Tag Archives: contemporary music

Linear Harmony #4 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading Pt. 2

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…the effect is fluid and free, almost like a composition is improvising with itself. I like this technique and I use it often. Thinking about strong lines and counterpoint first, and chords and harmonic movement second can make it all … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #3 – From Point A to Point B

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Let your counterpoint guide you and write from the top down. Don’t worry about chords until it sounds good. Think about the beginning and the end of the phrase and how you want to get from point A to point … Continue reading

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The First Jazz Composer?

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Claude Debussy? Discuss…. Professorscosco is worn out by the holidays, a burning, but very cold rooftop New Years jazz gig, and a long bike ride today, and is thus not inclined at the moment to pontificate about music theory. But … Continue reading

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Top Down #6: Melodic Motion–Space is the Place

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You can give your writing rhythmic tension by varying the “groove” under a melody, melodic line, or syncopated figure. You can also create space for counterlines and more music material under, after and around your melodic figures. This adds a … Continue reading

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Top-Down #5: More off the Grid

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When your phrases breathe and have some space, counterlines and background figures come more easily. When you write from the top, everything fits, because you decide how much space to allot each element, then you fill in the rest. When … Continue reading

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Both Sides Now: Two New/Old Releases on a New Label

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Two recordings I played on and co-produced are now available on iTunes; CDs are available through Hudson City Records. Northern Light is from 1991, and I’m still am trying to figure out why we waited two decades to put it … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #2–Cells and Solos

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Writing “free” notation in jazz for pitched instruments is a challenge. While rhythm section players are used to making up their parts (reading chord changes, following ensemble figures with rhythmic notation), there might be some head-scratching at the session in … Continue reading

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Amplified String Quartet? Really?

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I just mixed the piece I wrote for last April’s concert–“Effection” for amplified string quartet and three percussion. It’s an attempt at “Third Stream” music, combing some jazz elements in a modern classical setting. The musicians were cracker jack players, … Continue reading

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Lines Intertwining….

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(spoken in your best movie trailer voice:) In a world….full of hackneyed cultural references and tunes in D minor…, a composer seeks to break free. Free from the confines of the oppressive overlord…tonality…reality…How does a sailor lost at the sea … Continue reading

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