Composition Project Updates!

May 5, 2016, 8:51 AM · Happy Secondary Dominant Day! (Y'know, V/V, harmonic analysis, when you borrow a dominant harmony from-)

Last Saturday, I had another great concert, the first with my new violin! It was loads of fun, and I'm very excited for what I'm doing with this violin. My possible main project, while I've been busily working on the first movement of Ravel's Duo for Violin and Cello, might be to work on his 1897 Violin Sonatine, so I could potentially perform it at a recital next autumn. Since I've already worked it last summer, hopefully I can dust up all the techniques in it and focus now on musicality and really making this instrument shine!

I'd like to share a couple of composition projects I've been working on. The first is that I've completely penciled my Strings Suite I've been sketching since March, really. I've been really proud of it, and it's turned into a four-movement Classical structure based around the Baroque forms: I. Allemande, II. Courante, III. Serabande, IV. Gigue. The third and fourth movements were definitely the most fun; I remember spending a whole day at the piano writing my Serabande over Easter break (specifically 25 March 2016) before going to see the new Batman v. Superman film. I felt like I was entering a new musical realm when writing it, as it felt very different than anything else I've written. My Gigue was especially fun to write as well, and I think it's very fiddly. :) I'm working right now on typing it up into the computer! (As now we have a composition process, I handwrite "continuos", where I essentially draft the piece in two staves, and then handwrite the score before I even touch the computer.)

My second project is one I'm very excited about: I'm beginning... a ballet! That's right, I'm officially writing something for the theatre! (I feel like my "Birds of Prey" (my summer 2014 piece) COULD be for the theatre, but I wasn't thinking of dance in it, so...) Speaking of "Birds of Prey", I feel like this ballet has gotten me just as excited writing it as that piece had, especially in August 2014; yesterday I spent a good probably four hours sketching around 200 bars of music or so for the piece. It's so fun to tell a story through music now that I'm actually writing in cues for certain events to occur on stage around my music in my continuo paper. I'm really conscious of dance, too, and I actually have a couple friends who would be willing to try choreographing some bits in it. It's sort of a fantasy story set in a kingdom with magic and things (so kind of like Final Fantasy I guess...), where all the characters are represented by the tarot - I got the spark of the idea when discussing "The Greater Trumps" (1932) by Charles Williams in my Literature class for this project. I don't really want to explain it all quite yet as it's still a work in progress, but once I'm beginning to put it in the computer maybe I'll work up a little plot synopsis. This is really what I've been looking for through my film music of the past - telling a story through music! Anyways, back to the dances, for all the magic spells that are cast in the story, they are accompanied by different dances, which I would imagine would be fun for a choreographer to figure out. I've even created a little "magic chord", like the Wagnerian "Tristan chord" (it's very different, don't worry!). So yeah, I'm looking forward to continuing this adventure, and I'm glad to have this totally free piece, as even with my strings piece I was still somewhat confined to the Baroque form - now it's COMPLETELY freestyle! My composition teacher suggested I listen to Stravinsky's "Petrushka" for more influences... :)

So yeah! Hope you enjoyed these updates. And in all seriousness, have a great Cinco de Mayo if you celebrate! And though this has nothing to do with anything, I might go and watch Star Wars: Episode VII again tomorrow evening! See if I can pick out more of Williams' score than when I saw it at Christmas...


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