The Wu

wu.jpg

Contraltos complain that the only roles composed for them are Bitches, Witches and Britches. Years ago, on hearing that one must have a Mozart aria for audition purposes i looked up a Mozart aria database for something suitable. After scrolling past the many pages of soprano arias, and then the pages of mezzo arias, I arrived at the single page, and uh single entry for the contralto arias written by Mozart. And it wasn’t the genuine article at any rate, it was composed for castrato. Why don't composers write more works for low ladies?
It's been slowly dawning on me that I compose and have the instrument at hand to work with, so maybe I could stop complaining and write some work for contraltos.

This thought brings me back to a work I abandoned a few years ago - THE DAY - a sort of Taoist oratorio drawing on stunning ancient Chinese poetry. I shelved it after I made the regrettable decision to go back to uni to pursue composing studies, where I had been working on this piece. Originally, based on my supervisor's advice, I had scored the important female role in this work for Soprano. The Wu, a Chinese, female rainmaker. Basically a shamanness archetype who can summon the rain amongst other talents including ‘sight'.
It's taken me a few years to shake off the feelings i had around uni and this work - the deep frustrations of being unable to articulate and justify my instincts with words, to my lecturers. I certainly have taken my musical education seriously, but many of my compositional ideas are instinctive, and based on soundfeel and because I sing as I write - mouthfeel. I found I couldn’t translate this to words when called upon (and this is a perfectly reasonable expectation of a university supervisor) to discuss what I was writing and why. I just got tongue tied and miserable, depressed about the suggestions and alterations my lecturers offered.
Any way, that seems sufficiently long ago for me to come back to this work and follow my own instincts. Onee of my ideas is that The Wu could be for a low voice. What I'm going to do to come back to writing the work, is focus on her songs and create a stand alone song cycle.
Here's a sketch of her telling the humans to "go walking." I pulled it out yesterday to start thinking about.


Dance Of Darkness

I've spent more time on this 5 minute anthem than I spent on the 45 minute wine and cheese cantata. It’s finally finished. It’s been hard work and a lot of revision. The move I suspect, has disrupted my instincts. Still, whether it's the high road of inspiration or the low road of deliberate craft and much redrafting is irrelevant to an audience. Because I’m writing the anthem set in Egypt, I based the piece in Dorian mode, which apparently appealed to ancient Egyptians because it has the same tone/semitone pattern ascending and descending. It was good to explore dorian for a choir ie harmonically. The progression of chord III to IV to V (with a raised leading note) has three major chords, a tone away from each other. Which makes for a bright sentence! I’ll be able to share it with you after it’s premiered in December.

In the meantime, I have also been working on a poem in response to a stunning dance company's work on the stories of people from Fukushima and their experience of the 2011 tsunami. It felt similarly hard to write about, I was collecting more and more pages of notes and snippets. But the emotion is too big to try on - to write from inside - it's too much. Thankfully the muse turned up and said the beauty of the dance came from reporting the facts. Just be matter of fact. Hopefully that'll work for the anthem too.

Dance Of Darkness.jpg




Daughters Of Rachel

aaa downtown church.jpg

The Magnificat! What a text. It makes you think there was a lot more to Mary than meekness and mildness!

I am writing a piece for Downtown Presbyterian Church’s Lessons and Carols. Because the church has this stunning Egyptian Revival Architecture I was inspired to write about when the Holy Family fled to Egypt, escaping the massacre of the innocents.

How was it for Mary, hiding in a cave, holding on to her baby? Was she haunted by the thought of the mothers who were left behind? Did their cries come to her in her sleep? If Rachel wept from the dead, surely her voice travelled to Egypt?

We don’t have a car in the US yet, so I’m walking a lot. I walked for days thinking about Mary and the Magnificat. This experience of being a refuge in a cave with a baby, and she was only a girl herself! How this must have stealed her mind to the way she would raise her son.

