a more 'icy' feeling.

Week of January 30-February 3

This week I presented my second piano piece, which has a much darker feel than my first one.
People's comments were:

-Instead of spending less time on the introduction, try spending the same amount of time while changing small details in the material in order to hold the listener's interest.
-Also in the introduction, I could try changing registers (moving lower or higher) or planing.
-Try out different sounds to make it even darker-sounding.
-Add a technique marking at the beginning about rubato.
-I could add more intervals to create more change and keep interest (using 7ths or 3rds).
-The octaves in the left hand could be moved down an octave to make a more resonant and deep sound.
-Tied whole notes in this time signature (5/4) need to be written as either 3 + 2 or 2+3. 
-In some spots where I had octaves, single notes could be more effective. 

I think all of these were really useful comments, however sometimes I find the number of suggestions a bit overwhelming, as it's hard not to try to incorporate all of them into your next revision.