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Blues Solo Composition Reflection

24 Mar , 2016  

In this unit, we inquired into blues music and learnt basic music composition techniques as part of the theory of our unit. We started off looking into endings, then progressing into composing simple, 8 bar melodies.  We then looked at transposing instruments and the Concert F blues scale. Lastly, we looked at blues chord progressions and incorporating the major triads and the b7 tones  for composing our solos. For our summative assessment of this unit, we composed our own 12 bar blues solo. I thought it was going to be an easy task, but it actually involved some thinking and reflection as well. I made the first draft and received feedback from my peers on my music composition (see the previous post). I read through all the feedback from my peers and have made quite a few changes to my blues solo composition:

Firstly, I had to make my composition sound bluesier. In measures 1, 3, 5, 7,9 and 11, I added the major third tones. Mr. Taitoko, our guest musician has talked to us about including the major thirds in our composition to enhance the “bluesiness” and have a better sounding melody. I have also replaced some eighth notes by adding rests, also have enhanced the blues feeling of my piece.

Secondly, I added performance directions in my piece, like the different dynamic, tempo and articulation markings. Not only have I added some dynamic markings such as p, pp, ff, etc, I’ve also added a few crescendo and decrescendo to enrich the volume and sound of my piece. Tempo markings were also used. I chose to use moderato because I wanted a steady and moderate beat for my composition. By adding articulation markings, I have also worked on another criticism from my friends: choppy transitions. Without smooth transition, the song would sound awkward and it wouldn’t flow very well as a whole. That’s why I have added articulation markings to try to connect the different parts together.

There is certainly room for improvement. I think I could fix the articulation markings. After listening to my solo a couple of times, I found that some slurs and staccatos are either unnecessary or placed in the wrong place. Furthermore, to produce a blues composition with high quality involves a strong melodic and rhythmic balance.

I feel like my blues solo is substantially convincing, it still doesn’t sound very bluesy to me. The feedback from my peers has greatly improved my composition. Nevertheless, I’ve tried my best and made a great achievement, as I have never composed any melodies before. I have further expanded my knowledge in this unit. Many new understandings such as the chord progression of composition and the system of transposing instruments have developed. I had loads of fun and I am looking forward to my next music composition!


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