Music Performance 361, Fall 2005: Introduction to Composition
Assignment 4: due Monday, October 17, 2005
Compositional challenge: write a short work for trombone quartet (approximately one page in length) which expresses the following five sets of pitches in sequence:
As with the modality assignment, note that these are not yet harmonies: it's up to you to define how to voice these pitches into usable chords. Which pitch will provide the bass? Which pitch will be the top voice of the chord? Will the harmony be widely spaced across several octaves, or it will it be compacted into a small registral space? Will any pitches be doubled? Take the opportunity to put your own aesthetic stamp on these sets of pitches.
Furthermore, you'll need to think about how you will extend these five harmonies into a complete (short) piece. How can you create material that will sustain each harmony over a significant span of time? Do you want all the pitches present at once, or should they appear in subgroupings? If your texture includes one or more melodic lines, how are they created from these pitches? You can express these harmonies through a wide variety of different materials, textures, and ideas.
You'll also want to consider the connections between these chords: what will make the smoothest transitions from harmony to harmony - or, if you prefer, what will create the sharpest contrasts? As is often the case, other musical parameters (rhythm, dynamics, and texture) can be allied with your harmonic choices to make the strongest possible effect.
Trombone quartets usually include three tenor trombones and a bass trombone; if you prefer, you may also write for four tenor trombones. (Make sure you indicate which grouping you are writing for!)
Some basic information about the trombone:
As always, have fun with this!