Music

Inspired Summative Composition Reflection

Source of Inspiration:

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I attempted to make my composition reflect the sense of tranquility that the picture above instills in me when I look at it, and the sense of longing that I sometimes have when I look at this photo to go back to this place where I could just relax and not have anything to worry about. My song has a relatively slow tempo of 92 bpm to represent the tranquility that the photograph represents. At the same time, the song was composed in a major key (A flat Major) and utilizes mostly eighth notes which gives the overall composition a sense of longing and fondness, which reflects my fondness that the memory evokes in me and the longing I have to return to this place and witness this spectacle once more. Even though my choice to use saxophone was mainly due to the fact that it is the only instrument I really know how to play, my choice for using the flute was because of it’s higher pitched sound. I wanted to use the flute to give the composition a more graceful tone to imitate the fondness that I have of this memory, and to create a lighter mood for the overall composition.

In terms of the structure of the song, I made a small intro to give the song a positive tone which reflects the initial positive feeling I get when I see this image. The intro is then followed immediately by a chorus, which uses it’s imperfect and plagal cadences and the overall sad quality to represent the feeling of longing that I have to return to this place. The chorus is then followed by a verse representing the sadness I feel that comes along with the longing. Afterwards the chorus is played again to represent the renewed sense of tranquility I have after realising that even after 2 years, the fact that I still remember this particular scene is a testament to show that the memory of being at this place will be with me forever.

Initially, I wanted to create a piece of music that was based on a scene from a movie because I thought it would have been easier to compose based on something that also had a sense of progression and was also accompanied by visuals. After attempting to create a score for a movie scene from Batman vs Superman, I realised that because of the limited instruments I have on finale and my own limited knowledge on how to play instruments other than saxophone, plus the fact that the main character was Batman who already had a theme song made me decide not to compose music for the movie scene. This was because the scene’s main character, Batman already has a theme song which will entice me to copy the theme song. In addition, the scene already has a score, which might affect my composition by making me subconsciously compose with ideas similar to the score in the movie. Afterwards I decided to create a pop song composition using other songs as sources of inspiration, but my attempts at making an upbeat song were not successful due to my tenacity to try and replicate segments of other songs and somehow incorporate these segments into my composition.

However after looking through one of my photo galleries, I found a picture I took and felt the happiness in the memory that the image evoked, the longing the sadness I had to return to this beautiful place, the sadness that accompanied with the longing and the eventual happiness I felt. Afterwards, I went straight into experimenting with different sounds in Finale and researching useful sets of chords to help me figure out what notes to use. After experimenting with notes and finally figuring out a chorus that I liked,

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I was able to easily complete the introduction, the verse and the ending by making them sound something similar to the chorus to give the overall composition a sense of unity. Throughout the chorus, I mainly use Neighbor Tones accompanied closely by the occasional Passing Tone to both mimic the waves in the image and to signify the gradual change in emotions that I have whenever I look at the image. However once this was done, I noticed that the transition between the chorus and the verse and vice verse was too obvious for my liking. As a result, I used transitional measures to transition between different segments of my piece.

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Once the first version of my composition was completed, I seeked out external feedback from Ms. Po who informed me that even though she liked my rhythmic ideas; the chords, the instrument choice and arrangements of my chosen instruments simply was not right. After providing me with feedback and helping me make adjustments, I was able to to make my composition sound better through more thought-through choices. For example, I set the composition’s key signature as A flat major instead of F minor to convey the happy yet sometimes sad emotions the inspiration photo evokes in me; Ms. Po also helped me to change the chords of my piece so that the chords did not clash with the melody of the composition; she helped me arrange the instruments I used (Flute, Alto Sax and Electric Guitar) so that I can actually hear what is being played by each section; and she also advised me to use the Electric Guitar instead of the Electric Bass to play my chords which helped greatly since I had no idea that the Electric Guitar played the bass chords and the Electric Bass did not. In the end, I was able to keep most of my melody the same as it was originally. Changing only the chords used, and one of the three instruments that I used in my original composition.

March Music Reflection

I believe that so far, I have improved in my abilities to sight read pieces. Initially I was terrible at sight-reading and had great difficulties in trying to read music I never saw beforehand, however through multiple times of having to sight read new pieces in music, I am able to play more of a piece while sight-reading. While sight-reading, I am able to correctly play the dynamics consistently.  This is because I am able to control my diaphragm so that I can easily change how loud I am playing the dynamics. However this is hindered by my shortcomings at rhythm accuracy, because I often get confused by how long I should play certain notes or how the beats change when the time signatures change. Therefore whenever I run into one of the above problems, I cannot play the rhythm right. However once I know what the rhythm will sound like, I can model my playing to fit the rhythm.

To improve, I think that if I practise more and play more pieces, I will be able to play better and read notes more accurately. As of this moment, I am trying to get more practise in to improve my technique and to hone my skills in reading the notes and coordinating my fingers into the right positions to play the right notes. Right now, my private practise sessions are random, and depend on whether I am really busy or not. However I usually practise at least once a week, because I also take music outside of school and that requires my attention as well.

