Mentoring Program

A Skip and a Twirl

"A Skip and a Twirl" is a trio for flute, clarinet, and bassoon. It begins with a cheerful tune that is very bouncy and syncopated, like someone skipping. Then partway through it becomes slower and graceful, still dancing but more like a stately twirl. All throughout the song the instruments pass the melody around, and both sections are based on the same short motive of starting on the home tone then moving a half step down and back up. To end the song, it goes back to the opening theme and each instrument has a chance to play part of the melody as a solo
Grade Level: 11
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon
Key: B flat major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 100 and 66
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
File 1: application/pdfDownload


#30 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-14 18:28
Thank you, Erin!
#29 Erin Magill 2017-04-14 05:36
Hi Travis,
The parts are there as a PDF.
#28 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-11 20:09
Erin, once you're done with the last suggestion, please click Print Individual Parts, save those files in PDF format, and upload them to this page. Once you are done, please post a comment so I will know to check in. Then it's just waiting for the concert!
#27 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-09 19:01
Erin, it's been my pleasure. My only two remaining suggestions:

1. Beam together the pattern 8th+16th rest+16th note (bassoon in 12 and 13 and 14). I don't think you need this when the 16th is connected to a scale on four 16th notes like the flute has in measure 8, though. That looks clear to me.

2. Beam the first 2 clarinet notes in 24.

Bio and description look good so I think you are all set once you do these few little changes.

#26 Erin Magill 2017-04-08 19:44
Hi Travis,
I beamed together the sixteenth notes that occur withing the same beat and changed the style marking to "stately." I couldn't decide which one I liked best before, but I made up my mind.

I also changed the description a tiny bit, and elaborated a little on my biography. I'm not planning to study music after high school (although of course I'll always want to play clarinet), so I didn't put anything about that in.

Thank you for being my mentor and helping me with all of this!

#25 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-05 19:55
Erin, the score looks great now. I KNOW how much of a pain that is, but I think it is much cleaner to look at and I only suggested it for that reason. So, well done.

If there is a way to get the outer 16ths to beam together at mm. 49 that would be even better, but it's not a big deal if Noteflight can't do that.

66 is a fine tempo choice. I do think 60 was too slow, but definitely don't do 72 if you think it's too fast. You might consider changing the word "gracefully" to "stately," though. They have very different meanings and I would play them differently.

Dynamics look good, too. Take a few minutes and re-read your bio and description just to make sure they are what you'll want printed and I think you're good to go.

For the description, the audience may or may not know what the "first eight measures" are - you could just say that it goes back to the theme from the beginning, or the "opening theme."

Your bio looks good too. Are you interested in telling the audience whether you have plans to pursue music and/or music composition after high school?

Your 16th note solution at B makes sense to me.
#24 Erin Magill 2017-04-05 18:18
Hi Travis,
I went through and changed that rhythm an awful lot of times! I think it's all standard now. The other rhythm, like in the clarinet part before B, I decided to make a staccato eight note, sixteenth rest, sixteenth note, because I couldn't get it to extend the beam over the rest. Actually, I could do it, but it automatically included beat two under the same beam, and that seemed way more confusing!

I also took out about half of the dynamics, so I hope they should be reasonable now. I think I had been trying to write the dynamics exactly how you'd play it, but that would seem excessive.

You had suggested changing the tempo from 60 to 72 beats per minute to make it easier to play (because I see that I didn't give them much rest), but I though 72 was too fast. So I changed it to 66, which splits the difference, and still sounded stately.

Thanks, Erin
#23 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-04 20:32
I promised more score prep comments tonight, and here they are... Take a deep breath before you read. It looks and sounds like a lot but remember that a well-prepared score will save time in rehearsal, giving you more time for the musicians to work on their interpretation and expression.

1. First, the doozie. So the rhythmic motive that drives your piece, the one that the clarinet opens with, might be easier to read if you changed how it's notated. Instead of two 16ths, a 16th rest, and another 16th, I think that 99% of performers would prefer seeing a 16th, 8th, and 16th all beamed together, with a staccato dot on the 8th notes. I doubt they would play it much differently, and cleaning up extra 16th rests will make your music much MUCH easier to read. what you wrote certainly isn't wrong -- it's quite accurate in fact -- but consider my suggestion as easy to get right the first time. Of course (ugh!) you'd have about 100 of them to change...
2. At letter B and elsewhere, is there a way to beam the first and last 16ths on a beat together with an 8th rest in between them? Once again it would just make the score easier to sight-read. If not, you should at least be consistent with how all these are marked. At bar 50, the flute uses two 16th rests, but the clar. in the same bar uses a single 8th in there. I prefer the single eighth, and beam the two 16ths together if noteflight will let you.

3. Dynamics - I think you put too many markings in. Remember that performers will naturally bring out moving lines and blend background figures. It would be OK to mark your most important line one marking louder, MF melody and MP background, but in several places your melody is F and the background MP. I think it's just dynamic overkill, and asking for imbalance. At letter D for example, do you really want that bassoon cranking away at F while the others are P? Err on the side of writing fewer markings and I think you'll be happier with the result. Sometimes it helps me to limit myself to a mark every four bars or so.

sounds like a lot of edits, but well worth the time. Please let me know if you have any other questions,

#22 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-03 21:14
One other thing, I think your slow tempo at letter D is a few clicks too slow. This part would be very taxing for wind players. Could you still love it if we bumped that up to 72 from 60?
#21 Travis Ramsey 2017-04-03 21:12

Congratulations ! By now I imagine you've heard that your composition has been chosen for the Opus concert. Over the next week you and I will have the rather un-exciting task of going over it note by note and correcting every little thing. The idea is that if we can make the score as easy to read as possible, the performers will play it exactly the way you want it to sound the first time, and you can spend the rest of the rehearsal slot working on style, and interpretation, instead of explaining how a certain rhythm goes.
I will give you a more detailed list tomorrow, but before then could you please check for the following things:

1. Title is exactly as you want it to appear in the program.
2. Composer name is exactly as you want it to appear in the program.
3. You've completed your description of the piece, and it's exactly like you want it to appear in the concert program. This is very important, because the audience will read this BEFORE they hear the music. What do they need to know about the piece to understand what they are about to hear?
4. Your bio is accurate.
5. EVERY single musical entrance has a dynamic at the start of it. If an instrument plays, then exits, and then plays again at least a measure later, it should have a dynamic marking. Crescendos or diminuendos should always show the "new" dynamic after them: p < f. Otherwise we don't know how loud to end up.
6. Tempo marking at the beginning is correct, and you are very clear about other tempo changes (if any) after that).
7. Please also make sure any empty measures have a whole rest in the middle of the bar.

Please work on these things as soon as possible, and I will check in with a more detailed list tomorrow evening.

Exciting news, but time to get to work now!


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