• Stephen P Brown's recommended books to read
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    12 books for the growing career

    I’m working hard on my next #PsalmQuest piece – a concerto for Bass Clarinet and Strings, and it is going well, but with the holidays and lots of travel it’s been hard to keep up. Should have something to share with you in a month or so. In the meantime, here is a list of 12 books all budding/ growing… people should read (At first I wrote “musicians” but realized there is a great deal of info here that is relevant for anyone trying to grow a business or even just their own career, even in the music-related books!). If you or someone you love is trying to build a…

  • String Quartet 2 by British American Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown
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    #PsalmQuest 11 – String Quartet 2

    It feels like forever since I published a #PsalmQuest piece, and I guess it was, really – over a month ago! In fact, I finished composing that last piece at the end of September, so it’s really been 8 weeks. Some of that time was spent resting, but much of it was actually spent re-writing. This was a difficult piece to extrapolate from the recesses of reality and it saw several completely written-out ideas before I hit the ‘delete’ button on the whole lot. But it’s here now, and it has quite a story to it, methinks… String Quartet 2 (actually, the title was bothersome for quite some time as…

  • How to play guitar chords
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    How I compose 3 – Chords

    “A chord in music is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously.” (Wikipedia, accessed August 7, 2013) To me, chords form the shell of a piece of music – the walls and roof of a house, so to speak. For me, this is the most difficult part of composing and always has been. Possibly because I’m a percussionist and therefore spent a lot of time focusing on rhythmic patterns and combinations rather than harmonic. Harmony? “Harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches (tones, notes), or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of…

  • 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…