In terms of inspiration sources, many singers have inspired me to improve musically, however I think that it is my saxophone teacher that really inspires me to play better saxophone specifically. The reason for this is because she is always able to play songs which I have no hope at playing right the first time through with ease, and is always patient with me when we go through songs. Therefore her skills and patience have inspired me to better my own saxophone skills so that I can also amaze people by being able to play my saxophone better.

Rhythm and Melody Composition

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I managed to use my musical ability to try and make a rhythm that is pleasing to hear. I tried to make use of my newly acquired knowledge of the note beats and how long each note is held. I tried to use a variety of notes to try and get the rhythm to sound pleasing.

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I made these 8 bars of melody in attempt to make a melody that would help make my 8 bar rhythm (above) better. The melody is simple, but I think that it will give a bit more quality on the music in the rhythm part.

Rhythm Sheets

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These two sheets show my ability to count up the notes and add the appropriate note/rest in the measure, for each measure had a missing note that I needed to fill in. Through this exercise, I have taken note that music is somewhat related to mathematics, for each measure can only have a specific number of notes and each note can be held for varying amounts of time. Therefore I needed to use my mathematical skills and my knowledge of how long each note/rest is held  to complete these tasks, which I must say were at some points challenging.

Scale Degrees

In this post, I have written down the scales of different major chords in both treble and bass clefs. The challenge with this task was that we needed to find the correct note using the scale degrees, ie tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant and leading tone. This allowed me to learn how to find notes using the scale degrees and improve upon my knowledge of how to find notes and their key signatures.

 

Scale Degree Worksheet

Scale Degree Worksheet

Scarborough Fair Practical Performance Reflection

Question – Breath Support: What is the Benefit of having Good Breath Support, and What can you do to Develop it?

 

The benefit of having good breath support is that when you are playing a note, you can control the pitch so that if it is a quiet note (piano), then you can adjust your diaphragm to control how much air is going through the mouthpiece. If it is a loud note, then you will have to relax your diaphragm, but not too much, so that the most of the air can go through the mouthpiece at once. Breath Support can also help to make a note sound fuller, because if the note is too weak, then it won’t sound as good as a note that the musician has a good and stable breath support.

YOTH (Year of the Horse) Reflection

I quite enjoyed participating in the Year Of the Horse CNY assembly performance, even though I was just a Saxophone player hidden from view by others standing before me. A reason why is that I really like the music given to me, it genuinely sounds like something you might hear from a Chinese movie or show, until the Gangnam Style part which I also have a liking to. Last year, we were given a Gangnam Style piece of music to play but it was quite difficult, perhaps it was because I was a clarinet player last year, but it could be for any reason. I was able to grow during the course of this performance, by learning new notes and improving my hand to eye coordination needed for moving my hands up and down the instrument selecting the correct buttons to press in accordance to the Year Of the Horse music piece that was laid out in front of me during the performance.

I was also pretty happy about being semi-hidden during the performance to a audience, because sometimes I do not perform well under the pressure of a grade’s worth of eyes staring at me. Therefore I am glad to have been put in the band as a Saxophone to play a brilliant piece of music which I have to thank Mrs. Lovett for that. All in all, I enjoyed the entire performance a lot!

The Blue’s Unit reflection

I have been learning about “The Blues” for some time now, now I should answer a few questions about “The Blue’s”.

Have you learnt more about Blues Music?  Why? How? What?

I have learnt more about blue’s music and the way to compose a small, short blues piece by myself. I am more confident with my skills to both perform with and to compose a blues piece.

Did you enjoy listening to the Blues Music?  What song(s) did you enjoy the most?  Have you started to listen to more Blues music since beginning this music?

Yes, I enjoyed listening to the Blues Music, the song that I most enjoyed was either “Wild Card” or “Blues Down Under”, I have started to listen to a bit more blues music than usual.

Have you talked to your friends and parents more about Blues Music?

Yes, I have been talking to my friends and family more about the Blues, but I am mostly talking to them about the song’s that I play and how that I could improve my skills on that song, as well as practising times.

Did you enjoy playing Blues Music in class band?  Did you like the Blues Down Under song?  Why, or why not?

Yes, I did enjoy playing the Blues Music due to the sounds that the music produced. The Blues Down Under song was among my favourite pieces this unit, because it had a catchy tune with a bit of swing.

Did you play as a Blues Soloist in band?  Describe how that felt?

Yes I did, I felt quite nervous, because I was doing a solo which obviously is by myself, can’t cover it up with the other songs that the band made as a whole. Although it was quite relieving and encouraging when I was able to finish it smoothly.

Have you ever written a Blues Solo before?  Did you enjoy writing a Blues Solo?

Yes, I did write a Blues Solo before and I enjoyed it somewhat because I made it by myself and I used my knowledge of beat, rhythm and harmony to make it!

What was the best part of this unit?  (Go back and look at the Moodle Blues Unit items to refresh your memory)

The Best part of the unit was obviously the part where we got to actually play a piece or 2, because I’d rather play a song, rather than to listen to others talk about playing a song.

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