Why I didn’t finish tonight’s post… and will post it tomorrow


I had a concert of Hartt composer works to attend, which was fantastic.  Every work was so different and fascinating.  My piece, "pixelated obsidian", seemed to go fine, but there were some real gems in this concert. It makes me wonder if I should compile a list of Hartt composer pieces into a playlist.  Perhaps …

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Meaning in Mahler Symphony No. 1 (Part 3)


(Chart referenced in this post) Meaning in Symphony No. 1 Titles and Program As we see in the chart taken from Mitchell’s writings, the original title of the symphony was “Symphonic Poem” in two parts. Parts I and II were indicated, but not explicitly titled. The other movements were given brief titles. We know that …

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Meaning in Mahler Symphony No. 1 (Part 2)


(Chart referenced in this post) Compositional History of Symphony No. 1 Most sources agree that Mahler wrote the majority of this symphony between January 20, 1888 and the end of March that year.[1] At this time, Mahler was a proponent of creating music based on building blocks—arranging and rearranging structures (especially pre-existing ones) to create …

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Help music and dance students afford high-quality arts education


Hi All, This being Giving Tuesday and all, I would like to speak about something at my job that I am proud of. The Hartt Community Division's mission is: Enriching lives through innovative and unparalleled performing arts education The aspect of pride I wish to discuss is our Fund For Access (FFA).  This is a need-based …

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Meaning in Mahler Symphony No. 1 (Part 1)


(Chart referenced in this post) Introduction Gustav Mahler is recognized as one of the greatest composers for the symphony orchestra, taking command of that medium during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His remarkable talent for orchestration and his innovative approach to form make his music inextricably linked to the development of orchestral composition …

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Tidy, or messy? What is your workspace like? (Tool #57)


Two days ago, my fiance and I cleaned our entire apartment.  We don't own an electric vacuum, and rely on a manual sweeper to do the job.  However, we borrowed a vacuum and today found out just how much dust and pet dander we were living in over the past two days (and, assuming our …

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Writing for Film – Demo Reel (Tool #56)


For many of us, writing for film is a dream come true.  Admittedly, it is not my dream, but it is something I enjoy doing.  With today's proliferation of video online, there are many opportunities for new film composers to sharpen their chops before landing a big project.  I have provided music for sections of …

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What to do when you don’t have any motivation to write or compose (Tool #54)


When I examine the current election cycle, I find it easy to fall into a pit of pessimism.  I see a lot of suffering, and not much willingness to listen.  I feel disillusioned by the current state of affairs in which we live, and I become depressed. What do I do, in these times when …

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Using Voice Recordings in the Compositional Process (Tool #53)


Each one of us has a different compositional process, and for many of us, the compositional process varies widely.  Sometimes I write the entire composition out on large, 11x17 manuscript paper.  Sometimes I sketch a bit of music in a notebook, and then move to a computer.  I also enjoy drawing images, or graphing my …

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Metallica vs. Thank You Scientist: two 2016 releases


(Written on 11/18/16, for next-day publication.) Metallica released their newest album, Hardwired... To Self-Destruct today.  I listened to it while doing solitary work at the office.  I also resumed my listening to my partially started indulgence in another band's recent release: Thank You Scientist's 2016  release Stranger Heads Prevail.  It is my goal to review …

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Why is listening so important? (Tool #52)


As one can see, I have started to diversify the blog's posts to include things I'm listening to, as well as analysis and reviews.  One may wonder why this change has shifted, and so here is my rationale: My horizons have been way too slim.  I have been operating in a relative vacuum compared to …

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Album Review: Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II


Vanden Plas's album Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II has been playing in my head for almost exactly one year, and I finally have decided to expose it to my readers who may not know it, even though it is over one year old. (Can you tell I have been itching to write about metal, …

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Political, or non-political? What role(s) does your music play?


Every musical decision is inherently political, no matter the composer's intent.  One of my old blog posts notes this.  Every note you place is a hierarchy of who (or what) plays what, when, how, in what relation to other things, in relation to the instrument's musical tradition, in relation to the cultural significance of the …

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Super Economy of Means in Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Crucify” (Part 2)


Formal Economy It is apparent from my previous post that Yngwie Malmsteen's sound world is one of repetition and sparse, but effective, gestures and sonorities.  Here I will expand on this to note the formal economy in his "Crucify". The opening riff is played 2 times with drum and bass introduction, and then looped 4 …

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Super Economy of Means in Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Crucify” (Part 1)


Part 1: Introduction/Economy https://youtu.be/BcET-Ota1MQ Yngwie Malmsteen, acclaimed Swedish heavy metal shredder, is credited with the creation (or at least elevation) of neoclassical metal.  Yngwie (pronounced EENG-vay) sports a Fender Stratocaster, modeled to his own specifications, most notably a scalloped fretboard for his playing style, and the retention of three single-coil pickups instead of humbuckers, which …

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What does being a musician in the Trump era hold?


This is the 100th blog post (woohoo!) on Composer's Toolbox, and for this, I would like to ask a question: What does being a musician in the Trump era hold?  What challenges, opportunities, and surprises await us?  I encourage you to chime in by commenting on this, as many things are uncertain with this shift …

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