• Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown's "Bagatelle for violin"
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    Next Piece #7: Bagatelle for Violin

    This was a surprise! In my 7 year composition quest, piece #6 took a little over a month to write. This one took a day. Yes. One day! Solo violin It helped that the piece was being written for just one instrument alone, which is a complete contrast to Warrior Peace. Another contrast is the style: actually, I’m not too sure where this style came from but it is clearly a “contemporary” piece. I followed my usual system for composing music based on the psalms (Steps 1 & 2 I’ve already shared with you, and step 3 is coming soon) and after composing the closing melody, decided the piece was…

  • Stephen P Brown Warrior Peace
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    New psalm composition #6: Warrior Peace

    Well, this was an unexpected mammoth! (If you are not aware of my current composition quest, click here to read the introduction.) I knew that composing for larger ensembles would take time, and was sort of risking things a little when I decided to write for a larger-than-normal ensemble but I didn’t plan for this piece to take a full month. Think of a chamber orchestra that plays Mozart and Haydn symphonies. Then take away all the string players. That’s what this composition is for! It’s not a standard combination of instruments, so I decided to call it a “Chamber Orchestra Non-Strings” ensemble. Says what it is, right?! The actual…

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

  • British American Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown Psalm Piece 5 Choir Choral
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    Piece #5: Rescue Me! for choir

    The fifth piece in my composition quest was quite an adventure. Definitely surprising. “Rescue Me, Recover Me” is based on Psalm 130, and the title stems from the term “redeem” which this psalm seems to be all about. It has a simple ABAB structure, so knowing that I wanted to write a choral work I began playing with the translated poem (I don’t read Hebraic) and converting the meaningful words into my own poem with rhyme and meter. Wonderful! Except that it looked a lot like the verses and chorus of a song. Never mind. Onwards. Well, the piece began and I created a simple progression of chords. I had…

  • British American Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown how to compose classical music
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    How I compose: Step 1

    I am now working on the 6th piece in my composition quest. This is not the first time I’ve composed music but in the past I have approached pieces from a variety of angles: systematically using someone else’s process, systematically using someone else’s process that I adapted slightly, systematically using a process I developed myself (which begs the real question: is there anything brand new, or is everything an adaptation of what we’ve already experienced?) and there were even pieces that I approached system- and process-free; meaning, I just sat and wrote something. However, in order to accomplish my current task it makes sense to stick with a systematic approach,…