Assignment 4 – Revision and Reflection

This is the last of my assignments to revise for formal assessment – I waited until the end of the course for this one as I decided to post it on the OCA forum as an exercise in asking for feedback from my peers.  NB: my log entry containing an analysis of this piece and the original Soundcloud track can be found here.

I received one response from the forum:

I really liked listening to your piece!  Flute and vibraphone is a good combination.  Lots of nice counterpoint here and I particularly  enjoyed the  changes in tempo.  I am not a flute player, but my flute-playing tutor has drummed it in to me to be sure to allow sufficient space to draw breath between phrases.  Bars 31 – 43 look particularly challenging in this regard.  This section has a nice flamenco feel to it.   My only other thought is whether  a change of key for one or more variations might be good way to introduce even more variety? 

I definitely appreciated having my attention drawn to breath considerations; I decided that the performer would benefit from some breath mark indications in the long phrases of the middle section and so have now added these in.  The suggestion to modulate to a different key was also an interesting one, and definitely one I would consider if I was to develop it into a longer piece.

From my tutor’s report I was glad to see that he thought I had been successful in achieving the aims of this assignment and created a musically pleasing piece.  One suggestion he had was to consider augmenting the score to make use of some different vibraphone techniques or ornamentation.  I was aware of the versatile capabilities of the vibraphone from my research but had initially stayed away from anything very advanced in order to let the music be focused on the intensity of the counterpoint itself.  However on reflection I do agree with my tutor that there is room in the piece to explore at least a few of the vibraphone’s techniques, and so have experimented with this just a little by adding the following enhancements:

  • Additional octave passages to create a fuller sound at certain points, such as bar 49 and 67
  • A sudden roll in bar 46 as a more effective ‘announcement’ of the last section
  • A glissando in bar 38

The final result can be played below:

On the technical presentation front, my tutor drew my attention to the rhythmic notation of the main theme.  By using the dotted crotchet originally I was trying to create a clean score with minimal use of ties, but I can see that it is more important to indicate the 4 crotchet beats in each bar and so have revised it as per his suggestion.

Finally, I also decided to make a change to the vibraphone part in bar 40 as I wasn’t happy with the pedalling: I didn’t like the gap in the bass notes but pedalling the whole bar was too  muddy.  I decided to utilise the multiple voice notation and created two separate lines, playing the bottom melody twice which I think works better.

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