Tool #10: Additive Processes


In this post I'd like to go back to an idea referenced in Tools #3 and #3.1: generating a list of techniques for motivic development.  One such technique is actually a technique with a large standalone reputation, especially in more modern/postmodern music.  This technique is the "additive process". Some pieces are additive processes alone.  Frederic Rzewski's …

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Tool #8: Artsjournal.com


Staying informed and active in the artistic community is a great tool for success professionally and artistically.  Part of this includes keeping current with the issues, happenings, trends, and opinions of our society nowadays.  So, today I'd like to introduce a cool online arts newspaper.  I first heard about it at The Hartt School in …

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Tool #7: The Pre-Apex Drop


Many composers, musicians, and music lovers enjoy the forms brought about through tension and release.  The thrill and excitement of creating emotions and drama, all building up to a climax that is then resolved is about as natural--and human--as it gets.  The theme of tension and release governs both the natural world and our lives.  In …

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Tool #6: Some Basics on Writing for Guitar


Guitar is one of the first frontiers for some composers, and one of the final frontiers for others.  Most of the people who write a lot for guitar (in my experience) play it or have studied it extensively.  Others have a hard time getting started, because it is so foreign to composers who don't play …

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Tool #5: Orchestrating Those Low Frequencies


After Tool #4's drier atmosphere, I figure it is time to return to more savory compositional topics.  I'd like to talk about muddiness, darkness, and low frequencies, particularly relating to low-frequency-producing instruments. As we orchestrate as part of composing, we often might want a clear, intelligible sound from our large ensemble writing.  (Unclear, unintelligible sound …

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Tool #4: Connecting Accounts Online


Here is a slightly more dry topic that applies to anyone looking to get their name out on the web.  I refer to it as "connecting accounts".  Here are some examples: My Twitter account knows what videos I've "liked" on YouTube and can @mention the creator of the video if he/she is on Twitter. My …

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Tool #3.1: Octave Displacement Follow-Up Post


Tool #3 covered a simple yet powerful tool to create motivic development: octave displacement.  It was suggested in one of the comments that I continue the discussion about this technique by delving into the psychoacoustic realm.  While I haven't studied psychoacoustics in earnest (no classes or reading of full articles/books), I found an interesting part …

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Tool #2: Converting MIDI to mp3 in Finale/iTunes


I know that mp3 files are hated among audiophiles because of their low quality audio, and especially since storage and file size is of little consequence in today's world of multi-gigabyte flash drive music players, fast internet, and many affordable external hard drives in excess of one terabyte of capacity. However, I often find the …

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