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Showing posts from November, 2013

Old Music

Being very critical of some of my older works, I haven't quite put up all of them onto this blog yet.  I decided recently, though, that I shouldn't be ashamed of my earlier attempts at composition, and will soon be adding some of these older works.  One I hope to put up pretty soon:  my first composition.  This was a string quartet written in three movements which I wrote when I was thirteen.

This and other works soon to be put under my composition list, ideally with links to listen to the music.

Blast from the Past

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I was looking through some of my old compositions and came upon a piano fantasy I started when I was 14:

Piano Fantasy No. 1:


Really fun to look back on these older works of mine and see what I was doing at 13, 14 and 15.  It's also nice to see the contrast between this and later works that are a little bit more developed.

On that note, I have put up some more piano music on Lulu.com, including this piano sonata.  It's now up for sale, so go check it out! :)

Two Piano Fantasies by Timothy Rohwer

Exploring the Rhythmic Palette

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In our palette of potential compositional "colors," we have many different choices on how to create a feel.  Today, I wanted to explore just how varying rhythms can change the feel of a piece, and to do this I have take a familiar song and added harmonies to it with varying rhythms to show how varying the underlying harmonic rhythms can change the color and feel of a piece.

First, let's look at a simple harmony underneath with slow rhythms:
Pretty simple harmony, and it ends up sounding more simple and laid back and kind of sweet and good natured:





So, what happens if we change the underlying rhythms?  Here's an eighth note version:



If you'll notice the harmonies in the left-hand, they are the same.  Even the same notes are used as from the previous example, but because the 8th notes contrast with the melody and are quick moving, it adds a much more up-beat feel to this simple melody.



What if we try a homophonic rhythmic texture?


Notice the different feeling with …

Brush Stroke and Palette of a Composition

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I have recently been trying to explain how it is that composers compose.  I've been using an analogy that I really like.

Essentially, composing is kind of like painting.  You start out with what you are hoping to convey and then you choose a medium, whether it is charcoal, watercolor, acrylics, etc.  You then select your colors and tools, and you start your art piece.  With each stroke of the brush (if that's what you end up using) you try to use your best judgement as to what will make the painting the beautiful and emotionally desired art work you have in your mind.
We do the same thing with composing:  I have different medium to convey my emotional message, whether full orchestra, rock band, chamber group, solo instrument, etc.  I can then choose how to start using my different coloring elements of key, time signature, harmonic progression, chord structure and voicing/spacing, rhythmic elements, melody, counter-melody, etc.  Then I start to take these elements and combine t…

Experimentation and Growth in Composing

I recently started writing small and simple works intended for use in video games and have realized some valuable things from this.  None of these are meant to be masterpieces or for profit in anyway, and it took the pressure off of me to just play around with different musical elements.  This has made me realize how powerful it can be to have a venue where you can experiment with an art form without fear of restrictions or a need to be "perfect."

The first thing I noticed while doing these compositions was that I felt more able to play with compositional elements I had been afraid beforehand to explore.  For example, in two rock-like compositions, I started using some different rhythmic devices I have never before tried to use.  One piece uses a different meter super-imposed in the drum set over the melody's meter.  The result was pretty satisfactory, but even if it hadn't turned out to be, I wouldn't have minded so much.  Another idea I played with were some di…

Unique source for Inspiration

I was at work this morning, and there was one of the loaders who had some music on.  I wasn't too thrilled with it (especially rap, which I have yet to be a fan of), but I started to hear some of the unique ways in which they used subtle, low bass notes to emphasize portions of what they were rapping about.  The first thing that I thought was how much goes into making quality music, and-whether I like the music or not-how much I can learn from all different kinds of music.
For example, I have been trying to write some music for video games and I take a lot of my inspiration for these from 80's techno styles and other rock sources.  The way many pop music artists construct their music is done in such a way to make it catchy and able to be listened to over and over again without people getting tired of it.  This is exactly what you need for music in games:  something people will like listening to again and again without thinking of it as annoying, and something catchy that they …