Tag Archives: Orchestration

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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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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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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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #1–Rhythmic Cells

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I’ve written a lot of ensemble music where my intention was to create an improvised texture, or a feel of rhythmic and melodic freedom—fully notated music that sounds non-metered and non-harmonic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. In many instances … 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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“Serious” Improvisation-Surfing the Third Stream

I’m writing a piece for string quartet and 3 percussionists. In this piece I want to have the players improvise in certain passages. This creates many challenges, not the least of which is how to notate improvisation. I’ve done this … Continue reading

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The Doctor is In

In an arrangement for my ensemble I performed a lot of surgery on Duke’s classic Solitude. I’ll provide an analysis and score and musical samples in my next post, but I wanted to give a little background on the technique … Continue reading

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Steal this Score

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To follow-up on my post about Gil Evans’ piece Blues for Pablo (Blues for Pablo True to Form),  I confess I’m guilty of petty theft. In a few bars of a new piece, Gaslight, which I performed with my Tentet … 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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