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This seems like a great forum to discuss composition techniques so I wonder if I can raise a discussion on composing for a small number of instruments.

 What do you think are the advantages and limitations of writing for small groups? How best can you express your musical ideas and harmony?

 I am interested specifically in composition for trio as I am working on a trio piece at the moment, and I am intrigued by the unique setting provided by three instruments.

 Does anybody have any suggestions of trio pieces that I could study?

 

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Hello everybody,

I thought you might like to hear the recording from the performance - the recording quality isn't great but it gives you an idea of the sound.

I've attached it here, it's on my page, and you can also listen to it on my soundcloud too. https://soundcloud.com/luci-holland

It was a piece for a short film so I will hopefully be putting the film up on my website soon.

As always any feedback is very appreciated! I hope you enjoy.

Cheers,

Luci

Attachments:

Thanks Raymond! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you for listening.

This worked out beautifully, Luci! Even though I hadn't posted in this thread earlier, I've been following it, and appreciate that you posted the performance. It is sparse enough to not compete with a film, and yet still very compelling and listenable on its own. I can't wait to hear with the film. :)

Small groups are harder to write for. But you need to remember some very important things for composing for these types of groups:

1. Melody- almost always the most important piece of the music. But don't make it such a big deal that you forget about everything else with the piece.

2. Countermelody (obbligato)- you need a countermelody or harmony with the melody or the bass line (upcoming). It needs to compliment the melody and bass line at the same time. In a larger piece of work, there may be as many ten countermelodies.

3. Phrasing- it is more important in a small ensemble than a large one. You need to phrase your melody in increments like 4, 6, 8, or 10 measures. More 4 and 8 than 10. Be sure to stick with it throughout the piece.

4. Bass line- YOU NEED THIS! It is very important. Without it, the entire piece just falls through the cracks and falls apart. Adding a bassline gives it more depth and changes it from being "2D" to "3D."

Hope these help and good luck with you composition!

~Taduhi N. Thetch (Ethan)

Sorry, I thought that the most recent comments were at the top. Right after I read it, I saw that she had posted something. I am sorry, I'll do a better job this time. This is just my first time on here, so I am new at this. I was mislead by thinking that the most recent comments were at the top in the thread. Sorry.



Raymond Kemp said:

Excuse me Ethan, but have you read through this thread. Are you coming into this forum thinking we are all brain dead?

Please go back and start again by doing a bit more reading and listening before sounding off. thanks!

Ethan Hitch said:

Small groups are harder to write for. But you need to remember some very important things for composing for these types of groups:

1. Melody- almost always the most important piece of the music. But don't make it such a big deal that you forget about everything else with the piece.

2. Countermelody (obbligato)- you need a countermelody or harmony with the melody or the bass line (upcoming). It needs to compliment the melody and bass line at the same time. In a larger piece of work, there may be as many ten countermelodies.

3. Phrasing- it is more important in a small ensemble than a large one. You need to phrase your melody in increments like 4, 6, 8, or 10 measures. More 4 and 8 than 10. Be sure to stick with it throughout the piece.

4. Bass line- YOU NEED THIS! It is very important. Without it, the entire piece just falls through the cracks and falls apart. Adding a bassline gives it more depth and changes it from being "2D" to "3D."

Hope these help and good luck with you composition!

~Taduhi N. Thetch (Ethan)

Oh my. Last three posts - priceless. Especially the first, innocent one.

Thank you for listening Janet! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it. I will certainly keep you posted when it is put up with the film. 

Janet Spangenberg said:

This worked out beautifully, Luci! Even though I hadn't posted in this thread earlier, I've been following it, and appreciate that you posted the performance. It is sparse enough to not compete with a film, and yet still very compelling and listenable on its own. I can't wait to hear with the film. :)

I've been a victim of the misread too Ethan, no worries. However please note that this thread isn't about basic composition elements. I was looking for more specific insight into the technique of writing for small groups of musicians - in this case a trio. Thank you for your input though and happy composers' forum-ing.

Ethan Hitch said:

Sorry, I thought that the most recent comments were at the top. Right after I read it, I saw that she had posted something. I am sorry, I'll do a better job this time. This is just my first time on here, so I am new at this. I was mislead by thinking that the most recent comments were at the top in the thread. Sorry.



Raymond Kemp said:

Excuse me Ethan, but have you read through this thread. Are you coming into this forum thinking we are all brain dead?

Please go back and start again by doing a bit more reading and listening before sounding off. thanks!

Ethan Hitch said:

Small groups are harder to write for. But you need to remember some very important things for composing for these types of groups:

1. Melody- almost always the most important piece of the music. But don't make it such a big deal that you forget about everything else with the piece.

2. Countermelody (obbligato)- you need a countermelody or harmony with the melody or the bass line (upcoming). It needs to compliment the melody and bass line at the same time. In a larger piece of work, there may be as many ten countermelodies.

3. Phrasing- it is more important in a small ensemble than a large one. You need to phrase your melody in increments like 4, 6, 8, or 10 measures. More 4 and 8 than 10. Be sure to stick with it throughout the piece.

4. Bass line- YOU NEED THIS! It is very important. Without it, the entire piece just falls through the cracks and falls apart. Adding a bassline gives it more depth and changes it from being "2D" to "3D."

Hope these help and good luck with you composition!

~Taduhi N. Thetch (Ethan)

Hello all,

So one last development: you can view the film with the piece here: http://composersforum.ning.com/video/weapons-by-luci-holland-at-red...

I hope you like!

Best,

Luci

Thanks for posting the final product! Unfortunately, this film and music felt mismatched to me. The music is great. The film? Not so much... On it's own, I'm not sure what the film was trying to convey, or what kind of music could help that along. What is the final purpose for the film?

It's quite hard to describe the film - but it's certainly not trying to convey a 'story' in conventional terms. It is more of an art documentary film, I guess. I believe the film was made as part of a set (there were several others at the performance) for the Red Note Ensemble, but it could be an older one brought out for the event.

I understand that the film isn't obvious in its intention immediately. This is actually something I struggled with when writing the score - as there is not much movement in the pulse of the film, it was difficult to find its beat and what way to go with the music, what to bring out. In the end though I felt that the film was conveying an energy and a life in itself. I decided to focus on enhancing the atmosphere, and I felt something nostalgic and human in the film, so I tried to bring that out. 

I had composed several (very different) scores for it before I settled on Blade. With each of the prior scores I felt I was missing something. With the writing in Blade, I felt I touched on the gentle observation in the film. 

Anyway, thanks for watching and commenting!

"Nostalgic" and "human" are things Blade reflects, for sure, so I'd say you've done a great job reaching your objective.

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