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Topic: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

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  1. #1

    Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6559885

    First part of a new project. Aaron is our regional poet laureate, and a friend of mine; I am setting his prose poem "Scenes" to music, which is a real challenge for me -- no bouncy metered Gilbert and Sullivan libretto here LOL! This is still rough in places; some of the harmonies need fixing, but wanted to go ahead and post it anyway. New and newer territory for me, these harmonies... struggling a bit (which is good).

    I don't want to post the lyrics just yet, as I haven't asked Aaron; I'm sure he'll say fine, but I'm a bit of a stickler at times for protocol and courtesy.... for more info on Aaron's poetry and history, respectively, see:

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/anst...irst_poet.html
    http://www.pikespeakpoetlaureate.org/current_poet.html

    As always thanks for listening.

    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  2. #2
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Karen:
    This is quite different for you. I like where you're going but your path is a tad rough. Some of your chromaticism sounds a little forced to me, or maybe those passages are just coming on too abruptly without a warning. I'll be curious to see what you do with this. I have no doubt that it will turn out fine.
    More later,

    Steve

  3. #3

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Shoot, i just lost my previoous response by hitting a wrong key.

    Thanks Steve, you are right. Forced? how about bumbling?

    But as Dave (etLux) urged, I am taking a risk and hope to learn something. Often when I do something really new like this, it starts very rough, and then I have to listen to it over and over, fine-tuning a little each pass, sort of like a baby learning how to speak (an apt analogy I think, as this is a new musical language for me).

    I re-listened to this and really cringed at some points. ouch! But I think I have to be unafraid to write some pretty ugly stuff, and that by bumping up against my limitations, i might eventually overcome them.

    Lately, I've been going through a real change musically, sort of like I'm listening to my stuff and seeing really clearly how far I have to go, and that's really scary. I feel so inadequate to the task right now. Maybe I'm just tired (Gloria wore me out to be honest). Sometimes I play something by one of the masters, then something of mine. There is something in a work by a real master that I do not hear in my work, so I juxtapose the two trying to discern what that something is. I have some initial ideas....

    I need to delve into theory a little more and listen more. I've hit a wall something like this before, and got past it (eventually). It feels like "I can't go any further with my current knowledge". But I tell myself that this is a good place to be even if it is uncomfortable, because confusion probably means I am learning, or am about to learn something really new for me. I learned that one in the software field, where confusion always preceded a new level of understanding. It's nice to have a forum where I can safely air my dirty musical laundry LOL!

    Thanks for listening and especially, thanks for telling it like it is -- I really need that, especially right now.

    Cheers,
    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  4. #4

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    I am going to post the text; I don't think Aaron will mind; it's just a part of a longer poem, and I think it will make it clearer why this is such a challenge for me.
    Against the lingerie-color sunset,
    orange and pink and filmy as a negligee, two dogs fight in a liquor store parking lot, mouths on throats, blood an inkling in the neon advertising bargains on imports. Their long shadows go slo-mo in the skittering gravel and spin under dust’s little weather systems. Customers seem to glow, sidling past then leaving with purchases.
    -- from Scenes, copyright Aaron Anstett
    Unlike regular metered poetry, and even much of free verse, which often has an innate rhythm despite the fact that it is not regular in the sense of "metered", this sort of prose poem is about as close to "regular" spoken language as one can get, which poses an extra challenge (for me anyway) in setting it to music. That's partly why I chose this poem of his (the above is one of 14 parts); I knew I would have to sweat over it ROTFL!
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  5. #5

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    There are places in this, that are just plain mistakes in harmony; i'll fix those... like typos, so to speak. Others, which i think are what you are talking about, sound unnatural and don't flow right. I think I did some of those things intentionally, to push the boundaries of what I usually do, hoping that if I can write something that sounds wrong, fixing it will help teach me why something sounds right when it does -- if that makes sense. (It is, after all almost 3 am!!) Now bed-time for me, I think!

    Thanks again -- you make me think. It's hard work LOL!
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  6. #6
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Hi, I first listened to this prior to you posting the text. So with no context for your music, I found the introduction of the chromatic notes a little jarring. Now that I have read the lines of the poem, I think you really have a challenging job ahead. The few forays I have tried myself into chromaticism were sort of experimental as I don't have any idea if there are "rules" to be adhered to. What I did was a piece where there were four voices and I moved one of them chromatically down the scale, keeping the others in traditional harmony. The end result was a discernable melody with an edge to it, created by the descending chromatic line. I started with the chromatic line as an inner voice, after one time through, I moved it to the bottom voice, and repeated the other voices the same as before. So there was a sense of something familiar, and at the same time, some kind of tension creeping in. I don't know if this will help at all, but best of luck as this develops. John (bigears)

  7. #7

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Hi John,

    Thanks for that tip/technique. Sounds like a good one! I appreciate all the compositional knowledge on this forum, and this is one example (of many)where having such how-to suggestions is more than welcome!!

    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  8. #8

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    It all depends on the flavor of chromaticism you are going for...

    How much theory are you working with? If you borrow chords from other keys, like V/V (the 5th chord of the 5th chord's key) then you will end up with some pretty cool chromatics...to ease the jarring quality, you could borrow chords from a closely related key (like Cmaj to Gmaj...one # difference...G is the 5 of C)...anyway, if you lead up to the modulation with a chord that is contained in both keys (such as Amin would be both the vi in C and the ii in G...just be careful to avoid the changed accidental until you are ready for the chromaticism.) you would still have chromaticism in the music but it would be less jarring.

    I am sure that I am not explaining it well...but this is my finals week...and theory IV just kicked my butt today!! Grrr...anyway....

    let me know if I made no sense, if you would like anything explained better, or if you need still more options.

    Of course, there are many more knowledgeable people on this forum!!! They should be able to explain better than I am able.

    I cannot wait to hear more...
    Paul

    Prowland the posting Ninja

  9. #9

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Paul,
    thanks, yes that makes sense. How much theory do I have? Well, I would be having much more trouble with your theory IV than you are, of that I am sure LOL! On the other hand, I have some good books (eg, Persichetti and Hindemith) and (here!) very good advisors!

    Most of what I write is by ear (ie, does it sound good to me). But when I run into difficulties, that's when I turn to theory to get myself out of the corner.

    I did fix up a number of things in this piece, so what you hear now is a little better. There is a very strange modulation early on from Gm(2 flats) to Bm (two sharps), which didn't sound right to me at first, and still sounds odd but a lttle less so the more I listen to it and tweak the notes leading up to it (as you point out).

    Thanks Paul and everyone else above who gave me tips on this one. Much obliged.

    karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  10. #10

    Re: Scenes mv 1 (text by our regional Poet Laureate Aaron Anstett)

    Karen, setting poetry of this kind is a risk, indeed.

    I'd be hard pressed to elaborate Anstett's wildly insightful and
    sharply stroked encapsulation of scene... this small segment,
    at least -- it's pointilism done with a Tommy gun.

    I know this is a work in progress, and I think for the moment
    I will reserve comment on specifics. But I believe the real
    challenge, here, is to somehow capture the tightly wrapped
    intensity inherent in Anstett's terse, almost abbreviative
    attacks on reality.

    Good speed, I'll be listening with interest...

    My best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

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