• Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown / Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Articles

    How I compose: Step 2 – Instrumentation

    A couple of weeks ago I shared how I start composing each of the pieces in my composition quest. It seemed to be a popular post! So after I’ve read the psalm, understood its meaning through commentary, and established the structure for my piece, the next step in composing music for me is choosing the instrumentation. Instrumentation. The purpose of this quest is to improve my composing skills. One of my dream goals is to finish the quest by writing a piece of music based on Psalm 33 for large chorus and full orchestra. That’s a lot of people and parts, and like an Olympic Triathlete or Astronaut, there is a…

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    Dedication.

    This week I came across a fascinating exploration of the history of King Arthur’s England. There is so much myth and legend surrounding our dreamy esteem of this perfect man that I’ve often wondered if he really existed. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the knights in shining armor adventures, and one day hope to rid my inhibitions, dress up as a medieval knight, and accompany my wife to a Renfaire (a common American festival that revives many periods of history and fantasy into an entertaining exhibition complete with audience participation, jousts, mead and glass blowing, etc). But until that day arrives, I’ll just basque in the occasional archaeological documentary and…

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    Next Piece: A Brass Mirror

    According to the countdown clock on this page there are now LESS than seven years for me to complete the whole project (click here to find out what the project is all about). All is well, though – I seem to be on track. Already I’ve completed two compositions in this massively huge project, and here’s the latest one:   This piece is based on Psalm 143, which is one of the many Lament psalms (58 in all). It has a clear structure, thanks to Longman & Garland’s commentary, and that made constructing the piece very simple. It starts with an introduction, then to a conversational Prayer requesting righteous thinking and…

  • Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown
    Articles

    Tried something new recently?

    This new routine is tough! Getting up an hour earlier every morning isn’t like an on/off switch – it is taking lots of discipline but you know what? I’m getting a lot of work and reading done. But that’s just one new outcome of this Psalm Setting Quest. Another one is being adventurous. If you look through my list of compositions they are mostly for percussion (including piano) and wind instruments. There are a handful of string pieces and one or two that include brass instruments. For some reason, ever since writing a tacky piece for brass quintet, percussion and narrator in college, I’ve avoided composing for brass instruments. So,…