I have been thinking about what writing an anthem means. Anthems are sung by church choirs. Often competent readers and singers. Maybe drawn from the congregation, maybe paid singers, likely a mixture of both. Church choirs are working choirs. They have a performance each week so there just isn’t a great deal of time for rehearsal. Anthems need to be written with this in mind. I have found it hard to put into words what this means exactly, but it basically requires that the song doesn’t have features that take getting used to, to sing well. Exotic chord changes that work because during rehearsal you get the feel for how the harmony sounds as a whole. That’s a brave move for an anthem. Or phrase shaping that relies on singers really knowing the piece. I was describing this to Emlyn - and he was saying that like Shakespeare, I need to write with no subtext! That is a good way to describe it, and it’s quite different from writing for community choirs - anthems will be read, by good readers. I’ve found this quite challenging to be honest. It’s a new angle.

The music has been hard. One by one I’ve been disgarding the ideas I started with, as the song has slowly emerged. This has taken some time. I have been working on this piece for weeks, and have only started to feel like it was going to work, two days ago. It started in 6/8 and felt crowded and rushed. I put it in 6/4. Normally I prefer the softness of note seven a tone below the tonic, but I had to face that this was getting oppressive and perhaps a major chord V was going to bring some welome light to the piece. The tune I started with wasn’t working - it didn’t translate to a choral setting - so I threw half of that away yesterday. And now the 6/4 doesn’t always allow the singers to express the words, so that has gone too. The more I’ve given away of what I originally wanted, the better the piece is working. But it’s been a wrestle. Every time this happens, which honestly is most times I create anything, I wonder - have I peaked? is it all down hill from here? Maybe. One day. I’ll reserve judgement til I finish this one, but I think I’m still ok.

Now I need to go over every part with a fine tooth comb to make sure each part is good to sing, and good to sightsing. I have one thought I wanted to share on this. In my experience when a note that is suddenly sharpened a semitone as part of some harmonic movement, it is easier for singers to pitch if they descend to the new note. Rising to a recently sharpened note is harder and likely to be flat or insecure. For example, a tierce de picardie moment will be easier for the folks singing the brightened, major third to find it by falling a semitone. Hmmm. Maybe this isn’t such a good example because singers tend to know and recognise this harmonic movement and will be secure whatever you do, but if there are other places with sharpened notes, I think it will be easier for singers to fall to them, when they come across them for the first time in a piece.

The Crossing Point

va_nielsen_east_of_the_sun_press_02811_155_1508171627_id_988922.jpg

Along with our move from Australia to the US, I guess it’s not a surprise that my life is changing in some significant ways. We have come here partly for Emlyn’s job, partly for an adventure, and partly for me to have some space and time to consider what to do next and how to set about doing it. At any rate, I don’t have permission to work in the US yet. It takes about six months to process, so I am having an enforced retreat.

I have left teaching students and choirs behind. I miss this work, but my voice doesn’t seem to have the stamina it had before the surgery - last year my voice was worn out by teaching during the day, and my singing, initially feeling easy and exciting after the surgery, got harder and more miserable as the year went on. So leaving that work was a wise thing to do.

I’ve been teaching and conducting for many years now, it’s been a big part of who I am, so the space is big.

Not to mention when we moved, we left our children behind. Somehow they grew up and became adults and despite the impossibility of this, it has happened. So there’s that space too.

Because I’m not directing community choirs, I am not composing as a part of this. So this blog as it currently stands, where each week I share pieces I’ve written for the choirs I’m working with doesn’t relate to my life. I’m not whipping up arrangements and short pieces. I’ve run out of back log too, I’ve shared with you what I have to share! I’ve been wondering about whether to just gently close this blog down.

But then, this blog has been part of an important transition for me over the last few years. Where I slowly became aware of a huge pivot - where the writing I have always done as a sort of adjunct to teaching and conducting, often literally squeezed into the gaps between lessons, has become the main focus of work.

One of my challenges has been pondering how to do this - how to become a composer at large. I wondered if I should go back to uni. Partly to address gaps in my knowledge and skills. (I’ve no idea what they might be because if I had the knowledge to identify what they were, I wouldn’t have them.) And partly for opportunities, connections, and immersion in a musical community. Emlyn was quite disparaging of this idea. He said something along the lines of “I know your work, I listen to it every day. You’re going to have to trust me on this. You are a composer not a composition student.” There was a lot more but you get the jist. Then I read advice from Eric Whitacre on how to become a composer and he said find a choir that will sing your work and take notice of everything they like and don’t like, find hard, find easy etc. Well I’ve done that for twenty years. So I guess I can cross that off the list too.

