Analysis for Composers #11

Analysis for Composers #11



I've mentioned several times in this course that analysis too often ignores many very salient elements of the music like temple tambri or register dynamics and articulation but these aspects are usually important and changing them can affect the musical result in so many ways here I want to talk about the way these other dimensions interact with harmony rhythm motives and so on one obvious example is when orchestration is used to heighten contrast here's an example with two little phrases first with both in the strings then with the second phrase in the winds as we can hear change in the Tambor accentuates the contrast note that even with only the strings the change in articulation already creates a strong contrast changing the Tambor at the same time heightens the effect a good part of a composer's job consists of connecting musical ideas one idea can follow another very suddenly or very gradually or with many possible degrees of contrast in between thinking about musical contrasts on a continuous scale instead of just as a binary choice allows the composer a lot more subtlety often the solution that sounds just right will depend at least as much on managing tempo Tambor register dynamics and articulation as it will on the trance of pitches in fact often minor changes in the pitches will pass unnoticed whereas changes in these other dimensions are impossible to ignore listen this is the original version of the game or is it look closely you will see that a couple of notes have been changed but compared to the change in orchestration this is a very minor detail this leads us to a very important principle of composition begin your work with the things that are most salient since they make the most dramatic difference to the listener this doesn't mean that pitches and motives don't count just that they may not always be the most prominent aspect to the music needing attention in our first example above neither solution all strings or else strings followed by winds is right or wrong that will depend on the musical context in particular on whether that moment in the piece who hires more continuity or more novelty orchestration is not the only thing one could modify here are two more versions in the first new version I've made the first mode of legato there's no contrast of articulation in the second version in addition to the articulation I've also changed the register of the second idea each of these versions has its pros and cons and again only in context can the composer decide which is best then we can judge the degree of contrast or association between the two ideas that the facet requires the interaction between various dimensions of the music can be a very potent tool for increasing expressive force here's an example we have a series of chords here getting gradually more and more dissonant now let's changed the rhythm so that gradually speeds up notice how the intensity the phrase increases is the cord speed-up combining and gradually intensify harmonic progression with increasingly faster rhythm makes the overall effect more intense now let's push this idea even further let's orchestrate this as a crescendo and make the last two chords marcado the phrase becomes even more dramatic this is what I call the coordination principle the various aspects of the music worked together all progressing in the same direction to make the overall effect much more potent and expressive this kind of coordination is common to climactic moments of large pieces but just the pitch structure alone could never be as forceful since so much of the composer's work involves getting the dosage of accident in contrast just right at specific places in the music this approach can help to better control the final result and most important it allows for many gradations between 100% coordination most often seen in climaxes and endings just a little for a more subtle local effect

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