Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post-Term Review

Well the concert was this past Wednesday night and somehow magically (at least for me) it all came together! Obviously there were things that I would change, and things that I loved. My performers were awesome and I only wish that I had given them the opportunity to have more time with the score, however they did great for the lack of time/rehearsing we did for this! I also fear that my piece wasn't quite as effective as I'd had hoped (read: I don't know if I really did the whole dubstep thing complete justice..), but again, with the time that I had I'm happy with the overall product. Everyone should be really proud! We had a strong concert, lots of great music. 

This term as a whole has been great as the composition class has challenged me in various areas of composition. Whether that be building a piece and trying to make sense of chords created at random (which turned out quite well in my opinion!) or taking a specific idea or goal and composing something that reflects that.

So hopefully I can do some minor composing over the break (as in small amounts, not solely in minor keys)..

Although my break is pretty cray as well in terms of how busy I am. Though a lack of school is a welcomed thing for a month. And Christmas is pretty best kind too...

In conclusion: It's been a great term. Ups, downs, stress, you name it. But we got through, and learned a lot, and that's the main thing!

SO until next time,


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nearly there!

Tomorrow is the big day! The performance. I finished my score on the weekend, sent it out, and had a rehearsal on Monday (yesterday). The rehearsal went quite well actually and I'm excited for the performance.

One of the things I found slightly different about this piece is the lack of a name. I knew exactly what my last piece was and the name sort of just came and made sense and worked. With this, I wrote it, finished it, played it, mulled it over--no name. I had no 'image' in my mind.
Today I decided to play it for my girlfriend (well, the piano part) to see what she thought. She suggested first asking my performers what they felt the piece was to them, however, after a discussion a name came to me. She likened it to a turbulent relationship.. beginning with imperfect harmonies, though quite delicate and tonal--building and developing before erupting into a dramatic explosion. It sounds angry, like a huge fight. Destructive, even. By the end the fight is over, though not quite resolved. I thought--well it does seem quite impassioned and thought "The Fire". Fire is often used as a symbol of passion, both in religious and secular fields. Fire is both delicate and beautiful, but also can be quite fearsome and destructive. And so, The Fire, seemed to fit.

I hinted at dubstep elements, mostly leaning toward softer dubstep as seen in the song Drvgs by DVBBS. A soft, melodious intro leading into a section with more of a driving beat, and finally falling to the drop and the part that makes it dubstep. I played with different elements of each instrument that I hope brought out hints towards the techno/dance genre (muting piano strings, fluttertonguing flute, etc.)

Overall I am happy with what I made of this project--this piece. And I hope that others can agree!
So, here's to tomorrow!

Until some other time,


Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Literally probably dying.

This is my 5th all-nighter in 9 days.. my body is crying.

I have made good progress on the piece. There are a couple of holes to fill but conceptually it is done. Though I am ambitiously fighting sleep here and I just want this piece done. So I can give it to the performers and be like 'do the best you can with the 5 days you have with it..' Each day gets closer and closer and I made the realization early last week that if I am to complete everything, something's gotta give. And that's using basically every bit of every day.

It's hard. I want to make this into something but actually literally not having the time to properly devote. I mean, how often are you able to write a complicated piece for ensemble and have it performed all in the span of 3 weeks? If I get through this it will probably be one of the more amazing feats I've accomplished thus far. I'm not even sure still how to notate half the stuff I want for the flute part.

I blame most of my lunacy on not using paper. I write at the piano and score in Finale. No paper this time. That was a dumb choice. And one which I will absolutely not revisit in the future. See, the thing is most of the things I write I never write down, rather, I remember them. However, when it comes to more complicated bits of scoring, it becomes harder to remember the desired nuances of each idea.

Yeah not using paper as a middleman was a kinda dumb move on my part.

I still have yet to start other assignments for tomorrow. I shouldn't have, but I just had to sleep last night. I couldn't do 3 in a row again. Though I couldn't really afford the time. Plus I wanted to sleep to have a good opening night for The Laramie Project tonight. That is one mentally and physically exhausting show. Thought it was pretty amazing/horrible though to see that a member of the Phelps family (son of Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in the states) tweeted their protest of our play. Legit.
More info. Though through all of this it is worth it. Because I'm out there doing what I love doing and to do something so important, and relevant. It's really special. I'm lucky that though I'm sleep deprived and hurtin from all this work--it's all stuff I love to do. SO anyone reading this before saturday should make an effort to come see the show at the LSPU hall!! Though I'm warning you, bring tissues. It's a heartwrencher.

