Part 1 - Project 2, Projects

Project 2 – Duets


Today, I focused on my third small project for project 2. This study focuses on the idea of developing a rhythm one note at a time. I wrote the duet for cowbell and wood block because they have similar rhythmic capacities. This was ideal for what I wanted to do.

After hearing Derek Bourgeois serenade, I could not resist the idea of an 11/8 time signature. 11/8 helps to create a sense of catching the listener unaware. This can be used in many aspects of composition. For the sake of this project, however, I kept this as jokey and light hearted as possible. The reason that this can be used to catch a listener unaware that it can be used for an inconsistent grouping or sub-division of beats. In this study I have used 3 groupings of 3 quavers followed by a grouping of 2 quavers.

The cowbell initiates the composition with a simple but seemingly ambiguous rhythm. The listener does not yet know whether the grouping will be in a 2, 2, 2, 2, 3 pattern or a 3, 3, 3, 2 pattern. The rhythm is then echoed directly by the wooden block. Following this each instrument will take it in turns to develop the rhythm one note at a time.

By bar 3 we are aware of the pulse and the beat of the music, it’s clear that within it’s pulse are sub-divisions of the beat that are not quite symmetrical and consistent throughout the bar. This is how we know that the sub-divisions of the bar will work as 3, 3, 3, 2 grouping.

As each bar develops I gradually build the composition up to a phrase where each beat of the bar is filled and there is no daylight in the bar (no rests). I may find this a useful trick for building up interest as I develop and my compositions get more complex.

If I where to further develop the study , I would start experimenting with the sub-divisions of the bar, I would move the short beat (the beat worth 2 quavers) backwards or forwards until a full cycle had been completed. This is something I will experiment and develop later on in my study of composition. This could help me to expand a phrase or cut the phrase short.


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