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Showing posts from 2019

Scary Bedtime Songs: Scary Mary, Zombie John, and Slinking Spiders

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I recently took another job as an orchestra teacher.  Seeing how much people have liked the harmonic exercise minor version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" from a few years back, and knowing that my beginning orchestra would have a limited playing range, I decided to take the minor version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and orchestrate it for a beginning orchestra and a more advanced orchestra.

To do this, I placed the main melody in an "A" part for Violin, Viola, and Cello.  I then added harmony parts, Violin Part B, Viola and Violin Part C, Cello D, and Bass E.  To have this become a more "official" piece, I expanded out the structure of the piece so that it would be an ABA structure for the section.

Beyond that, I added two other movements using children's songs as the overall theme for a suite of songs, which I have called "Scary Bedtime Songs."  The first movement is Scary Mary, the 2nd is Zombie John (taking inspiration from Gustav …

Emotions Suite: "Warm and Calm" Creating the Atmosphere

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In order to show more about the compositional process, I wanted to spend some time taking readers though my thought process while writing the different pieces in the emotions suite.  For this article, I wanted to talk a bit about how I arrived at the decisions for different parts of the piece.  If you haven't had a chance to hear it yet, you can check out the video on my YouTube channel!!  (Shameless plug included today)



The first decision I made was on what kind of instrumentation I wanted.  I wanted this to have the feeling of a full orchestra with some percussion to give it a richer, more diverse, and more full sound.  So I created a Finale file that had all of the instruments I was likely to use and that I might use.

After that, I wanted to figure out what key area this should be in.  I felt that B-flat would have a warmer sound to it (no particular reason:  I just wanted B-flat).

After this came the more nitty gritty work:  how do I create my emotion?  I already had decided t…

New series of orchestral music: "Emotions Suite"

I've been hoping to stretch my composition skills and at the same time create a useful resource for others.  In order to do this, I've started a project to create a series of orchestral pieces that describing different emotions and moods.  I'm going to start making the MP3 files available on my new website, and these will eventually be put into the Unreal Engine Marketplace for game developers to be able to utilize.  Check out the video above (made using Unreal Engine and Blender) with some of this new music!

As I write these new pieces, I'll also describe some of my thought process for how I went about writing the pieces, and creating the feel.  Stay tuned for the next article about "Warm and Calm."