the college experience

Ok, so i'm not the "traditional" college student. never have been. Worked (on and off) through most of my college years, a little at DPU, a lot during BC, and, right now, i'm not working. it's a nice change, going back to just concentrating on school work, and, more importantly, composition. I'm really banging some stuff out.

But, in the normal college student way, i'm spending WAY too much money. lol. it's all thing i do actually kinda need, a nice microphone, a decent dual pre-amp, some monitors, headphones, and now, Ableton Live 8. i had planned on spending the money on buying Logic Studio 9, and possibly a new hard-drive, but after a lot of thinking, i realized i need a live sequencer...and Abelton has done a better job of making one than i will do making one in Pd. so, yeah...

Anyway, i'm going to talk about Monday. i know it was awhile ago, but i'm supposed to journal my teaching experiences, so i better journal them! lol.

My mentee came in with an assignment from composition class. A nice counterpoint exercise, taking a melody, set in a string quartet, and changing it little bit by little bit till all four lines are completely different, after, i believe 25 measures or so. As with many young composers, he jumped right in...

and after 2 measures, did his first change, adding harmony...

and 2 measures later he created a counterline. one that would fit quite well and had some good characteristics

2 measures late he harmonized that line

I looked at his work, and asked a simple question "where did you come up with that bass line?"

the answer, of course, "well, i'm not sure. I just really liked the sound and it harmonically works with the rest of the lines."

Ah, that wonderful thing. It's easy to say "well, it fits harmonically, therefore, it fits fine." however, this isn't always true as a rationale. being in the same tonal (or atonal) structure is certainly helpful for cohesion, but not necessary, and it doesn't always make for a nice fit.

In this instance, the line fit fine, would be quite interesting, actually. but it wasn't the point of the "assignment."

My mentee is a smart guy, a very quick study. He basically taught himself the basics of tonal harmony by reading the Kotska/Payne book. He's learning counterpoint by analyzing Bach. He is currently a Philosophy major. We are working to correct this. lol. But, he's still young. Development is the hardest thing for a young composer...ok, it's the hardest thing for ALL composers, me included. so, giving them this little technical exercise is probably a good thing.

The idea of slow evolution is always a good one. I'm using it a bit in what will be my latest piece. A movement from full stanzas, to words, to syllables, to letters...it'll be interesting.

Well, my head is pounding and i still have some work to perform before class, so, i shall go now. peace

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