Friday, July 03, 2020

Understanding microtonality and the work of Jacob Collier (as explained by others)

Jacob Collier performing at Montreux Jazz Festival

How Jacob Collier uses microtonality, pitch and temperament”, by Listening In.

The teacher here explains first the distinction between equal temperament (Bach) and “Just intonation” and “pure intonation”.

The video also shows microtonal notation (as double-double sharps, etc).  I don’t know how Avid Sibelius or other systems (along with Notate Me, PhotoScore, etc) would handle this.

The result of this singing and performing style is a homey sound (like in a small chorus) that was actually popular with TV product commercials in the 1950s.

Aimee Nolte Music gives some more material on how Jacob’s system works with her pitch wheel and “Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer” as an example.  One important point: microtonality invokes more than "quarter tones" of some composers like Haba who appear in modern music theory texts. 

For picture, click to see Wikipedia CCSA attribution for embed. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Adam Neely explains nested tuplets, and takes questions


Adam Neely examines nested tuplets in jazz and percussion.

He actually creates them in Final Cut Pro, and then explains working in Sibelius first and moving to Final Cut.  I don’t know if you can do nested tuplets in Sibelius first.

He also answers a lot of QA about working as a musician during Covid-19, when you can’t play ensemble and no one really knows when you will be able to. 

He also explains the C-clef, where Middle C can be flexibly placed.  People in conservatories have to learn to read it.  

He also wears a beanie cap (Tim Pool?)

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Chopin's B Minor Sonata

Here’s the “other B Minor Sonata”, Chopin, Op. 58

This is a recording (mono) with William Kapell, 1951 (just before I started piano).

The work is surprisingly conventional, with the first movement having a formal repeat.  Both the first and last movements end in the triumphant Picardy B Major, and yet the result sounds a little mechanical.

The scherzo is in E-flat and is elfin, and the slow movement in B Major allows for sadness, and forgetting about outcomes, in a time of shared difficulties, like now.

The piano writing shows a lot of syncopation and inner voice work and craftmanship.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

JJay Berthume gives a composition lesson using chordal progressions and block notation

JJay Bertume, with his little spinet piano on Greenville SC (sorry, the middle G string sounds double) has a system for shorthanding major chord progressions that generate emotional effects. He experiments with progressions in computer games (he composes music for gaming companies – I didn’t know people do this) and with effects that are common in Star Wars-like music (I think he could branch into Han Zimmer’s effects, like in Inception, if he wanted to)

Then he switches to the computer (I’m not sure if he is using Avid Sibelius with NotateMe and PhotoScore, but this was 2015) and generates and impressive sounding orchestral passage that reminds me of a sci-fi or mystery soundtrack.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Adam Neely discusses "White Privilege and Music"

Adam Neely (composer in NYC) talks about “White Privilege and Music”.

He draws some parallel with the issue of ethnicity for people living in the US and playing certain music when there was conflict over northern Ireland, for several decades, which was over “religion” or ethnicity but not race.   He shows a lot of old footage of the IRA conflict (remember the 1992 film “The Crying Game”).

He talks about being a white musician who composes and plays music derived from black traditions in the US South.

He wears a beanie in this video, almost as if taking a hit from Tim Pool.  He does say it is difficult for performing musicians to stay away from politics now (with BLM demanding to recruit everyone), but most of them want to.

Many of the upcoming posts here in the near future may be more about composition process, as I need to get a grip on my own deliverables as we come out of this “stay at home” period.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Composer Nejc Kuhar seems to play back a guitar trio as he composes it by hand in real time

A composer Nejc Kuhar demonstrates his composition by hand notation of a Trio #5465798 “Neobeauty” for guitar, violin and flute (2013).

The music is played by people for the recording (Nejc is the guitarist). But it makes me wonder if it is possible to compose in Notate Me (with Avid Sibelius) and play back as you compose in real time.

Picture: a piano in a parking garage in Washington DC during the 2020 protests 

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Samuel Feinberg (not the Russian composer) gives an orchestration and composition lesson on YouTube with his own 16th Symphony scherzo movement



Today, I watched a 34-minute “master class” session where composer Samuel G. Feinberg (b. 1996) edits the second movement (a kind of scherzo) of what he calls his Sixteenth Symphony.

If you look at this video channel on YouTube (Atlantic Snow Music) you’ll see the finale (6th movement, about 5 minutes) but the last chord is cut off.

I was curious for a couple reasons. First, there is a Russian composer (early 20th Century) Samuil Feinberg (note the first name spelling), with an emphasis on piano sonatas and concerti, some of which are quite interesting (a style that seems to be a combination of Scriabin and Prokofiev, if you can imagine that).

Second, there is a person Samuel Feinberg, about the same age, who belongs to the Helena group, whom you can look up on LinkedIn, and who gave a speech on the power grid at Baylor in September 2017.  Not the same person (but not “that” different in appearance and voice).  Maybe we have a situation like multiple “David Hogg” occurrences on Twitter.  The Helena group comprises young adults gifted in engineering and the sciences.

And then, there is my own music, which I have discussed on one of my Wordrpess blogs (“Bills Media Reviews”).  In particular, I have some short pieces (pretty much done), and three Sonatas, and I want to finish the Third Sonata (started in December 1961 when I was 18 in difficult circumstances), now four big movements, pretty much in good shape except for the Finale, especially the coda, where I combine everything into one final shout.  I’ve  planned to add other instruments into certain sections of the slow movement (third movement) to reappear in the Finale in the three-part-coda. Just like a symphony can uses voices, once in a while a piano sonata can use other instruments, especially percussion (Bartok, see March 18, 2018).

The video shows (this) Feinberg editing the orchestra score, music in d minor and largely in Dorian mode, sounding a bit like Vaughn Williams to my ear. Occasionally there are complicated scales and glissandi in 16th or 32nd notes, and percussive effects.

I had a dream last night, and there was a theme in the dream in dorian mode “GFEFGA”.  That resembles a theme here. Maybe I glanced at it yesterday and it stayed in my subconscious. In the dream, people were assembled into three groups to go into a church to get vaccinated (for COVID) and when I went in, I left my camera, and had to get back in to retrieve it, when I woke up. If we get to that point (of having 3 vaccines for people with different medical profiles), we’ll be in much better shape than we are now.

To be working on a 16th symphony at age 24 sounds interesting.  Havergal Brian (the “British Mahler”) composed over 30 symphonies, though many (after the first few) are very short. During my fiasco at William and Mary in the fall of 1961, I met another freshman (from California, named John G. DeLong) who claimed he had composed “57 symphonies”.  He actually had composed a piano concerto in E-flat (rather ternary, with a second movement or middle section in G minor that was bit like a dirge) which he played in piano reduction one Saturday in Ewell Hall and which I still remember.  So one day (around 2015) I played in on my Casio piano from memory by ear and recorded it for myself (into Avid Sibelius, from which you can make an mpg file).  I wonder about the copyright issue of posting my playing it, I’ve never posted it.

Feinberg works, framing himself in a block as if sitting in front of a pillow, as if in a NYC apartment. He must have a very modern instrument set up.  Recently, James Pawel Shallcross (on “The Piano Forever” on YouTube) has reviewed a few of the newest instruments for composing.

The “lesson” here should be helpful to me as I get on with my own work (as we work through “stay-at-home”).