Steve Reich – “Clapping Music” for MAX

Here’s an interesting rendition of Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music”. If your unfamiliar with this piece, it’s two identical rhythmic patterns in 12/8 time. They start at the same time, but after eight measures, the second pattern starts an eighth note later putting them “out of phase”. You can see this happening in the matrix object in the video. The phasing process is repeated every eight measures (creating some very interesting rhythmic interplay) until they become “in phase” once again. I plan to create a series of variations using this particular Max patch.

This piece is typically performed with real musicians. I decided to create an electronic patch as an experiment to learn more about MAX and its matrix object. Once the patch has been created, it’s a snap to adjust the matrix and create new rhythmic patterns.

When You Wish Upon A Star for Classical Guitar

I wanted to share an arrangement of “When You Wish Upon A Star”. I did this particular arrangement in roughly 2008, while working on my masters degree in music composition and theory at The University of Georgia.

It’s a tremolo arrangement, which seems to work nicely with this piece.

Since it’s still under copy write with Disney, I can’t sell copies, but feel free to download it and enjoy!

If you work it up and perform it somewhere in the future, please let me know at davidguitar4109@hotmail.com or dr.davidmitchell@aimm.edu

Click the link below to download it:
when-you-wish-upon-a-star

Sing Your Melody to Make Your Melody Sing

Here’s a post from guest author Doug Hanvey. You can learn more about him at www.portlandpianolab.com.

Composing a melody by singing is a method that has been used by many of the greatest melodists. The reasons are obvious:

  • By singing it’s more likely that your melody will be generated from the deepest and most personal well of creativity within you. If you simply work out a melody with your fingers at the piano, you are less likely to be connecting with that innermost musical place.
  • Singing your melody helps you to better understand its structure (contour, climax etc.) in terms of the primal melodic instrument: the human voice.
  • Singing engages your body, and the body is the primal rhythm instrument. As a result, your melody is likely to be more rhythmically effective and interesting.
  • Melodies and even simple figures or motives that can be easily sung are more likely to be accessible to the average Joe and Jane. (This may be one reason why vocal forms are ubiquitous in both folk and popular music.) It’s especially useful to sing when composing a vocal melody.

Many (if not most) of the great composers did not write at an instrument. We may not know whether they sang their melodies as they composed, but it’s a good bet that they were “virtually” singing them by mentally hearing them.

music-comp

The same is also true of many if not most of the great popular songwriters. For example, musical theater composer Richard Rodgers, one of the greatest melodists of the 20th century, wrote his songs by singing the melody while playing chords on the piano. John Lennon and Paul McCartney composed their tunes by singing them while playing their guitars.

Many of the greatest jazz pianists, such as Bud Powell and Keith Jarrett, vocalize while improvising (same principle).

Convinced it’s worth a try? Follow these steps, one at a time, to engage your virtual or actual voice when composing a melody:

  1. First try hearing your melody inside your head (without actually singing it) and notate it without playing it on your instrument, if you can. This requires a pretty good musical ear, but that is easy enough to develop. By the way, don’t worry about the chords at first. It’s generally better – at least from a melodic perspective – to let the melody dictate the harmony rather than allowing harmonic demands to interfere with the organic nature of the melody.
  2. If the above feels too challenging, sing your melody out loud and notate it without playing it on your instrument.
  3. Finally, easiest – but last, because it’s tempting to get lost in your established compositional habits – sing your melody, then learn to play it on your instrument, then notate it.

College Music Society National Conference

Friday, I received a nice letter from the College Music Society. They selected my conference proposal! Jennifer Jones Mitchell and I will be presenting at the 2016 CMS National Conference in Santa Fe. We’re excited! Our topic is “Marketing Your Music Online: A Guide to Social Media for The Musician”.

The conference will be late October at at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza, and St. Francis Auditorium in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 12.52.45 PM.png

The Bells

Here’s an interesting new composition. It’s a piece I wrote for Vocal Essence, “one of the world’s premier choral music organizations” according to their website. They host an annual choral music competition. The guidelines called for a Christmas carol featuring Scandinavia violin and chorus. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline.

I finished the piece of course, and it was selected by the Southeastern Composers League for their annual concert series. And I must say, the Campbell University Chorus conducted by Dr. Phillip Morrow featuring Lucy Greenleaf-Carter on violin did a wonderful!

This piece is a setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells”. The fast moving violin part creates a feeling of nervous energy. It’s intended to sound like snowflakes swirling in the air on a cold Christmas night in the dead of winter. The chorus mimics the sound of bells ringing at the stroke of midnight across a frozen city scape.

Dr. David Mitchell’s Composition “The Bells” to be Performed by Campbell University Chorus

Dr. Mitchell’s original composition, “The Bells” for chorus and violin will be performed by the Campbell University Choir – featuring Lucy Greenleaf-Carter on violin – on Friday, February 19, 2016. “The Bells” was arranged and set to the Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same name.

cu_wordmark_footer_2x

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.36.38 PM

Violinist, Lucy Greenleaf-Carter

Dr. David Mitchell Receives Honorable Mention From the Macro Composers’ Society

Dr. Mitchell’s original composition The Witch’s Hex was given an Honorable Mention at the 2015 Macro Composer’s Society Conference.