Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coming together

We meet again, Mr. Blog!
ohhhh I crack myself up sometimes

So once again I am sitting at my computer desk working on my composition and it coming along quite smoothly now. I would just like to thank everyone in the class again for the great input yesterday and for clark for making me present. I was in quite a writer's rut and it really helped to get feedback and clear minds to help me out. t'awwww! How sweet!

I think I've incorporated every suggestion so far that was brought up yesterday into what I have now:

-Clark's approach on creating just a couple ideas and sticking with them is a great way to keep on course with writing a composition. From writing this piece from scratch over and over again I've accumulated quite a few ideas that I am just dying to dig into but, but it was overwhelming to say the least. Taking less ideas allows them to grow and develop through the piece and should me more than enough if done right. Right now I have four different ideas which is more than enough for an audience to digest during a roughly five minute piece. 

-Both Mike and Melissa suggested for me to get away from my piano! How rude, right? haha It was quite helpful though. I found it helped me map out the structure of piece without having to worry about minor detail, which I can fix once I had the structure set in stone. Once I had that out of the way, the writing process moved a lot faster.

- I've addressed this many times, but I just want to bring up how I'm writing everything for my compositions on piano. I have no idea how to play the violin and I think I might have touched Saird's cello with my elbow one time, but it was only for a second. The problem with this is that I'm writing entire piano pieces before I even think of adding another melody line to it. So to compose a composition for 3 instruments it usually ends up becoming a piano piece with violin and cello accompaniment. To fix this problem, it was suggested (I know that Dylan for one did) that I make the piano less greedy and either trade off or just straight up give sections to the other two instruments. That way, since I am more comfortable with writing on a piano, I can structure another piano part around a certain melody line as oppose to trying to think in the ways of a cellist or violinist. 

I know this approach seems quite simple, but I was completely ignorant to the idea at first. Since it was already written on piano, which I had played over and over again constantly, it just felt right to keep it on that instrument. But actually moving motifs to another instrument gave me a fresh approach on certain sections as if I was working with something new.

If I never said your name, I still thank you for helping me! I think everyone voiced an opinion when I was up to plate and it was much appreciated.

I hope that these suggestions help anyone out at least a bit who might be struggling with their composition now. Although I'm pretty sure everyone is doing quite fine by the sounds of it! Hopefully future composition 3100 bloggers can benefit from it somehow.

Dear composition 3100 class of the future,
Blog every day.
Present as much as you can even when you think you have nothing.
Don't overload your composition with too many ideas.

Time to get back to sebelius
Yours truly,
-Robbie b

ps: new drinking game - have a drink every time you see the world 'compose' or any form of it in my blog entries. Whoa baby.

I'm having a problem with sebelius 5 that I was wondering if someone could help me with it.
There is a passage in my piece that plays 'g, a and b' in three octaves jumping from one octave to the next upwards. But I need to notate it showing that it is to be played 'right hand, left hand, right hand'. Does anyone know how I can change the direction of the stems to easily make this clear for the performer?

Monday, November 24, 2008

presentation day

So today I presented in class
That's funny!

But really though, I am quite glad I did go today. It definitely made me more motivated and gave me some insight on what to do ext with my composition. Now who would have thought that?

I find that a big problem of mine is that I've got to ease off on all of the ideas. Not to sounds conceited by saying it, but I could definitely get up to the piano and play and play and get a load of ideas for these pieces, or most pieces actually. What I find most difficult is to dig into the ideas once I come up with them and to only settle on a couple. I'm the kind of person that wants to record an entire album when I'm not even finished the first song. Thinking far too ahead of myself.

I'm sitting here now with my eyes glued to the computer screen and refraining from touching a single instrument in my room. Tonight I'm just going to spend working with the two ideas I presented in class today, plus one more idea, and see what comes out of it. Hopefully a masterpiece!

