• Stephen P Brown composes a Bass Clarinet Concerto
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    #PsalmQuest Bass Clarinet Joint Commission!

    Well, this turned into an amazing project! A local performer reached out to me and said “We should work together!” He was very generous in sharing what a good reputation I have amongst some of his colleagues, so with my esteem duly stroked I said, “Sure!” Bass Clarinets rule! Turns out Calvin Falwell is a Bass Clarinet geek. Geeks are cool these days, so that is a compliment. It is also a compliment because I used to play bass clarinet myself when I was 12. You can hear a little about that story on the video below. You can imagine how excited I was when Calvin suggested I write a…

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    Quest #9 – Perspective

    This was an odd composition that kind of came out of nowhere, but ended up being the ninth composition in my psalm composition quest. And it’s a little strange, being written for bass clarinet and drum kit. Uh-huh. I met Calvin Falwell recently and during our chat he mentioned a project he and his USF Faculty colleague Robert McCormick were undertaking. I know Robert and was therefore interested. Vox Novus commission lots of new music from composers for a project called “Fifteen Minutes of Fame.” Composers submit brand new compositions no longer than one minute (60 seconds) and 15 of them are selected and joined together to form one piece…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • British American Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown Psalm Piece 4 Wind Quintet Classical Music
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    Next piece: Wind Quintet 2

      Yes, I’m forging ahead! Why? Because I know that as I improve my composition skills (the purpose of this entire project) I am learning how instruments sound and work together and I will be wanting to compose for larger combinations of instruments, such as a full orchestra. Writing such a piece will take a lot more time. If I can get ahead in the project now, it will allow some flexibility for taking longer on the bigger pieces. For example, this next piece is a Wind Quintet. That’s the standard combination of woodwind instruments (plus French Horn) found in most Western ensembles – flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. However,…