Mentoring Program

El Matador

Composer Name: Gabriella Holter
This song is about a bullfighter in Spain. As the piece goes on I intend to add more parts to create more drama between the characters. So far the instrumentation consists of trumpet, and trombone.
Grade Level: 10
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: trumpet and trombone
Key: c
Meter Signature: 6/8
Tempo: 100
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title


#6 Travis Ramsey 2018-02-23 19:00
Hi Ella,
Short answer for the C major chord is this: If if were me, I'd put it in place of the notes you have in m. 32. Keep the rhythm as is, but shift the notes so that the strong beats emphasize the C-E-G triad. You can also safely use the pitch Bb.
As for the ritardando idea I TOTALLY get what you mean about not making it seem to abrupt. And you are on the right track when you say that if you could just hear the chords for longer it wouldn't feel so sudden. But I disagree with the method. If any part sounds too abrupt I strongly suggest you fix it by making a chord or two last longer -- not by reducing the tempo but instead by using more measures. Give the first movement of a Mozart symphony (or pretty much any composer before 1900 for that matter) a listen. Does he/she make transitions smoother by slowing down or by stretching out the music into longer phrases and chords?
To my ears, the sudden change of tempo is far more jarring than a surprising chord. What do you think?
#5 Gabriella Holter 2018-02-22 11:33
Hi Travis,
Sorry for the delayed response. How and where could I use the C major chord in the transition between the two keys? I was thinking I could come back to the A minor key after the new section is finished. Maybe I could put a ritardando in between so that I doesn't seem so sudden. Coming back into the A minor key I will work on that section more, but for now I will try to put in the e major chord to connect them. What do you think?
Thanks again for the help!
#4 Travis Ramsey 2018-02-15 20:25
Hi again, so key changes are super fun. The easiest ones to get to from A minor would be things that only add one flat or sharp to the key signature, like D minor or E minor. I absolutely love that you went for broke and jumped far far away to F minor! Can I help you make it a little smoother? Trust me, even smoothed out it will still be surprising.
One thing that's important is to use something called a "pivot" to connect the two keys. In this case I'd suggest using a C major chord in between the A minor section and the F minor. That C chord won't sound too foreign in A minor or F minor. Can you find a way to work that into 32?
As for another key change later, I say you should come BACK to A minor. For this one let's try something more daring perhaps. After all, it is a bullfight right? So the note Ab is nothing special in F minor, it's just the third scale step. What you could do is come up with a way to emphasize an Ab when you're ready to go back to A minor. Let the trombone drop out and leave the trumpet to the Ab. (It could even repeat the low octave/high octave thing you used at measure 23). BUT when the trombone comes back in, pretend it's a G# instead. Have everyone play an E major chord (E-G#-B) and you can use this to jump back to A minor. What do you think?

#3 Gabriella Holter 2018-02-14 17:45
Hello Travis,
Thank you for your help! Obviously this piece is unfinished. I was planning on repeating the same trombone line in measures 17-24, but I would also like to try mixing up the part a little bit for some more excitement. I love the idea of swapping the two parts! I would definitely like to try that at some point in the piece. The new part starting at measure 25 was sort of last minute, but I actually really like the way it sounds. I am planing on repeating those 8 measures again with some minor changes in the parts. What do you think of having a key change either after the new part or later in the composition? How could I do that?
Thank you for your input! I look forward to hearing from you again.
#2 Travis Ramsey 2018-02-12 19:34
Hi Ella,

Thanks for sharing this piece! You have definitely captured the excitement of a bullfighter, as well as the boastfulness of the music and its rhythm. I like how you use the dotted eighths and 'straight' eights back and forth, too. It's unpredictable and it opens the door to you adding some nice rhythmic surprises later on.
Overall I think you have a good level of interaction between the two parts, but I feel like the trombone rests for too long in m. 17-24. Could it do something in there? Beginning in 25, I like the new idea here and especially the new bass note of F in trombone. We had heard just enough A minor that we were ready for a little change.
A picky little thing to change is the note Ab in m. 14. Since this goes directly back up to A, please use G#. I agree with your use of flats in 21, though, because the line is descending.
What's to come next? Personally I'd like to see you play with the new idea that started at m. 25. I hope we'll get to hear more than 5 measures of it.
How can I help you the most? Are you looking for ways to develop your piece further? One might be to try inverting the parts 25-30. You'll need to rework notes a bit, but you could try to repeat these bars and give the trombone the trumpet's part (and the trumpet the trombone part). Or maybe you could bring us to another key area?

An exciting start and I can't wait to hear more,

#1 Stefanie Weigand 2018-02-12 10:55
Looking forward to seeing this evolve!

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