Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Concerto One for Guitar and Orchestra: Preview

I have uploaded a PDF and MP3 of the finale of Concerto One for guitar and orchestra to my .Mac Downloads Page for those interested. I wanted to mention this now because my manager, for one, is anxious to hear it. It is a Passacaglia in a contemporary style, and is based on an eight measure harmonic continuity that consists of only tonic, subdominant, and secondary subdominant harmonies.

I wrote the first version of this as a jazzy concerto grosso back in 1994 when I was a doctoral candidate at UNT. I have put all of the melodic lines into the guitar part, but they will be redistributed among the instruments of the orchestra as I flesh out the orchestration again. I actually wrote this as a sort of treatise in completely chromatic "harmelodic" line writing, but when I played it for some of my classmates, almost all of them asked how I came up with such cool bass lines. Poor dears, I guess they lived deprived childhoods devoid of musical masters such as Rose Royce and Parliament Funkadellic. *sigh*

One of the things that tics me off the most about "classical" composers who look down their noses at jazz music is the fact that the most advanced masters of jazz possess a melodic conception that is light-years beyond anything any classical composers ever had. The closest any of them came was Chopin, and he was absolutely unique.

By extemporizing these lines with a track ball and cursor - versus hammering them out on a keyboard or the guitar - I was able to transcend all idiomatic concerns and just think in terms of the melodic trajectories and the coloristic effects the note sequences would have. This is far superior to the hemmed-in classical approach which has such nonsense terms as "non-harmonic notes" (The more I think about that, the more ass-ignorant it becomes as a "musical" concept): Under the completely chromatic "harmelodic" approach, every note has a harmonic function, and so a corresponding coloristic effect.

I'll be doing a dedicated post on this piece, but I'm not sure if I'll get it done before I leave to see my mom for Christmas.



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