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Topic: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

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  1. #1
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    Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    I’ve expanded the piece I posted in the "Atonal Offering" thread to almost twice the original length. I figured it changed enough to start a new thread….

    Here is the new, expanded version –

    http://trentsworld.com/music/posting...t-1-4-2005.mp3

    If you didn’t read the other thread, this is a wind quartet comprised of flute, oboe, English horn and bassoon. About 90% of the material is based on a twelve tone row and its I, R and IR.

    So far this goes unnamed. Any suggestions? (I have an idea in mind, but want to wait until I see if the larger piece develops…)

    I may eventually expand this. I’m thinking a larger ensemble, including a percussion player. Maybe another movement.

    Anyway, what do you think?
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Trent,

    It seems much more rounded now.

    I particularly enjoyed the super fast runs in the flute and the passage were the bassoon sets up a steady pulse. So many textures in such a short time!

    I think the ending is very effective. It still feels like some of the questions set up by the piece are unresolved - bring on the next movement!

    Mark.
    As in music - so in life!

  3. #3

    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Hey, that is pretty good. In the earlier posts people mentioned the instrumentation. I think the current setup is cool, but I can say from experience that a woodwind quartet is usually flute, clarinet, bassoon, and Horn in F. That gives a little more fullness to the mix. But, that being said, I think you have done well with the more unconventional ensemble. Bravo!

    As for the name of the piece, I would really, really suggest not giving it a programmatic name. Since this piece is going to be multi movement you could just call it Quartet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon no. 1. The reason I list all of the instruments is simply to differentiate it from the more traditional woodwind quartet... which, by the way, is still an uncommon ensemble. The most common is the woodwind quintet consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn in f, and bassoon.

    Good job, I look forward to more movements.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  4. #4
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Trent - -

    I like it, but for me "chamber atonal" is too limiting. I (personally) want a HUGE group of players going at it (metaphorically) producing nice waves of sound and lots more contrasts. In particular, I'm becoming more and more fascinated with the notion of "rhythmic offsets" and "thematic offsets" conjoining -- sort of a twist of Terry Riley's old "In C" (where the basic direction was that there were 30 or 40 short snippets and all of the players had to work their way through them, repeating any an arbitrary number of times -- but DIFFERENT).

    I guess I'm getting more and more frustrated and limited by steady time signatures, too. Perhaps I can conjur up a sample soon (I've also been side-tracked by producing some dance and "ambient" things for my other two non-symphonic sides, but I've yet to truly exercise the GPO Update with my new, improved 2 gig of ram. I wonder how "big" I can get it in Cubase ... hmmm.)

    Anyway, nice submission! [Applause]

    KevinKauai

  5. #5
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Mark, I'm glad you liked this better than the earlier version. I didn't feel very satisified with the way I had ended it before. As I was listening to the old ending I could hear how it had to go. I like this much better.

    Thanks for the comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Jess, OK, but I just love the sound of an English Horn . I can see (hear?) how the more typical instrumentation would give a much wider variety of sounds. I played with my current instrumentation in an earlier piece I did to try to create a medieval sound but I’m sure it could become grating on the ear.

    I’m going to continue the other movements with my current instrumentation but may go back and redo this with a sextet (add clarinet and f horn) or septet (clarinet, f horn and a low bass ww, like a contra-bassoon). Not sure yet.

    You may be right – a simple descriptive name like "Quartet for Flute, Oboe, English Horn and Bassoon No. 1" might be best.

    Thanks for the comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Kevin, thanks for the comments.

    The one thing that I like the least about this piece it too often stays strictly in it's meter (or "meters" - I use 7/4 for most but switch to 6/4 a couple of times) - the phrases are pretty much 2 measures long and with breaks between phrases. The other two movements will be a bit more free flowing. Of course they won't have the multi-layered shifting textures you're talking about...

    I've played with simple versions of what you are talking about that were heavily influenced by the ambient music of Brian Eno. Maybe now that I'm learning more about music I should try some of it again.

    Anyway, looking forward to hearing what you come up with.

    Thanks for listening and for the comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8

    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Of course, if you used a twelve tone row comprised of all of the notes of the chromatic scale you have composed a pantonal piece. You seem to have a good grasp of this type of writing. If you want more freedom I would suggest you study pitch set theory. I have heard some wonderful pieces written using pitch sets, most notably for me was a Saxophone Sonata composed by Dr. Charles W. Smith, my former composition teacher.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Hi Daniel. I agree that its great to hear something new and be taken by surprise. On the other hand, the ear likes to hear familiar things and repetition.

    I can only take so much of the type of atonal music that offers the ear nothing to hang on to. It can be very exciting, but for me only in small doses. Of course the more I listen the more I discover music I thought had no reoccurring patterns really does, the patterns just aren’t as obvious as they are they are in, say, Beethoven.

    Actually, in some way you inspired this. You had said something in one of your posts that you had been writting more dissonant or atonal pieces but that you weren't sure how people would react if you posted them (or something like that). After reading that I got to thinking - "you know, there really isn't enough atonal music being posted. Maybe I can do something about that..."

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked this. As far as reverb, I might try a bigger hall to see how it sounds (I used the recital hall preset). Thanks for your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  10. #10
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    Re: Expanded and Improved (I hope) Atonal Offering

    Thanks Jess. Pantonality. I don’t think I use it in quite the way Schoenberg or Berg did - for instance I almost never use the row vertically (once in this piece). I’ve read a few overviews of the system and use the parts that seem most useful to achieve my goals but have yet to study it in depth.

    I’ve heard of pitch set theory but haven’t looked into it yet. I’ll have to look into it. Is there a good book on it? Do you know if the Saxophone Sonata you mentioned has been recorded?
    Trent P. McDonald

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