• Evelyn Glennie marimba
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    Piece #8: Sonata 2 for Viola, Marimba, Piano

    This is a fun little ditty! Another stab at the traditional Sonata Form, this piece is for a trio of performers: viola, marimba and piano. To my thinking, there is not enough marimba included in the standard instrumentation these days, (click it to tweet it) yet like the saxophone or bass clarinet, it has a great many experts and has become a common option thanks to folk like Evelyn Glennie. Sonata Form Structure This piece is based on Psalm 102 and although it does not follow a similar structure (the focus of this piece was the structure called “Sonata Form“) I did use the content of the psalm to influence the…

  • 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,…

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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…

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    Do you ‘wing it’?

    Setting up a plan of action really does seem to work, wouldn’t you agree? As the Psalm Setting Quest was formulating, for fun I figured out a way to determine in which order I would use the psalms to compose music to. A few columns, sorts and ranking formulas were added to a spreadsheet and “voilà!” an evenly mixed distribution of each psalm type. There’s actually one psalm type (Prophetic) that has just one psalm in it and I know this ranking system works when that psalm (#50) appears right in the middle of the list, as the 75th piece of music I will write. An added benefit of using…