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Topic: The Torment of Medea

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  1. #1

    The Torment of Medea

    Hi folks, it's good to be back. I wrote a bunch about why I’ve been away so long, but due to a computer glitch I lost it. Suffice to say I missed you all.

    Below is something I’m working on – I included my composition teacher’s comments as you might find them-- as I always have-- instructive. Aside from the slump I’ve been in after my mom’s death, I think another part of the reason for the long silence is that I am going through changes musically (albeit gradually and not without some struggle) and that results in a necessary but uncomfortable confusion for awhile, which I am still enduring and probably will be for some time to come.

    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7358220 Piano verion
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7358234 Orchestral verion – very rough work in progress


    Words adapted from Phillip Vellacott's translation of Euripides' play "Medea"

    Dear Sons, why do you stare at me so? You smile at me your last smile -- why? Oh, what am I to do? My courage is all gone! Their young, bright faces! Their young, bright faces! I can't -- I can't do this thing!

    What is the matter with me? Are my enemies to laugh at me? Medea, steel yourself, steel yourself to do the deed. Boys, go indoors. Now! Go!

    Oh my heart, don't do it! Oh! Miserable heart, let them be! We'll live together safely in Athens -- think how happy we'll be!

    No! But no! By all the fiends of hate in hell, no! Come, my accursed hand and take your sword! Forget forever they were once your sons! Forget that of this body they were born and steel yourself to take your sword, your sword, and do --- the deed!

    [scream]




    Ofer (Ben-Amots’] comments:

    Thank you, Karen. I took only a brief glance at the song and I have both
    praise and some comments to you. It is a good draft and we can talk about
    it when I return from Europe. Regarding the melodic line: It is very
    dramatic and well suited to the text. hHowever, If you have a chance
    please study the abilities and possibilities of the soprano range. Ask
    yourself if the words and vowels you choose for the very high notes are at
    all possible or audible. A great book for instrumentation would be Andrew
    Stiller's Handbook of Instrumentation. This should be every composer's
    bible when using any instrument (including the voice)

    Give yourself a nice New Year present in the form of either the book of
    the CD-ROM. Take a look at:
    http://www.kallistimusic.com/catalog.html

    The accompaniment is a bit more problematic. While its character is very
    suitable it goes into a routine which is too long and too repetitive. Try
    to discover the many different "faces" of the text and the melody you
    wrote and build your piano accompaniment accordingly.

    All the best wishes to you for an amazing new year!

    Ofer


    Hi Ofer,

    Hope you have a great trip to Europe. I assume you are going for a performance of one of your pieces.... may it go splendidly!

    Some more questions/notes -- which can wait for the next meeting ---

    I'll re-work the piano part; i admit I did not put as much care into it as into the melody. As for the soprano range, I consulted Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soprano#Coloratura_soprano (it lists all the types of soprano, and it seems the range of this is within the range of many types of soprano (I am assuming a semi-professional at least -- I can sing it (not exceptionally well though) for the most part, and with practice, the rest will come, so I figure if I can sing it, there are plenty of others who can do it and do it much better?)

    I'll re-visit the vowel sounds, though. That seems to be a complex issue -- with vowel modification, the note might be able to be sung, but the word may or may not be understood. But if there are enough contextual clues and/or other parts of the word in question in the vocal line, then it might be OK. I'll look at it again and consider all these things. (BTW, before I was a music school dropout, I was a voice major....)

    I do have a question about the repetition, though -- is it the repeating "pounding" bass or something else? And, I have always thought that some repetition helps hold the audiences attention and give form to a piece -- perhaps you could, next time, tell me more about your thoughts on that issue?


    All my best to you!
    Karen

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

  2. #2

    Re: The Torment of Medea



    The orchestra version is going to be wonderful, please post it when it is finished.
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician

    http://www.myspace.com/451525581

  3. #3
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: The Torment of Medea

    Hi Karen and welcome back! I remember your earlier posting of this piece.
    Since then I have boned up on the mythology of Jason and Medea a bit so I appreciate a bit better what you are writing about. One thing that stuck in my head was the vacillation that she went through before the dreadful conclusion. That and the real passion it would take to finally commit that act would be what I would try to portray.
    I agree with Hippie, the orchestral version is shaping up and it will be well worth listening to again. Thanks, John

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: The Torment of Medea

    Karen,

    It takes time to get over what sounds like a pretty traumatic time in your life. Eventually all the bad fades away and you'll be left with good memories I'm sure.

    The orchestrated version is sounding good. Keep at it.

    If you are writing for chorus voice you'll need to keep them in a comfortable range. Sopranos don't sing much higher than a strong tenor unless they go into the half voice which is a sort of female falsetto. It's more like bird chirping in this mode and it does take some training.

    Opera singers can have a much greater range. My choir director is an operatic baritone and can sing in real voice from a G to a high Bb.

    Good luck with this and I hope you fully find your new musical voice and become comfortable with it.



    Phil

  5. #5

    Re: The Torment of Medea

    Quote Originally Posted by fastlane View Post
    Karen,

    It takes time to get over what sounds like a pretty traumatic time in your life. Eventually all the bad fades away and you'll be left with good memories I'm sure.

    The orchestrated version is sounding good. Keep at it.

    If you are writing for chorus voice you'll need to keep them in a comfortable range. Sopranos don't sing much higher than a strong tenor unless they go into the half voice which is a sort of female falsetto. It's more like bird chirping in this mode and it does take some training.

    Opera singers can have a much greater range. My choir director is an operatic baritone and can sing in real voice from a G to a high Bb.

    Good luck with this and I hope you fully find your new musical voice and become comfortable with it.



    Phil
    Thank you everyone for listening! I have been so out of it, I actually forgot I posted the piano version before. I am coming back to life gradually.

    Phil, to respond to the range thing (which my comp teacher noted also). It is true that the range is difficult and wide in this -- from E above middle C, to D above high C, if I recall aright -- possible even a bit lower, so about a 3 octave range. I do understand that not everyone can sing that range, but I didn't write it as an art song that would be singable by most sopranos. I figure if I can sing it (which I can, just "squeaking" by LOL!) then there is someone out there who could sing it, and much better than I. I do have a questionable habit of writing solo pieces that are singable by a realtively small population -- in my choral pieces, I am far more guarded.

    Thanks again for listening.

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

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