Matching Items (2,102)
- All Subjects: Chamber music
- All Subjects: Violin and piano music
A New Home is a multi-movement musical composition written for a chamber orchestra of flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, trombone, bass trombone, percussion (1), pianoforte, and strings. The duration of the entire piece is approximately fourteen minutes (movement 1: four minutes; mvt. 2: four minutes and thirty seconds; mvt. 3: five minutes and thirty seconds). As an exercise in compositional experimentation, some of the musical techniques explored throughout the piece are harmonic planing or parallelism, ostinati, modality, chromatic dissonance, thematic transformation, mixed meter, and syncopation, as well as issues of orchestral blend, balance, and color.
The first movement, ironically titled “Don’t Panic,” highlights my initial anxieties on experimentation by creating hectic textures. The movement is structured around two main alternating sections of chromatic, chordal dissonance with more modal, melodic syncopation in addition to a developmental section, but a sense of rhythmic groove is prominent throughout. The second movement, “Still Here,” is a darker, more sensitive music as it explores various settings of its main thematic material interspersed with march-like episodes and a related secondary theme. The themes are organized around a diatonic scale that omits one pitch to comprise a six-note scale. The third movement, “Change of State,” recalls the modality and rhythmic liveliness of the first movement, and it bears a thematic relationship to the second movement. Much of the material also revolves around scales and mediant relationships to comprise an opening theme, a groove section, and an ethereal, glassy texture which ends the movement. Essentially, the piece closes with a calmer music in contrast to the brute force that opened the piece.
Phantom Sun is a ten-minute piece in three sections, and is composed for flute, clarinet in b-flat, violin, cello, and percussion. The three-part structure for this work is a representation of the atmospheric phenomenon after which the composition is named. A phantom sun, also called a parhelion or sundog, is a weather-related phenomenon caused by the horizontal refraction of sunlight in the upper atmosphere. This refraction creates the illusion of three suns above the horizon, and is often accompanied by a bright halo called the circumzenithal arc. The halo is caused by light bending at 22° as it passes through hexagonal ice crystals. Consequently, the numbers six and 22 are important figures, and have been encoded into this piece in various ways.
The first section, marked “With concentrated intensity,” is characterized by the juxtaposition of tonal ambiguity and tonal affirmation, as well as the use of polymetric counterpoint (often 7/8 against 4/4 or 7/8 against 3/4). The middle section, marked “Crystalline,” provides contrast in its use of unmetered sections and independent tempos. The refraction of light is represented in this movement by a 22-note row based on a hexachord (B-flat, F, C, G, A, E) introduced in measure 164 of the first section. The third section, marked “With frenetic energy,” begins without pause on an arresting entrance of the drums playing an additive rhythmic pattern. This pattern (5+7+9+1) amounts to 22 eighth-note pulses and informs much of the motivic and structural considerations for the remainder of the piece.
The Fusion of Cantonese Music with Western Composition Techniques: Tunes from My Home Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano by Chen Yi
The purpose of this study is to analyze Tunes from My Home, a Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano by Chinese-American composer Chen Yi (b. 1953), as well as to provide a performance guide from a collaborative pianist's perspective. Of Cantonese origin herself, Chen Yi composed several works inspired by Cantonese music, including this trio. Chen Yi composed this trio between 2007 and 2008 and dedicated it to her long time friend pianist Pan Xun, who is also of Cantonese origin. Inspired by this shared Cantonese heritage, Chen Yi incorporated within this work three well-known Cantonese tunes, Cantonese instrumental techniques and sonorities, and elements of the shifan luogu, a wind and percussion ensemble often used in traditional Cantonese music. Coming from the same region as the composer, the author of this paper feels connected with this piece, and as a collaborative pianist, has the opportunity to introduce Cantonese music to a wider audience through the piano trio. Chapter one introduces the motivation for this study. Chapter two provides a brief biography of Chen Yi. Chapter three introduces the history, the scales, and the instruments of Cantonese music as well as other Cantonese influences on this trio, especially the three tunes. Chapter four includes a detailed analysis of each movement in terms of the form and application of the tunes and rhythms of Cantonese music. Chapter five shares the author’s experience of approaching and interpreting this piece in an appropriate style based on her Cantonese roots. The conclusion evaluates the significance of the fusion of Cantonese music with Western compositional techniques in this piece.
American Primitive is a composition written for wind ensemble with an instrumentation of flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, and percussion. The piece is approximately twelve minutes in duration and was written September - December 2013. American Primitive is absolute music (i.e. it does not follow a specific narrative) comprising blocks of distinct, contrasting gestures which bookend a central region of delicate textural layering and minimal gestural contrast. Though three gestures (a descending interval followed by a smaller ascending interval, a dynamic swell, and a chordal "chop") were consciously employed throughout, it is the first gesture of the three that creates a sense of unification and overall coherence to the work. Additionally, the work challenges listeners' expectations of traditional wind ensemble music by featuring the trumpet as a quasi-soloist whose material is predominately inspired by transcriptions of jazz solos. This jazz-inspired material is at times mimicked and further developed by the ensemble, also often in a soloistic manner while the trumpet maintains its role throughout. This interplay of dialogue between the "soloists" and the "ensemble" further skews listeners' conceptions of traditional wind ensemble music by featuring almost every instrument in the ensemble. Though the term "American Primitive" is usually associated with the "naïve art" movement, it bears no association to the music presented in this work. Instead, the term refers to the author's own compositional attitudes, education, and aesthetic interests.
Community-based chamber ensembles: how to build a career that infuses performance with public service
In order to cope with the decreasing availability of symphony jobs and collegiate faculty positions, many musicians are starting to pursue less traditional career paths. Also, to combat declining audiences, musicians are exploring ways to cultivate new and enthusiastic listeners through relevant and engaging performances. Due to these challenges, many community-based chamber music ensembles have been formed throughout the United States. These groups not only focus on performing classical music, but serve the needs of their communities as well. The problem, however, is that many musicians have not learned the business skills necessary to create these career opportunities. In this document I discuss the steps ensembles must take to develop sustainable careers. I first analyze how groups build a strong foundation through getting to know their communities and creating core values. I then discuss branding and marketing so ensembles can develop a public image and learn how to publicize themselves. This is followed by an investigation of how ensembles make and organize their money. I then examine the ways groups ensure long-lasting relationships with their communities and within the ensemble. I end by presenting three case studies of professional ensembles to show how groups create and maintain successful careers. Ensembles must develop entrepreneurship skills in addition to cultivating their artistry. These business concepts are crucial to the longevity of chamber groups. Through interviews of successful ensemble members and my own personal experiences in the Tetra String Quartet, I provide a guide for musicians to use when creating a community-based ensemble.