Kyle Grimm – Pitchforks and Crow’s Feet


Kyle Grimm's music spans the gamut of media and instrumentation.  A double bassist and dance collaborator, he also has experience working with ensembles and other performers.  This is evident in his work "Pitchforks and Crow's Feet". The score can be found here: Pitchforks and Crow's Feet for Flute, Cello, and Bass. This work relies heavily …

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Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie – Pole, Steam, Tree, Glass


Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie's work "Pole, Steam, Tree, Glass" is an inventive approach to timbre, idiomatic writing, a certain poetry, and the interaction of acoustic and electroacoustic approaches.  As he writes in his program notes in the score, "Program Note: In this collection of four short pieces, I contemplate questions about electroacoustic music, searching not necessarily for …

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Gísli Magnússon – Svartifoss


It seems more and more that Iceland is becoming a haven for new music and new sounds in Hartford, CT.  From the influence of Bjork to the Hartt School's international collaborations, the music of Iceland is seeping deeper into the Hartford area.  Gísli Magnússon's piece Svartifoss depicts a waterfall in his native Iceland, and is …

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Steven Maheu’s Elements of Creative Force – Part 5


Hi All, Here is another image from Steven Maheu's Elements of Creative Force.  This explains how different elements can be contrasting or complementary to one another. We use the relationships between each number and another number to define if the two numbers are contrasting, or complementary.  This only applies when using the same color.  (We …

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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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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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Tool #51: Writing for Voice: Understanding Singing


As part 2 in my series of posts about writing for voice, I would like to depart from the traditional model of outlining steps.  Yes, the first post was labeled "Step 1", but in a desire to not oversimplify things I will refrain from using further labeled steps, unless I decide to label a "Final …

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Tool #50: Writing for Voice – Step 1


Instrumental composition is hard.  It is rewarding, but challenging nonetheless.  Even harder (in my opinion) than instrumental composition is vocal composition.  Here I would like to start talking about writing for the voice, and focus on working with text first. Step 1: selecting the text to work with There are a few questions you will …

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Matthew Nunes: How to Write for Brass Band in Three Easy Steps


By Matthew Nunes As both a composer and performer the British brass band movement has been an inspiration. I had the privilege of substituting in a band for one year. The literature and musicianship astounded me. However, I have perceived a lack of interest in the medium among fellow composers. I feel as though it …

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Tool #34: Tips for fitting music to a specified time limit


I have been working on two projects that demand that I fit my music into a specified time length.  While one is a film trailer that requires precise timing, the other is an audiobook that requires less precise timing.  With the help of Logic I can manipulate beats and tempo for fitting music precisely for …

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Tool #21: Not Letting MIDI Fool You (and 10 Ways It Can)


There are many great virtual instrument libraries out there.  They can take old 80s synths for your violins and make them sound a million times better.  They and all other MIDI playback devices can bring life to a piece.  But, beware the MIDI.  It can provide you with a more realistic sound, but not a very …

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