Assignment 3 Plan

The brief for assignment 3 is to compose a short piece (around 2 minutes) for three woodwind instruments in a mostly polyphonic style.


I decided to write for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, my instrument choice being influenced by some of the pieces I listened to as part of my research.  I thought the Ferroud woodwind trio used this combination very effectively – the bassoon provides a nice bass line but can also play at a pitch closer to the oboe and clarinet to allow the parts to come close together.  The timbres of the instruments also work well together.  The bassoon and oboe have conical bores and similar sounding timbres (producing both odd and even harmonics), whereas the clarinet has a cylindrical bore which produces mostly odd harmonics, giving it a contrasting timbre.  There is some interesting information about this topic on the University of New South Wales website which I would like to follow up on in more detail in the future: Open vs Closed Pipes.


The idea I had for this piece has a 12/8 time signature and is played at a walking pace of around 60 beats per minute.  This works out to approximately 30 bars of music.  My chosen triads are based around B minor and E minor:


I think my opening idea will work well as a line for the bassoon which I can then add oboe and clarinet parts to over the top.  The basic structure will be ABA:

  • A:
    • 2 bars introduction (bassoon line alone)
    • 8 bars development of this theme, including transition to next triad
  • B:
    • 12 bars based around triad 2
  • A:
    • 8 bars return to the original theme, ending with triad 3

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