Man, blogs are fun! I should have been doing these a lot more this semester!
bye bye
-Robbie b

Sunday, November 23, 2008


it's currently 1:20 am
I have just made a HUGE change in my piece
and I can't go back
because once I think of something to change I can't settle for anything else

people can't die from lack of sleep can they?
we'll see!

-robbie b

writing diligently

Hey there!
I am still working away at my composition trying to get it finished, or at least relatively finished, for tomorrow's class. As I've been going along, I've tried to figure out ways to both speed up my composing as well as using sebelius the best I can.

I've played through the ideas I've collected numerous times on the piano with, of course, it changing slightly each time and I'm not certain if some parts should repeat or where different parts should go in the composition. Instead of just playing it over and over until I'm satisfied with the form, I just opened up another composition file and have been writing excerpts on it to cut and paste later. That way I can at least hear all the parts together and just sit back and listen to it. 

One thing about sebelius is, I find it so ridiculous to listen to the instruments play back what you write. The piano sounds alright when you are writing out rhythmic passages, but it is so hard to grasp something that is to be played a lot more free and with expression. I also find the cello and violin, the other two instruments I am using for my piece, to sound even less like the instruments when I hear them being played back and then I try to think whether or not it will sound foolish in reality. I think for christmas I'm going to ask for a professional multi-talented musician so I can have him live in my closet and play what I write. Sounds reasonable.

I think my main question for tomorrow's class after my piece gets played, hopefully in it's entirety, is to ask how effective the cliche is according to the position I have placed it in my piece. I used to have it at the beginning, then I moved to to the end, and now I'm not sure if I should have it at both the beginning and the end, if I should go back to it throughout or if I should just keep it as is. That is my main concern, along with some feedback from the string players on the violin and cello parts.

But back to my piece I go! It's sad when your break consist of writing about what you're taking a break from! Let's hear it for indecisive writing!

okay bye!
-Robbie b

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finally some progress!

So I am sitting at my computer at 12:30 on a Friday night after spending the night tinkering away on my piano and relaxing in my room (yeah I'm cool like that, so what?) And I think I have FINALLY settled on a musical cliche that I am content with. It has been a long time in the coming I know! I've tried many cliches such as romantic music, chromaticism, 5-1 progressions, a waltz, to name a few, and none of them really seemed to settle with the other ideas I had for the piece. I didn't really think that I could grow from it and change naturally enough. With my new idea I think I can achieve that. 

The good thing about this extra lengthy process is that I have come across a few ideas that I can use in other compositions or just finish up with what they have and, voila, no wastage of ideas! It's great to add to my portfolio to submit for theory/comp at the end of the semester. 

I must sign off now though. I want to get some sleep and work on my composition all day tomorrow as well as sunday and hopefully have it completely ready for monday's class. 
I'll leave you in suspense until then though!

Good night folks!
-Robbie b

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Facebook Group

Now isn't it about time we had a facebook group made up for this class?
I just made one up tonight so we can promote our concert. Also, once we get our recordings back, anyone who wants to can have theirs put up for others to listen to. Just another way to keep in touch!


I'll make anyone in the class an administrator so you can send invitations to whoever you want. And also for if you want to put anything up or take anything down!

Composition progress blog coming up soon.
-robbie b

Sunday, November 16, 2008


so we have less than two weeks until the performance for these pieces and I must say I am quite stressed. It is currently 11 pm on sunday night, my presentation day is tomorrow and I have nothing concrete written up on sibelius yet. I have a lot of material that I can write out no problem but I have yet to think of a good cliche to use, which is the most crucial part. I think I need to stop thinking of the ideas I have now and just think of a cliche to work with. I'm trying to write a composition and sticking a cliche in it as oppose to thinking of a cliche and writing a song around it and it's just not working out. 
I think I am just afraid of not being able to work with the ideas I have now if I pick a cliche that won't fit into it. I don't really want to scrap the ideas I have now but the concert is creeping up so it's crunch time baby!
We'll see where I am in 14 hours!

wish me luck!
-Robbie b