Beyond this, I’m not sure. Yet.

What I have got is a room of my own to write it. A QUIET and rather lovely room. In two weeks it will have a piano in it. And I have a pile of projects. Works started and not finished for various reasons, from sketches to works that have been workshopped even performed, and need final tweaks, all waiting for “I’ll get to this when I have time”. I have a sense of purpose, an underlying drive with my writing. A life filled with singing and singers means I am saturated with song. The challenge isn’t scratching around desperately looking for musical ideas, it’s sorting through all of the jumbled options and teasing out single threads to work with. I also believe the canon of vocal works needs female librettists to round out the full human stories, and I have much work to do to develop as a librettist.

There is work. It will be different. Rather than close this blog down, I will keep sharing my work with you, but it will be a different style of sharing. I will share the process, checking in weekly on where I’m up to. Now that’s not what you initially came here for, so if you unsubscribe, well fair enough! And if you wish to stay and follow my adventures, next up my work begins on the Holy Family hiding from Herod in Egypt.



Sacred Songs

angel with harp.jpg
 

This week a summary of the sacred choral pieces I’ve written. Organised into four categories- Very Simple, Medium, Sophisticated and Christmas. I’ve included recordings where I have them, of various quality and level of rehearsal! If you perform any of my works and record it, I will happily share it here.

Very Simple

These two pieces are from the book Singing The Dots and are designed to be accessible for community choirs.

An Irish Blessing
SATB

 
 

Psalm 23
SATB

 
 

Medium Challenge

These are three gospel pieces arranged for acappella choir.

Michael Row
SATB with Soprano Solo

 

Balm Of Gilead
SSATB with Solo

 
 

This Train
SATB with divisi in every part

 
 

Sophisticated

These two works have divisi in every part.

Prayer For Sanctuary
setting of Psalm 23

 
 

Gloria
setting of the latin Gloria from the Ordinary Mass

 
 

Christmas

Still Still Still
SA - simple setting of An Austrian Carol

 
 

Mary Had A Baby
SATB - simple arrangement of a traditional gospel piece

 

Rolling Downwards
SSA - simple arrangement of a Southern Baptist Carol

 

A Child Is Born
SATB - Medium - arrangement of a medieval carol

 

The Nativity
a 15 minute work with ten small sections
Medium -SATB with some divisi and solos and piano accompaniment

 

The Nativity

nativity.jpg

Last year I dusted off this Christmas work which I'd first written about 10 years ago. I rewrote it in sections, and whisked it off to my choir while the ink was still drying so we could learn the work in time for our Christmas concert. I shared it here,  published as five discreet parts. My lovely choir Voices In The WIlderness sang it at the last concert we did together. In fact it was the last concert I conducted. Funny how things change, after directing happily for hmmm somewhere between fifteen and twenty years, I don't know if conducting is in my future. It's been a gradual shift in my heart. I am still as passionately committed to choirs, and what singing with others means for us as humans, but my sense of where I want to put my energy has slowly changed. 

Anyway, I've spent the last week putting the pieces all together, smoothing out the transitions and tweaking little bits here and there. And here it is. We are staying in an apartment temporarily, where I don't want to make a lot of noise and annoy my neighbours. I also don't have a piano and I tend to write piano accompaniments at the piano, my fingers feel what goes. So I've been playing the air piano to write bits. 

This piece goes for about fifteen minutes. It's middle level complexity. When I first wrote it I was conducting a choir who liked to sing medleys, so it's in that style, with ten small sections. This means if you have multiple ensembles this would be a piece everyone could do together, allowing different groups to take different sections. 

And here's a rinky tinky Sibelius version of what it sounds like.

Songs From The Shed

loo vyoo.jpg

Well I don't know what sort of fancy shmancy recording studios you record in.  To record the songs for the sightsinging book Singing The Dots, Emlyn and I were joined by Australian Soprano Bethany Hill, and Tenor Hew Wagner, for the most rustic recording session of my life. We ferried to Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia for a camping weekend with Beth's boy's fam and friends. During daylight, we recorded in an unpowered tin shed using a single battery powered H2N. To give you an idea of the rusticness of our recording situation, the photo on the left is the view from the outdoor facilities. 

