Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

https://soundcloud.com/larya/sputnik-march

Sputnik was the first man-made satellite. Launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, it circled the earth for three months before reentry and burning up in earth's atmosphere. It was a golden sphere no bigger than a small beach ball, equipped with a radio transmitter.

It flit. It fluttered. It spit. It sputtered, but got the job done. The little satellite that could, started the space race that landed a man on the moon only 12 years later. I wonder why it was designed as a sphere. Perhaps they thought it would bounce off the atmosphere and catapult into space.

This piece is marked marcia giocoso, humorous march. Sputnik is featured as a little tin soldier. Originally, I wanted it to be in 11/8 time, but figured that the fast tempo would be conducted in four. It would be difficult to conduct three and two thirds beat, so it is in 12/8 time. Some ideas for the piece come from Holst's Mercury. Please comment.

 

Views: 111

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Say what?  L. A., the first couple a measures were intriguing , but then you

went carnival fantasique. Sputnik to me implies Russian. March implies

well... march. I am hearing neither.

The music can be anything you want it to be, but the title, well that's another issue. RS

Its a light sounding piece , but extremely heavy on orchestration from a cost outlook as you have divided some instruments you have 4 oboes 4 clarinets ok but 2 bass clarinets , when the regular clarinets are playing 2 flutes and a piccolo normally played by the second flute that has a part at the same time. The piece sounds nice but you might want to think through the performance cost issue if your hoping for a real  performance one day. My orchestration  teacher made me really aware of this problem so I want to pass on the info.

Regards Bob Forrest   

Rog,

     I guess only one of the two themes is a march, like you would hear at Carnival i.e. Marde Gras.  I'm poking a little fun at what was a toy satellite.  Hey, if they wanted it taken seriously why did they name it Sputnik (in German, Schputt Nicht.)  I make no attempt to sound Russian because it has to blend with the other Holstesque movements.  Actually Sputnik didn't burn up on re-entry.  It landed in my back yard.  We removed the antennas and use it as a beach ball.  Perhaps I will lose "march" from the title so as not to rile the comrades.
 
roger stancill said:

Say what?  L. A., the first couple a measures were intriguing , but then you

went carnival fantasique. Sputnik to me implies Russian. March implies

well... march. I am hearing neither.

The music can be anything you want it to be, but the title, well that's another issue. RS

Bob,

     Thanks for listening.  If this piece is performed alone I will tailor it to the orchestra, but the original intent is to have all seven movements played in order.  So far I have used, piccolo, 4 flutes, 4 oboes, 4 clarinets, 2 bass clar. 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones,  tuba, snare, timpani, bells, celeste, 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 celli, and 2 basses.  That seems like a standard symphony orchestra.   Hope someday to hear the whole orchestra.  We'll see.
 
Bob Forrest said:

Its a light sounding piece , but extremely heavy on orchestration from a cost outlook as you have divided some instruments you have 4 oboes 4 clarinets ok but 2 bass clarinets , when the regular clarinets are playing 2 flutes and a piccolo normally played by the second flute that has a part at the same time. The piece sounds nice but you might want to think through the performance cost issue if your hoping for a real  performance one day. My orchestration  teacher made me really aware of this problem so I want to pass on the info.

Regards Bob Forrest   

Close enough to 11/8 for my tastes - who's gonna quibble over a quaver.   Delightful piece! The humor and playfulness come through - I can easily imagine the cheerful little Sputnik making its rounds.  Also a fun score to read through.   Since I don't have a mathematical mind, my brain immediately screeched to a halt when I came to the triplets spread over six beats - but then I sorted it out.     Do you think that writing in an unusual meter is more limiting, or liberating?   I find that it is often both.  Incidentally, one of the Sputniks - Sputnik IV I believe - crashed to earth about 60 miles north of where I live.  A 20lb piece crashed into the middle of the main drag in the town of Manitowoc Wisconsin.  The piece is now on display in an art museum there. Thanks for posting!!  I hope you do get to hear these performed by a live orchestra some day.

T.T. 

     I spent some time trying to figure out how I would count the syncopated section at m.15 -19. If it were slow and in 12 it would be easy, but difficult when conducted in 4.  I guess you don't count that section, you just feel it. 

 Let's consider time signatures.  A rough estimation:  about 10% of music is in 2, 30% is in 3, 40% in 4 and 20% in 6. That means less than 1% is in 5,7,9,11,or 12.  Why?  Modern composers bend over backwards to write the most unusual, weird, and ear splitting music but never even consider an unusual meter.  I have one more piece in the Space Odyssey series then I'm going to explore alternative meters, with the purpose of making them mainstream. It's time for composers to unite and liberate music from the old tired tyranny of the 4/4 time signature.  It's time to write a signature piece on time signatures.
 
T.T. Gaudynski said:

Close enough to 11/8 for my tastes - who's gonna quibble over a quaver.   Delightful piece! The humor and playfulness come through - I can easily imagine the cheerful little Sputnik making its rounds.  Also a fun score to read through.   Since I don't have a mathematical mind, my brain immediately screeched to a halt when I came to the triplets spread over six beats - but then I sorted it out.     Do you think that writing in an unusual meter is more limiting, or liberating?   I find that it is often both.  Incidentally, one of the Sputniks - Sputnik IV I believe - crashed to earth about 60 miles north of where I live.  A 20lb piece crashed into the middle of the main drag in the town of Manitowoc Wisconsin.  The piece is now on display in an art museum there. Thanks for posting!!  I hope you do get to hear these performed by a live orchestra some day.

A worthy project.  Art is a reflection of life and life does not occur in 4/4 time.  One of my favorite little tricks is to switch the phrasing partway through a composition so that the meter becomes more or less irrelevant, and then bring it back into line.

The next step down the dangerous path of messing with meters, is of course to start messing with the complex tuplets.  Consider this little exercise.  Given my faulty mathematical wiring, theres no way I could even begin to sort these out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjbW1t0LYbE

Aha! Excellent point. How often does a piece begin in 4/4 and go to 3 or 6? Big deal. But how often does a piece begin in 4/4 and go to 5/8 or 7/8? Life does not always march forward in 4/4, or dance in 3/4 or flow in 6/8. Sometimes, or rather most of the time it is jerky. We use syncopation, rests, or sudden accents to mimic the uneven flow of life but why not make a dramatic change into 5/8? It should be standard fare in most compositions. And 5/8 doesn't have to be felt as kooky or off beat. I can imagine it in a slow movement or even as a dirge.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2017   Created by Chris Merritt.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service