It has been several weeks since my post, but in the meantime I’ve gotten quite a bit organized. In my last post I had determined an “A” melody, a variation and a “B” or contrasting melody and a variation. I also provided some accompaniment ideas. Now it is time to start organizing these ideas.
It can be helpful to think about this in a “conceptual” way. In other words, writing in text where you want certain things to happen – like a basic road map. I like to describe it in terms of traveling – we know we are going to take a trip by car from say Boston to Los Angeles, a distance of around 3,000 miles (this could be likened to the completed piece we are going to compose). We also know that we are going to stop in several cities along the way such as Philadelphia, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Barstow and finally Los Angeles (similar to introduction, verses, choruses, solo sections, interludes and ending in our piece). What we don’t know is where we will stay in each city, where we will eat, take in any museums/sporting events or what we will do along the way. This type of detail would equate to the notes, harmony, accidentals, dynamics etc of our piece – the fine tuning!
So far, I’ve come up with the following layout:
Intro – A – A1 – B – B1 – Interlude (based on Intro) – A – A1 – B – B1 – Interlude (new harmony) A – A1 – First Improvised Solo (new harmony section 1 + A & A) – Second Improvised Solo (B – B) – Third Improvised Solo (new harmony section 2 + A & A) – B – B1 – A – A1 – Ending
A = verse, A1 = verse with a variation, B = chorus, B1 = chorus with a variation
Both the A & B type sections are 8 measures long. I don’t know how long the Interlude and new harmony sections are going to be yet, but I am going to use these sections as a way to keep the listener interested (I hope!). We’ll see how this goes.
When I lay it out like this, one thing that strikes me is that depending on the tempo, the piece is going to be long. This should be okay though as I am creating a piece that is 8-10 minutes in length. I also allowed for three improvised soloists. Being that the overall form of the piece is long, three improvised solos should be fine as long as the solos are performed on contrasting instruments and the ideas behind the solos are varied.
Since my last post I’ve also been able to finalize the instrumentation. Deciding on this also helped me work through the overall form because I will engage players that can improvise as jazz or rock players do. I will use the following instruments:
1. Harp, 2. Flute, 3. English Horn, 4. Clarinet, 5. Violin and 6. Acoustic bass
Important note: Always keep in mind that at anytime during the composition and orchestration processes to come, the above form and ideas can change as you might have a better idea as you really get to know your piece. But, by doing the above work first I at least have an idea about how I want to approach the overall form. Now, to start deciding where we will eat and stay on our hypothetical trip – the musical details!
Until next time,