Tool #17: Augmentation and Diminution

Here's another post on (one of) my obsessions: motivic development.  So far I've talked about octave displacement and additive processes in this motivic development vein, so I'd like to add another tool to the list of ways to develop motivically: Augmentation/Diminution. This is a pretty simple technique.  It assumes that there is melodic or harmonic... Continue Reading →

Tool # 16: Letters Into Music

Some composers have names that correspond with musical letters.  Take B-A-C-H (B is Bb in German, and H is B natural in German), C-A-G-E, or the infamous initials of Dmitri Shostakovich: D-S-C-H (D-Eb-C-B in German).  The idea that one can take letters from names, initials, words, or anything else that is verbally organized is a... Continue Reading →

Tool #14: Planning

Why do we plan as composers?  Why do we even bother to make plans, in their multitudinous varieties of detail and scope?  In this post I'd like to examine 1.) Why we make plans, 2.) What makes a good plan, and 3.) What happens to a plan after it's created.  Let's get started. 1.) Why... Continue Reading →

Tool #13: Metric (Tempo) Modulation

Update: click to get to this post for a metric modulation calculator! Second update: check here for the new, easier-to-use calculator! Alright, let's tackle a rather hands-on technical tool.  Metric modulation (or more accurately, tempo modulation) is the shifting of the beat from one rhythmic value to another.  For example, simple metric modulations might change... Continue Reading →

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