Posted in On Assignment 4

Overall Impression on the Fourth Part of the Course

Arriving now at the penultimate stage of the course, with the newly discovered freedom I unlocked in the previous part, I continue my adventure with the creative approach to counterpoint.

Through the encounter with the free counterpoint, I gained even more independence in my compositional practice. Here, it was particularly interesting to investigate the contrapuntal techniques through the distinct feelings of liberty offered by the irregular time signatures and melodies written with no bar lines. While I do go briefly back to a bit more strict counterpoint in my invention in baroque style, I do so while retaining the new-found playfulness. Consequently, my subsequent invention is the one in modern style, drawing from the 20th century neo-classism that combined the old forms with the modern harmony.

Next to that, I was also introduced to a new family of instruments – the definite-pitched percussion. Among these, glockenspiel and marimba in particular drew my attention to the contemporary classic music, where they’ve been more and more recognized as great soloists. Xylophone and vibraphone, on the other hand, acquainted me with the popular genres such as ragtime, jazz, novelty and vaudeville. In any regard, the unique timbres of the definite-pitched percussion instruments expanded the horizon of my musical expression.

With all of the above culminating into an interesting assignment piece, I am ready to continue my musical journey, that the final part of the course will direct towards harmony.

Posted in On Assignment 4

Assignment 4 Reflection, A: Tutor Feedback and Revision

Together with the assignments, the students are encouraged to show their reflective process. In this regard, I first wrote the overall reflection on the fourth part of the course, which you can read here. Furthermore, my assignment notes also include reflective thoughts. Finally, in this post, I will write about my tutor’s feedback, listing the changes I made, and in the second post (part B), I will give a final review of my assignment piece in relation to the assessment criteria points.

Regarding the piece as a whole, my tutor gave the general remark:

“On the whole, I feel this is a good attempt, with some original ideas and evidence of good technical control. This is a well structured piece with a good sense of character, flow and direction.”

I was more than delighted to read this, since I was quite worried when I submitted my piece for feedback. After the third assignment, where I strayed from the guidelines a bit by adding the indefinite-pitched percussion – mostly because of reading parts from the wrong assignment brief, I was a little troubled that my introduction and the piece in general might have digressed from the assignment goals. Thus, I was so relieved when I got my tutor’s notes.

Regarding the presentation, my tutor writes that it includes good level of performance instructions and that the text is helpful for performers to understand the different musical sections. She mentions that a listing at the start of the score would be very useful. I have added this, but I chose not to indicate the number of percussion players. This is mostly because I think, while there can be two players – one playing the drums, and other the metal instruments, there is no reason why there couldn’t be four players. Perhaps, there are also ways to have three players. I would actually leave this to the context of the performance, and the capabilities of the percussionists. Finally, as the feedback points out, there were several slur errors in the clarinet, which I corrected in the revision, and the dynamic markings should be in bold. For the latter, I realized I didn’t do this at all for any assignment pieces – thus I had to go back and correct all the previous projects! This is something that I will pay attention to in the future.  Continue reading “Assignment 4 Reflection, A: Tutor Feedback and Revision”