Comp Project: Week 12

I’ve finished the whole dozen. This one was truly an improvisation that I later wrote down. It has a very stream of consciousness feel to it. I really just wanted to capture the feeling of not only finishing this project, but ending the school year, and enjoying the weather as it gets warmer. Thanks for listening!

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 11

Really nothing crazy to say about this one. It’s three phrases long (fast-slow, fast-slow, fast-slow), and it kind of reminds me of the shorter Chopin preludes. Chopin tends to write 30 second pieces that aren’t even a full period or sentence. Each of these three phrases begins about the same, but all three go in different directions, giving the entire thing a sort of ready-set-go feeling.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 10

So I love 10ths. They’re so expansive, but still consonant in sound quality. This was just a playful way of moving around the keyboard with one of my favorite intervals. I also thought it was funny how this is my 10th week of writing, and I accidentally made it the week that I write a lot of 10ths in the piece.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 9

I love the idea of subtle modulation. I wanted to, over the course of a minute or so of music, try to get to a distant key from the starting one without huge bumps along the way. Something that settles at the end, but you don’t realize how far you’ve traveled from the home key until you replay the beginning. I think the tools that really helped me accomplish this here was the left hand pattern as well as the lack of a real melody. It’s just textural flourishes. It distracts the brain from what’s really going on.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 8

This week, I was playing around with the idea of two chords rocking back and fourth to create a texture, and also to introduce the idea of slow movement. Even the melody isn’t very expansive. The first nine notes of the melody are the same note. The real interest comes from the combination of the melody and chordal accompaniment. The two chords begin changing. They get lower and lower before the entire movement freezes. Static notes move upwards before the opening chords come back, and the opening melody brings the piece to a close.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 7

Faure always liked to create pieces with continuous movement accompanying some sort of lyrical melody. This piece has an ABA form, but the accompaniment is the same figure underneath the entire time regardless of melodic content. This creates an overall affect in the piece that reminds me of how Bach and other contemporaries of his would create pieces that focus on one single affect for their entire duration. This is more Faure inspired than Bach simply because of the harmonic content. It’s also almost April and spring hasn’t seemed to have sprung yet, so I felt that something happy sounding was overdue.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 6

This time I wanted to play around with atmosphere and very little movement. Mahler explored silence and its role in music in his later compositions. Here, I’m doing something similar. I wanted to take a small amount of material and expand it over about two minutes. The key, I found, to making a lasting phrase over the course of the long two minutes is to have the material make the ear ask a question, pause, then answer it. Once the ear is used to this amount of time in between question and answer, it knows what to expect for the duration of the piece. These expectations make the ear adjust to the stretched-out lines and long pulses of nothing.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 5

To continue with my obsession with harmonic movement, I decided to write a hymn (and two simple variations with it) this week. Hymns are great because they tend to have a simple tune with amazing harmonies underneath. It’s really the horizontal direction of the harmonies that I’m interested in rather than the individual chords. It’s where they point to, and how to creatively get to a cadence point. One thing I’ve noticed about this project is that I don’t think I’ve ever written a perfect cadence. That subconscious tradition continues here.

– Ben

 

Comp Project: Week 4

This week, I decided to go for a more melodically driven piece. It kind of worked…sorta. I fell back into my tendency to let the harmonies drive the piece. I guess I’m a directional person, and don’t trust a melody to do the work. It was a good challenge though, and I’ll definitely push myself to do more in the realm of melody as I move forward in this project. For now though, this is all I got.

Also, as a side note, I did not misspell the title of the piece. I thought it was a funny play on words that the piece moves forward, and I also feel that it serves as a foreword for what is to come. Please excuse my playfulness.

– Ben

Comp Project: Week 3

Two blog entries in one day…well I’m back on schedule now so that’s a good thing. Basically all I said in the post for Week 2 still rings true. In addition, for Week three, I just want to add that I’m getting good at internalizing form and being extremely particular in my selection of notes and chords. In my head, I’m able to understand that I only have about a minute to get across what I’m going to say. I need to get a full journey across to the listener in such a small amount of time. It’s a fun challenge to make sure every note counts.

– Ben