IMAG0439.jpg
IMAG0437.jpg

I'll give you a sample here - Break Break Break, a setting of a beautiful poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.This song  introduces quavers. The main tune is just do, re and mi. All seventeen tracks,  recorded in a weekend, in a shed, and the books with the sheet music and teaching notes are available here.

 

 

.

10 000 Miles On A Fish

i believe in nashville.jpg

We did it! We travelled 10 000 miles on a fish!

And now here we are in Nashville Tennessee.

I found this picture just off 12 Street South. I often see people snapping it. 

I've got two updates for you plus a new song.

 

Wine And Cheese Cantata

Firstly - before we left , I grabbed some opera buddies, and we had a bash through the Wine And Cheese Cantata. It was a roaring success, and Emlyn's brie was the star of the show. It truely was Gooey Superb!! The cantata worked well, and it was, as I'd hoped, totally singable. After we did it, I did make a few adjustments. The three male characters - the Cheesemaker, the Winepairer and the Judge are all scored for baritones, because, as you know, they tend to be findable. But I thought when we sang through it, having the three voices close in Fach meant the texture of the work wasn't as varied as it could be, and the music didn't help define the characters. I've tried to keep the parts in a baritone range, but I've given the Cheesemaker a more tenorial feel. Similarly I've made the Judge feel bassier. The other changes I made were to smooth a few transitions between sections so directors and singers can be clearer about time signature changes.

Prayer For Sanctuary

Secondly - a few things about this piece have been niggling in the back of my mind for a while. The top and tail really! I have simplified the first verse, pruned it back. I also realised the climactic moment of the piece - the Victory Verse - was only half a bar long. That's out of proportion for a piece that's around seven minutes long. So I worked into and expanded that and feel much happier with the balance of the work now, I think it will be more satisfying for singers and listeners. I've got a recording of the way it was before I made these changes. Hopefully I'll find a way to record the updated version here in Tennessee.

The Parting Glass

This one is a tribute to the darling humans I've left home in Australia. My heart has been reminding me that leaving loved ones is a tough thing to do. Certainly this song helps. You know sometimes I like to get in there and really compose, and sometimes, with a song like this, I just transcribe the simplest version of the harmony. This song is so very simple and its beauty is in that simplicity, I didn't want to do anything other than write out what any good bunch of folk singers would get together and instinctively do. The tenor line divisi comes from having female tenors in the tenor section who didn't like to sing too high. So for my community choir, the female tenors actually sang the second tenor line.  But the first tenor line could be given instead to altos 2s, if you don't want to divide your tenor section. Finishing on chord IV is from The Wailin Jennys and it's a killer eh? Who wants to say goodbye on I? IV means we'll meet again!!

 

 

 

Backson

announcement.jpg

We are packing our pot on a stick, jumping on our fish and heading off, moving from Adelaide Australia to Nashville Tennesse. Emlyn (husband/baritone/IT guy) has a job opportunity there and we are off.

I'm a bit distracted winding things down here and wondering about Nashville life - not a big country music girl but google says the city is alive with many different musical genres - so I'm going to sign off for a month or so and see you on on the flip side!

Wine And Cheese Cantata - Its Done. Booyah!!!

 
Wine and Cheese title page_0001.png
 

oh yeah. yeah. yeah. yeah.

So Bach can write a cantata in one week and it has taken me six but I did also write the libretto so you know, there's that. And Bright Spark #3 is a beat poet. There's that too!

Ok. The sheet music:

And some rehearsal tracks. The full mix might be most useful for the soloists.
 

