Chaplin Film Score - A Composer's Diary - Part 6

January 27, 2019, 11:34 AM · This post is part 6 of an on-going series about a piano score. Please click back to the other parts for more information.

And with one last stroke of my pencil this morning at 11am at the library, I have finished sketching the last couple gaps of the film, meaning my score is finished! It's not officially complete yet - I still have to put it in Finale, which I will do sometime this week, and also spend time going through everything to make sure I feel it's not too difficult - but then I can finally try for the first time performing the piece with the film and see how a first run-through of it goes! I'll get to that aspect of the process in a future entry.

All that was left to do for me were a couple of small transitional sections of music. It's always fun to write because it's short and I can use existing motifs in unique ways. I started off where I left off last week with the "Pies Scene" [13:25]. I pictured a very twisty clarinet or saxophone playing the melody, a little bit inspired by the Tomasi Saxophone Concerto I am accompanying with the orchestra. The last couple of bars are definitely inspired by Tomasi's use of a major seventh chord quickly in the middle of a passage of flute chords (in the first movement). Just a little cheeky reference, and then a pause so I can get my hands set for the low beginning of Act II.

I spent a bit of time skimming the rest of the film, and realized I only had one more section left, at [10:05]! This was back to the soft theatre music, a bit more realized in full, with a bar of jazz piano fast notes. The next bar brings back a motif from my rag-time heard earlier, and the final couple bars again draw from Tomasi and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe with the dotted quarter to eighth note repeated pitches, off-set by a beat and quarter notes in the left hand up high. Again, I left the last chord to be held for a bit before the start of Act I of the show, which starts in a rousing C major, where the film will end (and where it began). A G major seventh chord is slightly hinted at, because the D is an E-flat instead. I didn't want to do a flat-out V-I, but I thought it would be fun to tease it a little bit. Why not?

And that's it! I can't wait to start putting everything together and hearing how it all will end up sounding. There will probably still be plenty of small changes as I keep working on the score, but it feels good to be out of my sketchbook and to just declare it finished. The plan will be to have the work officially completed before mid-February, when my Spring Break starts, so I can just focus on practicing it - I will have part-creation for my 2015 String Quartet Orchestration piece (which I decided to call "A French Café" because I was obsessed with Ravel and cats and cafés when I was writing the Quartet) to focus on over the break. (This piece is a rather fitting way to have sight-read on Symposium Day in May by my orchestra, because Dr. Bancks, my composition professor, looked over the first movement I orchestrated right before I came to Augustana my freshman year!)

Till the next post - which will probably be the final one - at the beginning of next month! Then I'll be going back to my usual random ramblings about my musical life on this blog as I've been doing. Thanks for reading!

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