Mentoring Program


Composer Name: Evan Choquette
This is the very beginning of my composition. In the long run I'd like to express a space theme, as alluded to by the title as of now.
Grade Level: 11
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, Horn, Trombone, Tuba
Key: Concert D Major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 60 bpm
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title


#3 Erik Nielsen 2018-02-22 09:20
Dear Evan,
Thanks for posting the first revision of your piece. You've certainly developed the trumpet theme a great deal since the first version. This shows a lot of promise. Let me get to your question and then talk about one other thing.
"As for the main theme, in what kinds of ways can I add an accompanying feature to the melody? Do you have any tips for creating rhythms that aren't necessarily the same but still fit together? "
The simplest answer to this is the most maddening: it depends. You may well say "Well, duh!" and I agree, but let me be a bit more specific. It depends very much on the feel of the piece (I'll get to that more in a bit.) If you want something simple, perhaps chords underneath the melody in dotted quarter notes will help. Or, for something a bit more unusual, you could have at least one or two of the other instruments playing staccato on the second and third eighth notes of each dotted quarter beat, with the first eighth as a rest. You could then perhaps have the lower instruments changing notes only on the dotted half, at least for bars 7 and the first half of 8, since the implied harmony of the melody is the same for half of each of those bars. I hope this gives you some options. What I wouldn't advise, at least not right off, is something that's too busy in the other parts. I think it's important to have the melody stand out, with accompaniment that supports but doesn't compete with it.
Now, as to the feel of the piece, I think the tempo from bar 7 on is too slow. If you make the dotted quarter the unit and make it something like 60-66, the melody's natural lilting quality will come out much better. Right now, with the quarter as the unit at 60 the melody sounds a bit plodding. So please think about this.
Evan, your melody has made a great deal of progress. If you can think about the options I've suggested (and there may well be others I haven't mentioned), you ought to be able to start working on the accompaniment for this fine melody. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
#2 Evan Choquette 2018-02-20 12:54
Hi Mr. Nielsen,

Thank you for suggestions. They've been very helpful. Today I've only worked on developing the main theme after bar 6 but I do plan to add a harmony to the beginning as you've suggested. As for the main theme, in what kinds of ways can I add an accompanying feature to the melody? Do you have any tips for creating rhythms that aren't necessarily the same but still fit together?


Evan Choquette
#1 Erik Nielsen 2018-02-01 14:01
Dear Evan,
Thanks for posting the first version of your piece for brass quintet and welcome to Music-COMP and the world of online composing. I will be your primary mentor for this work. One good thing about that is that I live just over the hill in Brookfield, so if I need to come to your school it will be quite convenient!

This piece is off to a good start. What you've written so far is in good range for the instruments and the pyramid chord in bar 5 is especially successful. I do have a few suggestions that I hope will be helpful.

1. The first four bars sound a bit empty with only first trumpet and tuba playing. What would happen if you either a) had second trumpet, horn and trombone playing in rhythmic unison with first trumpet but in harmony; or b) had one other instrument play with trumpet one and the other two play echoes on beats 3-4 of each bar? The tempo is slow enough so the first four bars need a bit more going on to keep our interest as listeners.
2. The chord in bar 5 is lovely, but the tempo is much too slow for the players to feel the quarter note beat. I'd keep the quarter = 60 tempo and add a blank bar after 5. I'd make the tuba play two tied whole notes.Then I'd put the trombone on the second half of beat 2 of 5, tied to a half note then tied over to a whole note for 6. I'd bring in the horn on beat 3 of bar 5 with a half note tied to a whole note. I'd bring the second trumpet in on the final eighth note of 5 and tie it over to a whole note, and I'd bring in the first trumpet on the downbeat of bar 6. I'd put the fermata over the whole notes of bar 6.
3. Unless you're planning to put some music in bar 7 I'd get rid of it. The piece doesn't need that much empty space.
4. The trumpet line in 8-9 shows potential as a main theme. How about extending it a couple of bars, figuring out some accompaniment and then passing it around the other instruments in some fashion following the trumpet's conclusion?

Evan, as I wrote above, this is a promising beginning. If you can work on my suggestions and think hard about where you want the piece to go next, you ought to be able to make progress. Please let me know if anything I've written is unclear. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik Nielsen
Senior Mentor

Add comment

Security code