1. Blessed Are The Cheese Makers    0’0
2. Curds In A Mold    1’31
3. The Brie Fanfare    3’07
4. The Cheese Is Complete    3’17
5. The Company Yums In Chorus    4’34
6. The Wine Pairer interrupts Proceedings    5’23
7. The Company Resolutely and Desolately Agrees    7’32
8.  Everyone Seems Much Happier With An Onerous Task    8’44
9. And So To The Judge    10’44
10. The Candidates Are Summoned    12’32
11. Fruity Merlot   13’08
12. The Judge's Premature Ruling    15’20
13. Bright Spark #1 Earns Their Name    15’41
14 Judge And Company Summon The Second Candidate    16’59
15. The Lovely Chardonnay    17’14
16. Bright Spark #2 Rejects The Dichotomy     20’18
17. Judge Is Awake Now, If He Even Was Asleep    21’54
18. Champagne    22’15
19. The Company Reflects On The Options     24’58
20. Despair Descends    25’30
21.  The Extraordinay Proposal Of Bright Spark #3     28’21
22.  Joyous Outpouring Of Delirium And One Niggling Doubt     30’22
23.  The Benevolent Magnificence Of  The Judge's Final Ruling     31
23.5 Joyous Outpouring Continues As Various Folks Weigh In      32’36

Last week I included an alternative solo for Champagne, because the original is quite stratospheric.

Wine And Cheese - the 25 minute mark

wine and cheese painting.jpg

So much for writing a Cantata in a week!! Last night somebody suggested Bach managed his extraordinary schedule because he had 22 children. It's obvious when you think about it eh? I only have 2, and one doesn't even live here any more. How could I possibly expect to write a cantata in a week with such meagre progeny? (Lovely quality but low in numbers.)

It's been five weeks and we're up to 25 minutes. I'm putting the whole thing up from the beginning. You'll notice Champagne's song is composed for someone stratospheric. I have one of those people in my life but they are rare. So down the bottom you can find an alternate version without quite so many ledger lines.

Rehearsal Tracks

For the rehearsal tracks, I've included a general mix, as well as mixes with each of the parts boosted. The general mix may be usefulest for the soloists.

The approximate times on the tracks for the different songs are:
1. Blessed Are The Cheese Makers   0’0
2. Curds In A Mold     1’31
3. The Brie Fanfare    3’07
4. The Cheese Is Complete    3’17
5. The Company Yums In Chorus    4’34
6. The Wine Pairer interrupts Proceedings    5’23
7. The Company Resolutely and Desolately Agrees    7’32
8.  Everyone Seems Much Happier With An Onerous Task    8’44
9. And So To The Judge    10’44
10. The Candidates Are Summoned    12’32
11 Fruity Merlot    13’08
12. The Judge's Premature Ruling    15’20
13. Bright Spark #1 Rejects The Dichotomy    15’41
14 Judge And Company Summon The Second Candidate    16’59
15. The Lovely Chardonnay    17’14
16. Bright Spark #2 Earns Their Name    20’18
17. Judge Is Awake Now, If He Even Was Asleep    21’54
18. Champagne    22’15

Alternate Champagne

 

 

 

 

wine and cheese cantata - so far!

cheese and wine painting.jpg

I really want you to have a chance to listen to the piece so far. The full work will be about 25mins, and this is 15 mins. So two more installments and we'll be there! I just listened to it and really wanted to share.

I'm not trying to change the world with this piece - just write something that will be great fun to sing! But it's turning out to be a little gem. Woohoo.

I've added a few bars of silence in the winepairer's solo, so the poor fellow (and his audience) can catch their breath. This means if you have printed out previous instalments, you may need to find a way to cope as your bar numbers after this insertion will now be out. All part of the joy of being involved in the process!!

Go on. Pour yourself a Merlot and have a listen!!!!

Non Verbal Scaffolding

clown.jpg

A break this week from the wine and cheese cantata cause I've reached the difficult third section and tripping over myself - the notes want one thing, the words want another, the larger piece a third. I have learnt these things are surmountable and can lead to lovely results, but not yet my friend, not yet. 

