The Half of a Masters Degree
One week later than promised, but here it is…
My second semester project is complete, and my first year of graduate school is almost over. Quite a feeling, mixed feelings actually, but mostly consisting of happiness and contentment at the moment.
My project turned out a little shorter than I expected, and much shorter than I wanted, but I met the 10 minute minimum requirement of music for the semester. I am excited about that; it is the most music that I have ever produced in half a year! I am exceedingly proud of myself, but I also look at (and listen to) my fellow students’ work and immediately see how much I still have to learn.
It is hard for me to describe what I wrote this semester; I feel the need to explain the dances because each dance movement that I wrote is connected so much in my mind to it’s specific dance. But I’m going to try not to take up space with that, unless I really need to. If you want to know about each dance, please look them up; there’s plenty of information online and off. My music (the instrumentation that I chose), I very quickly found out, is unconventional for most Ballroom Dances. The usual music is more percussive and like pop music than my chosen medium of string quartet and piano (piano quintet). Therefore, my dance movements sound much different than typical Ballroom dance music. But I still attempted to capture the musical styles and techniques used in the typical music for each dance. Each of the five dance movements that I wrote will be recorded during my residency in August, and I will post them as soon as I can afterwards. Until then, I will try my best to describe the music.
Some (especially dancers) have asked why I chose the five dances that I did, since two of them are classified as “smooth” dances and the others are classified as “rhythm” dances (just as different in look, character, and music as their categories imply). I have two reasons. For four of the five dances, I had specific musical ideas in mind. In my dancing experience, I did not have any musical problem with “smooth” and “rhythm” dances being next to each other in a dance line up. And I wanted it to be a sort of line up, but more actually a “suite,” like it could be a little dance party in and of itself, like dance suites used to be, especially in the Baroque Period. So, I chose the dances and ordered them in the best way I thought possible, musically, rhythmically, and so as to not purposely fatigue the dancers. Consequently, the mix seems a little random, but I have thought it out and am happy with it. The order is Foxtrot, Samba, Rumba, Tango, and Waltz. Stay tuned for their descriptions.
Posted on July 23, 2012, in Performing Music, Uncategorized, Writing Music and tagged Audience, Ballroom, Blog, Composing, Composition, Dance, Graduate School, Homework, Masters, Music, Piano, Strings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.