Showing posts from March, 2010

More on Celebration of the Deep

Supposed to be doing some tax work this morning, but instead I stole an hour or so to immerse myself in the orchestral piece.  There's lots to be straightened out/edited, and one approach I was enjoying using is to listen to each section separately: The strings, the brass, the woodwinds.  Amazing what emerges then, including odd note/pitch errors (as well as less-than-ideal choices).  Since I'm learning about orchestration, I've been using the text by George Frederick McKay Creative Orchestration which has lots of practical advice and encouragement. I may even be following some of it!  In particular I worked on a section where the strings are playing a pizzicato accompaniment, and I wanted the chord progression to be more interesting and varied even though the basic chord structure is pretty simple.  I come from the land of folk/rock basically, even power chords with no thirds are prominent in my sound-repertoire.  But with the glories of all these instruments I've bee…

Installed memory

My big accomplishment yesterday was installing 2 gigs more of RAM into my desktop, now my machine is humming along wonderfully!  No time to do anything else, however...  Looking forward to next composing hour to be enjoyed. 

Laundry, cooking/prepping veggies takes precedence today. 

I made a green lemonade juice with my Breton Juicer: One bunch Kale, 1/4 head romaine lettuce, leftover Chard Salad Mix, one whole lemon, one whole apple cut into quarters.  Yummy!  I'm getting better/faster at cleaning the thing, too.  Plus the pulp goes into my compost bucket now, so I don't feel guilty about putting it into the garbage.  Compost bucket gets picked up whenever I need it picked up, by the wonderful Tom Shelley, of Steep Hollow Farm who needs the food scraps to make compost for the chickens being raised to give eggs sustainably.  So I can also get eggs delivered along with the new, fresh compost bucket which comes prepared with shredded newsprint in the bottom.

Happy Spring Day, co…

Yay! Worked on "The Deep"!

Woke up thinking today might be the day, and then put on Maria Schneider Orchestra with her "Hang Gliding" piece, SO inspiring, and then opened up Sibelius and loaded all the orchestral sounds for Celebration of the Deep, and started work on the string section in the beginning.  The part I want them to sound like the ocean, including a bit of waves breaking on the shore.  Here's what I ended up with for the very beginning, Page One.  The basses have the steady deep underwater level, the cellos have the ocean swells, the violas have the more surface waves before they reach the shore:
And Page Two, the tremolo action in the First and Second Violins - that is my attempt at imitating the sounds of waves breaking on shore::
I'm very excited to hear the orchestra try this out, hopefully sometime this spring.  I'll let you know how it goes when they do.  First I need to straighten out the woodwind and brass parts so I don't have the first bassoon endlessly playing wi…

Actually opened Sibelius today

I'm still hoping for a composing slot in my day soon, and to whet my appetite and appease it a bit all in the same step, I opened up Sibelius and my Water Flows round, which I recently re-wrote in 5 beats per measure.  It has four parts, and to sing along with it I select the first three parts to play, leaving me to sing the 4th part.  This is a good strategy to check out the reality of trying to sing it, from various vantage points, still being one person with one voice (haven't mastered the tuvan harmonic throat singing totally yet).

Just in case you need help looking at the format of this round, each singer (total of 4 needed) enters at the beginning when the preceding singer reaches the second line, which starts with a quarter-note rest then "runs deep..."  So yes obviously someone has to start!  :)  The two measure ending doesn't make alot of sense in this format, sorry!  It is to be harmonized by all 4 voices, what appears here is only one part.  Yikes.  We…

I need more memory!

Yesterday afternoon I suffered through yet another session of s-l-o-w while trying to work in Sibelius, my music notation software program.  When I'm composing I LIVE in Sibelius.  But it is nice to also be able to check my email, browse a little, maybe google something...  but NO, not with only 1 gig of RAM in my PC (running windows xp sp3).  So this morning I checked out Best Buy online to see if they had the memory I needed, then ran (drove) to the store, promptly picking up exactly the right stuff except no it wasn't the right shape a-tall, which I noticed once I got the case off my PC and took a look at the memory slots. It was for a laptop, and I have a desktop.  So then I returned it, went back online and ordered the *real* right stuff from crucial.  They even had a scan program that ran on my PC, said what I had, said what I needed to upgrade the RAM, and showed how much my performance would increase. Supposed to arrive on Wednesday.  Question to Self: "Will you b…

Am I a Composer?

So this morning I realized that I LOVE putting "Composer" as my occupation on the numerous Customs forms I fill out when visiting Tortola, BVI. I write it in, even when weeks might pass in between composing activities (other than thinking, does that count?). Or maybe the short session I had with my niece Emily in her parents' room at the rental villa counts, where we looked at and listened to several rounds she has been composing; this was spurred by my own project writing rounds apparently, including trying to write rounds in Medieval Modes like Lydian. She was trying a particularly thorny mode with a half step as its first interval, and 2 major thirds in odd places, a middle-eastern scale of some sort most probably.

It was great fun to see how she was going about the process of working on rounds. They require lots of creative problem-solving which is a blast, basically. Changing a note early on in the round has ramifications later on as you can imagine, but hearin…
Just got back from glorious sunny & warm vacation on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where my family has gone for a week or two each winter for a few years now... while there, I did some thinking and planning for my orchestra piece "Celebration of the Deep", still struggling to figure out how to get the strings to sound like the ocean in the beginning. Since I was AT the ocean while on Tortola, thought it would be a good time to brainstorm, and it was. I realized that the waves are heard from the left, from the right, in stereo that is not at all matched up. So from that, I got the idea of alternating what section is providing motion, while the others hold on steady long bows, or maybe just detache bows on the same note rather than a wavy up and down a fourth kind of thing. Hm. I can see I should attach pictures of what I'm talking about.

I want the "ocean" part to be there, but not to draw too much attention, since I want the theme of the deep,…