A little while ago, I shared some sheet music for the rockin thirteenth century piece Alle Psallite with more sophisticated parts here. This week a very bright and committed young teacher asked me for some thoughts on running short workshops on singing. This sort of thing comes up eh? You get asked to run a little singing or choir workshop for beginners and maybe you've got an hour, and you want everyone to have fun, walk away with a feeling of mastery and accomplishment, and learn a useful idea or two about healthy technique. The big challenge here is repertoire! There's nothing boringer than note bashing and for a short workshop it's a total sapper of valuable time and enthusiasm. The more you can dispense with sheet music the better too. When I prepare for these sorts of workshops I think through what repertoire I can select and how I can teach it without sheet music and with minimal note bashing.  A tenant of Kodaly philosophy is to use non verbal communication to maximize the amount of time everyone is making music -at uni we had a prac where we had to teach the class a song without talking. To prepare a workshop I plan and rehearse non verbal scaffolding to help my singers pick things up quickly. I made a short video to show this. I'm pleased to say it's about three minutes long! If I tried to teach this song by note bashing with sheet music, it would take hmm ten times as long! 

the continuing saga of the cheese maker - wine and cheese cantata part 2

June17_Pieter_Bruegel972x737.jpg

this is the second part of the Wine And Cheese Cantata. Sheet Music and rehearsal tracks for part one can be found here

This is a silly work - I'm writing it with the simple agenda of being great fun to throw together and sing.

In this week's section we meet the Wine Pairer. who I imagine is a nervous fastidious person who cares very deeply that things are done the right way - particularly when it comes to pairing wine. 

And some rehearsal tracks for y'all

The piece starts with a solo for the wine pairer.

And then moves to rousing chorus work.

Blessed Are The CheeseMakers - second post

6.  final songs.jpg

As we were drinking wine and eating cheese, one of my dear friends with one of my favourite voices to write for/with asked if I'd write a cheese work. Given my darling husband's brie is ripening in the fridge as we speak, I was inspired to write a brie work. I think we'll call it a Cantata, and expect it to take about 20 minutes. Check out last week's post for the libretto and character list.

Now Bach banged out a cantata a week, in between all the other shit he was writing, so I think it's important to respect the tradition of writing cantatas as quickly as one is able. I didn't write the whole work this week, but I did make a respectable beginning. Here's part one. 

And here's my computer's idea of what it might sound like

And some rehearsal tracks for the keen folks:

Blessed Are The CheeseMakers

blessed are the cheesemakers.jpg

My next project is to write a bit of fun and nonsense about wine and cheese. My darling husband's brie will be ripe soon and I think a musical work is called for.

I've finished the libretto - so that's today's offering. I might start on the choruses so we'll see what we can get to you by next week.

Cast
Cheesemaker
Wine Pairer
Judge Most Imperious
Fruity Merlot
Chardonnay
Champagne
Bright Spark #1
Bright Spark #2
Bright Spark #3

 

COMPANY
Cheesemaker. Cheesemaker. Cheesemaker. Cheesemaker.
Let us see, let us see. How did you make brie?

CHEESEMAKER
Curds in a mold. Stored in the cold.
Til they went crusty. Til they went musty.

COMPANY
Curds in a mold. Stored in the cold.
Til they went crusty. Til they went musty.

CHEESEMAKER
The cheese is complete. And ready to eat.
Gooey, superb, and ready to serve.

COMPANY
Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum Give us some. Give us some. Give -  us - some.
Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum Give us some. Give us some. Give - us - some.

WINE PAIRER
Proceedings must cease. Do not eat the bries
Are you barbaric or just puritanic?
You have no pairing, no flavour matched sharing.
I insist and decree, before you eat brie
You must first secure a sore grape liquor:
A complement fine of mellifluous wine.

COMPANY
Most agreed. We concede. We adhere,

WINE PAIRER
Now draw near!
Your task is most onerous. Your burden is great.
To find wine harmonious, to find brie’s true mate.

COMPANY
Our task is most onerous. Our burden is great
To find wine harmonious, to find brie’s true mate.

CHEESEMAKER
This is more cultured than milk in a vat.

WINE PAIRER
A judge most imperious will sure help with that.

COMPANY
This is more cultured than milk in a vat.
A judge most imperious will sure help with that.

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
I can indeed arbitrate all things good and fine
I will now administrate selecting of wine.
Bring forth the candidates. Come here! Form a line.
Then I can speculate which one truly shines.
First Candidate. Put forward your case.

FRUITY MERLOT
I’m fruity merlot, with spice you can savour
I’m plump and full bodied, with soft flirty flavour.

