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Topic: Brief brass band piece

  1. #1

    Brief brass band piece

    Recording updated to use the new ARIA Player as well as the project Sam brass.

    It's been so long since I've posted a new work, I've been completely submerged in work for the music festival.

    Well, now that's it is over (and has been a tremendous success), I actually have felt inspired to compose!

    I thought what better way to get back into it than to write a short fanfare-ish work for next year's festival.

    Formally, it's quite simple: brief intro (horns and trumpets) on theme 1 with bells peeling, then solemn entrance of theme 2 in the trombone choir.

    There's a quiet middle section with the trumpets "singing" a more lyrical version of the solemn trombone theme (against pulsing horns).

    The tempo speeds up again, and the whole group finishes it all off with theme 1.

    Harmonically, it's quite simple: a few polychords here and there, a lot of counterpoint built up, some "crunchy chords", and lots of triadic material. It is, after all, meant to be performed as a "populist" overture.


    Oh, and it's all GPO, from within Finale 2008.
    I used:
    4 horns (1st was the solo KS horn)
    3 trumpets (the three KS solos)
    3 alto trombones (again, the KS 'bones, though "why?" I have no idea, I didn't use any mutes or effects)
    1 solo KS bass 'bone
    1 KS solo tuba

    tubular bells

    and I tried adding some "oomph" to the mix by highlighting certain passages with the "ag/overlay" samples of horn, trumpet and trombones.

    Personally, I find the trumpet samples a tiny bit thin sounding. I think I'd have liked a slightly bigger sound from them. I also tried to NOT put too much reverb because I want to test this recording in the church where the festival takes place.

    I'm considering making a second recording of this fanfare using the Concert & Marching Band brass set.

    (I'm sort of keeping this piece as a "test" for GPO4's brass section)

    And here is that "test"


    Last edited by qccowboy; 08-07-2009 at 07:35 PM. Reason: updated recordings

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    I really like this. I think you did a great job of keeping it accessible for your target audience while still giving it harmonic interest.

    I have one small complaint - during some of the quiet parts towards the middle it sounds more distant than playing softly. Not sure why that is - maybe the lower reverb? Maybe Finale left the attacks a little to hard? Not sure.

    That, of course, is a very minor complaint - I really like the composition, which is the important part to me.
    Trent P. McDonald

  3. #3

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    Thank-you Trent.
    It does seem to be a bit of a "defect" in the brass samples, I think.
    No matter what I do, at soft dynamics, they sound more distant than actually "soft".
    I'm now tempted to write a sequence of fanfares, of different characters. This is turning out to be a lot of fun.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ellendale, ND

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    This is a brass player's delight. Difficult, yet very rewarding for the ear. Well worth the rehearsal to get all the implied dissonance to sing.

  5. #5

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    Excellent to see you posting something again, Michel - It really has been far too long.

    What a rich, powerful piece - Wonderful listening experience. Never under-estimate the potential power of simplicity.

    You made reference to this project on my current thread with the '40's style movie newsreel fanfare--Lol---I thought you meant you were doing something of a similar vein. Yes, they're both in the very broad "fanfare" category, but after that, most similarities cease.

    Great stuff, Michel - Thanks for letting us hear it.


  6. #6
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Central Illinois

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    I like the touches of dissonant chords that kept sneaking in. This sounded really good coming out of Finale. Nice balance and staging of the various instruments
    so the voices all came through. I'd like to hear this with the Concert Band Instruments if you work that up. Thanks for sharing this, John

  7. #7

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    Very nice. I like the feel of it and your mix good.
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician


  8. #8

    Re: Brief brass band piece


    This is a wonderful and powerful fanfare that you have created. I like the polychordal feel and the dissonants that creeps in as you weave your counterpoint. I can certainly see this (and mentally hear it) as the opening to a wonderful music festival.

    Thanks for sharing this with the forum.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong


  9. #9

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    thank-you guys!

    Tom: oh Tom! I DO hope it's not TOO difficult!!! I would be most honoured if brass players were to tell me they delighted in performing it. I think the greatest compliment a composer can receive is that a performer took great pleasure in performing their work.

    Randy: I have had "obligations" elsewhere that have actually stifled my creativity (not the festival). I'm glad that I ahve withdrawn from them, and am rather surprised at just HOW much "creativity" has returned with the dropping of that ballast. Yeah, I guess our two fanfares ARE a bit different, aren't they? Speaking of which, there's a great piece by William Schuman called "Newsreel", which while a tiny bit more dissonant than your piece, is still VERY much in the same vein. I think you would enjoy it.

    John: Well, I've tried doing it with Concert and Marching Band, but somehow, it doesn't quite "feel" as nice. A friend from the U.K. is helping me to transcribe it for British Brass band (so I have instruments to change and new ones to add). If I do get that version done, I will post it for a comparison.

    Hippie: haha! thank-you, but the credit for the mix goes to the progrmmers at MakeMusic... since Finale took care of most of that. All I did was place my instruments in more or less the position they might find themselves in on a stage.

    Rich: I'm glad you enjoyed the polychords . I always struggle a tiny bit when writing "serious" music that's intended for a less knowledgeable audience. It's a very delicate balancing act. I don't want to insult my audience by resorting to what I might consider "cliché" simply to please them, and at the same time, I DO want to write something that truly expresses my own musical language, which I KNOW can be percieved as a bit more "esoteric".

  10. #10

    Re: Brief brass band piece

    Excellent job on this, Michel... listened through it
    several times, in fact.

    As you'd mentioned generally, writing in a "modern"
    idiom is one thing. Doing so in a manner that is yet
    enticing to a broad spectrum of listeners is another.

    While also appealing in its craft and substance, this
    piece achieves that readily... listenable and
    exciting, I would think, for most anyone's ear.

    Well done!

    My best,

    David Sosnowski

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