Posted in On Assignment 1

Overall Reflection on the First Part of the Course

At the start of this course, I couldn’t have imagined what was about to occur, especially not with only working through its first part. As a relatively well-formed musician with a good deal of knowledge about music, I couldn’t have imagined where, what I considered a simple subject of indefinite-pitched percussion instruments, would tide me into. A whole new musical world unfolded in front of me and made me question everything I thought I never would.

Merely the concept of the sounds these instruments produce, made me realize that, my notion of what is musical and what isn’t, was actually quite one-dimensional. Various, once ignored elements of sound revealed before me, brought by the many disciplines of musical acoustics. By changing the way I define sounds, it also affected the way I listen to them – I discovered that indefinite-pitched percussion instruments are indeed capable of producing musical sentances.

Seeking for new ways of using and demonstrating this, I set out to travel this newly uncovered musical world. Besides encountering many instruments and their rich history of being both the oldest and youngest in music, my journey led me to new concepts of musical time found in the Middle East and India. I discovered what is for most people lost in the oblivion – the composers like Michael Pamer and his contribution to waltz, the first named drummer in history, Lipushiau, the dengaku dance, and the idea of rhetorical invention of baroque music. Along the way I was mesmerized by the rhythms and musical forms of many of the dances I have never heard of before: Spanish fandango, Basque zortziko, Indian kathak dance and Tahitian otea. Continue reading “Overall Reflection on the First Part of the Course”

Posted in On Assignment 1

Reflection on Assignment 1, A: Tutor feedback and revision

Together with the assignment, we are advised to send in our reflection. Firstly, I wrote the overall reflection on the first part of the course, which you can find here. Secondly, there are some reflective commentaries within the assignment notes themselves, especially in the brief and conclusion. In this post, I will write about my tutor’s feedback, listing some changes I made to the assignment piece, and in the second post, I will give a final review of my work against the assessment criteria.

Since it was my first tutor feedback, I was before anything else quite nervous, but also excited. Upon receiving the feedback, I was quite encouraged to see the general comment in the first page:

“Overall this is a strong start to the course, which demonstrates a good sense of creativity and imagination, combined with already well developed compositional skills.”

As someone who studied music, harmony and counterpoint since the early childhood, I wasn’t surprised at all that my tutor recognized some of my already developed skills for composing. However, in the previous studies, I was never really motivated to explore my abilities within a more free and creative framework. Thus, this comment really uplifted my spirits.

Regarding presentation, my tutor mentioned that it is well-outlined and shows a good understanding of notation conventions. However, I didn’t include my own name on the top right – something I changed in the revised version. Next to that, while editing bars, I didn’t pay attention to the rests that would stay in the changed form in Sibelius, so that resulted in some awkward bars. Beside the example given by my tutor, there were quite a few other instances, for example, in bar 85 in the bass drum line:

assign 1 rests.PNG

From this, it’s quite clear what previous rhythmic idea I wanted to use – a syncopated rhythm, quaver – crochet – quaver. Instead of deleting the whole bar, I deleted the notes separately. Other occurrences include bar 27-28 for cymbals, bar 60 congas, 72 in cymbals and tambourine, and other, which I’ve corrected in the revised version.

The same thing happened to the notes as well, so that I had clumsy places, such as two tied minims in bar 80 that my tutor pointed out. Other places includes bar 66 in the cymbals:

awkward 2.PNG Continue reading “Reflection on Assignment 1, A: Tutor feedback and revision”