Monday, November 26, 2012

the craziness that is final week

well finally.

today I had a perfect opportunity to get some work done and boy did I ever.
straight 10-5 just about working on composing and actually got into a good flow and believe it or not I went from 45s to 3 minutes (mapped, not totally transcribed).

there's still a couple of holes which I'll have to fill, and soon, but I'm happy with how the day went.
it's hard particularly because I am a little restricted in what I write mainly because of how little time there is to finish it and how little time there is until the piece is to be played. basically I have to make this nearly readable, which means that the atonality is flying out the window a little. besides, to really make parts of it effective that pull just has to be there. i'm recontextualizing--I don't want to get too abstract.

though, I probably should have devoted my day to doing my score study for tomorrow. which is actually due tomorrow, and worth 15%. and not a small assignment I might add. which is why it is 3am and I'm basically half done.

but yeah, this composing thing. gotta say I love good days. I just hope I get the chance to sleep for at least a couple of hours before school in the am. fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 25, 2012



Seriously, I've been sitting here for an hour. I'm WAY too strapped for time to be this uninspired...
I've gotten nowhere with this piece since forever ago, and I'm no further ahead than I was an hour ago. I keep putting stuff in and then deleting it because it's just nonsense.

I was supposed to have rehearsal today 10am-10pm, which I would have had to leave by 4:30 anyways to go to work for 5-9. Now I have rehearsal 1:30-10pm, which I have to leave early to go to work at 4:30. SO I have time.... but not for indecisiveness. Not the time. I spent all day yesterday in rehearsal, and the time before rehearsal I had allotted for work I slept in through. I'm so busy I waste half my time trying to figure out what I should be doing mesmerized by how much I have to do wondering how I'm going to do it all.

I'm not going to finish this composition. I still haven't practiced in I can't even remember how long now. My score study is 1/3 done. I have spent 0 time on my lines outside of rehearsal which does not bode well for me in rehearsal considering the show opens on Wednesday...

Can this week please please please be over now. I pulled nearly 3 all-nighters last week--after one of which I crashed and slept through the final exam after staying up all night to study for it... I can't physically keep going and keep focused on all this work. My body is like, rejecting life. My brain is rejecting thought. Everything just takes so. much. time.



I think I'm losing it slightly... maybe I'm just being dramatic...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rethinking dubstep

Lots has happened since I last posted.
Specifically, in composition, my first assignment was completed and performed. And I've begun another project!

Playing the piece for people was nerve-wracking for sure, but exciting. All the pieces sounded great and it was really cool having a legitimate audience for the pieces. More showed than I had expected!
At times I definitely feel that composition, as a practical type degree could be warranted. But maybe it's just because I have so much going on outside school in my life, but I find it hard to dedicate large enough amounts of focused time on these type of projects between everything. I mean, I technically have 3 part-time jobs (restaurant, climbing gym, and mucep) and am in a play (which has turned out to be a lot more work than expected, I've never researched characters like this before--but completely necessary for what I'm doing), and in school full time. Aside from all this I try to balance going to the gym, sport climbing, running three times a week, writing my own music, maintaining a half-legitimate social life and all this still getting proper sleep... am I crazy?

Now, in composition land... the next project is recontextualization of a genre of music. I've chosen dubstep (mostly focusing on the idea of the "break").  The break happens just before the 'drop', and is a part where the percussion stops playing and there is usually a dynamic and melodic build to the 'drop', which reintroduces the bass end quite intensely. I want to take this idea (because I love it a, and b, because it's so epic in dubstep I'd like to see if an awesome drop could be done in a classical setting) and apply it in a classical atmosphere. Strings, Piano, Flute, Percussion. This is what I'm thinking currently. Though for the percussion I'm thinking of just using a brake drum, and vibes. Cello would satisfy the string portion, because of it's awesomeness mainly. The flute for it's percussive possibilities, and the piano because I play it and because there are some cool things I think I can get out of it.

I'm still working through not writing something too gimmicky or lame. I want to do it well because I think the idea has a certain potential. I hope I can live up to it...

All for now,


Monday, October 22, 2012

Show Week

So, the week leading up to a show is always the craziest week. The one where everything comes together magically (or so it seems) and hours and hours of work are put into stitching together all of the pieces that make up the finished product.

Well, it's show week for this piece. With the performances on Thursday I am happy to say I've completed the score and had a first successful rehearsal. I would certainly have loved to have prepared myself a bit better in the opening weeks of school, so as to prevent what I am not feeling, but hopefully everything magically works out. It is, after all, show week. And I am excited! And nervous! But mostly, excited!