Design a site like this with
Get started

Composition Assessment task

I have decided to add my composition assessment journal to my blog. I think it’s good to see my progression and compositional process, as well as use this to track how far I have come since the beginning of the class! Hope you all enjoy it!

Some context on the task:

  1. Follow your own “baby steps” from Assessment Task 2, to actually begin composing an original piece.
  2. Taking the material generated in this way, compose a piece for clarinet in B flat or A, violin, and piano, in any musical style, up to 2 minutes long. In doing this, you can take your initial “baby steps” material in a completely new direction (i.e., it doesn’t have to “sound” like your model piece).

You must:

  • Bring draft material (at least 16 bars) to share in class Week 12 (no marks, but 10% penalty for not attending or not bringing material)
  • Present a full 2 minute draft for a workshop with professional musicians in Week 13 – also carries a 10% penalty if not completed.
  • Submit a score of your work with supporting recording or data (30%):
  1. When beginning this assignment, I quickly realised that my baby steps would not really suit this style of assessment, as it must conform to the set instruments, being Clarinet, Violin, and Piano. This immediately made me panic. For context I do not have a classical background at all, I very much identify as a contemporary musician, and thus I have only ever thought about writing contemporary music with standard contemporary instruments. i.e guitar, keyboard, drums, and vocals. So straight away, I kind of felt a bit out of my depth. In order to make things easier, I transposed the key from its original (Eb Major) to Bb Major in order to work well with the clarinet. After doing this I felt a bit more at ease and was ready to start working towards the presentation of the 16 bars.
  2. When working on the draft of this assessment task, I decided that I was able to use the same chord template from my baby steps, just transposing the key in order for it to be in accordance with the other instruments. Along with this part of my scaffold and baby steps, the only other one that applied was the piano/melody part. So using the chords that were already in place I began looking for an idea. The theme of this song is meant to start peaceful and soft and transition into a fast and loud section.
  3. My initial 16 bar draft which I presented via zoom, wasn’t a bad attempt, I was achieving a “pretty” sound and using good elements and registers of the instruments to complement each other well. Some of my feedback from Caitlin included the use of dynamics and articulations of course and perhaps a more defined melody. Some more feedback included actually notating the piano rather than just having chord markings in order to specify which voicings should be played. After I amended the voicings here is what my 16 bar draft looked like. Nothing spectacular, but I felt like there was a lot of promise!
my first 16 bars of my draft composition.

4. Caitlin also suggested that I incorporate some faster and more defined notes on the violin in order for it to stand out as more of a melodic instrument.

This is what began to follow as a result of the feedback! A more defined and thought-out melody line.

5. The next milestone for me to look out for in the compositional process would be the 2 minute draft, which would be played live, by professional musicians.

Here is my full 2 minute draft!!!

Here is the workshop, of my composition being played live by professional musicians. It was quite a surreal experience as it’s something I would have never thought would happen. Even though there are some obvious flaws in the piece (stuff that I will fix). It was pretty amazing to have something that was mine and share it with the class. It left me feeling quite vulnerable actually as I was at the mercy of my peers and teachers, but everyone was so supportive and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

The feedback I got back was great, The piano part was feeling a bit empty and required a bit more fleshing out, and the clarinet and violin parts needed more dynamics and articulations. ALL GREAT STUFF!! which will help me finalise the task.

With a more fleshed-out piano part that fills more space, coupled with more articulation and dynamic markings throughout the piece. My final composition was complete. I thought it would be fitting to name it “My Past” with it being a clear homage to the model song “My Future”. Overall this has been a truly enriching experience. I can gladly say that I have finished this class getting out what I was looking for. Learning more about composition, enough so for me to start enjoying it, and even doing it in my spare time. With this final reflection, I leave you with my final composition! Thank you 🙂

Here it is!! Enjoy!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: