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Hello My name is John Phillips from SCSVT. We are hosting an art show that contains many types of art and music. The theme of the art show life and death. I am trying to have a more militaristic sound in my music relating to life and death. I had a mind of fanfare and I'm going to add trumpets. I’m also going to add flutes as well.
Grade Level: 8
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Drums, Flutes, Trumpets.
Key: D Minor
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 125-130
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title

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#3 Erik Nielsen 2016-11-11 10:36
Dear John,
Thanks for your note and for posting the first revision of your piece. I like that you have the trumpet echo the flute. In addition, I think that the melody you've begun is very lively.
In fact, that may be part of the problem. If you're thinking about militarism and death, having a bright and lively tune, even one that is more or less in D minor, may present you with some issues. The same is true of your drum parts. Don't get me wrong, I like both the drums and the melody, but they may not set the mood you want, unless you're looking for irony. By that I mean having what seems like a glorification of war (lively tune, whoopee, the troops will win an easy victory and it will all be over by Christmas) but that somehow goes on long enough, and with enough darkness added in somehow that we finally get the idea that your idea was never to glorify war. Now I'm not sure what you truly want, but your comment about wanting something darker does give a clue. What you may need to do is figure out your scale. That is, do you want D dorian mode, which is what's there right now? In other words, DEFGABCD as the scale, like D minor, but with B natural rather than B flat. That can work, but you'll need to really emphasize the D. If you have the flute moving up higher as it goes along, so it's a bit more like a military fife, that might help. And the trumpet can do a lot with low D, with little fanfare-like bits, such as DDDD (eighth, 16th, 16th, eighth) F (eighth) D (long note). These are just a couple of ideas. The two instruments you've chosen, flute and trumpet, have a long association with the military as fife and bugle, respectively, so they may be good choices.

John, you've asked some very good questions and it's better to ask them now at the beginning of the process, so you can work to figure out how to make the music do what you want. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#2 John Phillips 2016-11-10 13:50
Thank You Erik Nielsen for the feedback you gave me.
I started working on the flutes and trumpets but I am stuck trying to decide if I need a little more drums to add with flutes and trumpets. I also trying to add a little bit of a darker tone to the trumpets and flutes, should the trumpets be a lower tone and the flutes a higher tone.
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#1 Erik Nielsen 2016-11-03 11:11
Dear John,
Thanks for posting the opening of your piece. This is an interesting idea about using war as an introduction or embodiment of the concepts of life and death.
I think your piece is off to a very strong start. What I really like about your rhythmic introduction or underpinning (I'm not sure whether you're going to put your other instruments AFTER or ON TOP of what you already have) is that it grows and develops. So often I see percussion ideas that repeat the same one or two bars over and over, but yours not only changes, but changes the beat emphasis, so that sometimes the little ideas come in groups of three beats rather than four. This is very successful writing. Please let me know if you have questions about what you're going to add (instrument ranges, what works for flute or trumpet, how to structure the piece, etc.). I look forward to your first revision.

Best wishes,
Erik Nielsen
Senior Mentor
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