COMPANY
She sounds divine. Merlot is our wine.
Merlot it must be, to drink with our brie.

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
It seems the vox populi speaks with one voice.
So I must align with the people’s first choice.
My ruling is merlot!

BRIGHT SPARK #1
We can’t decide yet.
Let her sit furlough, while others we vet.

COMPANY
Don’t drink the merlot! We can’t decide yet.
Let her sit furlough, while others we vet.

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
Ah yes well. Harrumph harrumph harrumph
Second candidate. Come forth and explain.

CHARDONNAY
I’m a white Chardonnay. All peaches and cream
And nuanced oak tones, a splendid brie team.

COMPANY
She sounds quite perfect but so does Merlot
Oh such wine conflict! We simply don’t know.

BRIGHT SPARK #2
Reject the dichotomy. We still have an option three.

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
Indeed and well said. Third candidate. Step forth and speak out.

CHAMPAGNE
I’m filled up with bubbles and giggles and fun.
I’m the life of the party, you know I’m the one.

COMPANY
We do like to party with bubbly fun wine.
But Merlot’s so arty and Chardonnay’s fine.
Now our heads hurt and our spirits are low.
We’re dumb and inert cause we simply don’t know.

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
What a disaster. What a cruel fate.
Without a clear winner I must legislate:
Leave us cheese master. Remove the cheese plate.
There’ll be no more laughter. I’ve cancelled this date.

COMPANY
What a disaster. What a cruel fate.
Without a clear winner he must legislate:
Leave us cheese master. Remove the cheese plate.
There’ll be no more laughter. He’s cancelled this date.

BRIGHT SPARK #3
May I interject? May I intercede?
I’ve found, I suspect, a way to get bried.
If you can’t choose one wine to pair with this brie,
The problem is simple, why not drink all three?

COMPANY
If we can’t choose one wine to pair with this brie
The problem is simple, why not drink all three?
With joy we’re delirious. But judge most imperious
What do you think of this triple paired drink?

JUDGE MOST IMPERIOUS
Reject the monotony of wine/brie monogamy.
Refuse the dyadic. Drink wine in triadic.
My judgement is final. My judgement is clear.
The best wine with brie, is all of them here.

COMPANY
Reject the monotony of wine/brie monogamy.
Refuse the dyadic. Drink wine in triadic.
His judgement is final. His judgement is clear.
The best wine with brie, is all of them here.

CHEESEMAKER
Yar yar yar yar

WINE PAIRER
The best wine with brie Is all of them here.

THE THREE WINES
The best wine with brie is all of us here.

COMPANY
The best wine with brie is all of them here.
Good night and good cheer.

creating a melody using AABA form

blueprint.jpg

I've been  sooking in bed today, feeling a bit poorly, watching project runway on netflix. I have a total lack of interest in fashion, but I've been quite excited by the thoughts and language used in clothing design. There are criteria - clothes need to be authentic and not costumes; clothes need to sit  beautifully on the people wearing them, clothes need to be tailored and crafted and the craftspersonship needs to be excellent,  there needs to be balance, ratio, excitement, simplicity. The worst things the designers can do is make clothes that are overdesigned and gimmicky. Gimmicky clothes are dismissed as "student". Ouch.

It got me thinking about the craft of composing. There IS craft, despite the post modernist legacy we have inherited where it's become awkward to acknowledge this. I started thinking about the simple design issues in composing which led me to jump on the white board and share some design thoughts - using AABA form to start creating a melody. 

Turning

I am still recovering from the mad push to finish Singing The Dots and am taking a few weeks off writing. So no new arrangement for you!

Instead - a virtual concert!

During the Adelaide Fringe Emlyn and I had a concert and I'm really thrilled that he recorded it - singing some of our favourites together. It was our first full concert since my vocal damage was diagnosed back in 2016 so it felt like a big step and we were both a bit nervous. And I am excited to say we did fine and my voice hung in there really well.

When we sing we try to give over completely to the song. We don't think about anything other than - are we in the song? I think these recordings capture this. Plus *cough* a five star review if you please! That's a pretty nice way to re-enter performing!

Please enjoy. x And let me know if any of these songs tickle your fancy and I'll try to write down what we do, for you.