Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dove-tailed Brass (National Geographic)

This blog is a fun example of dove-tailing in the brass... this is a wonderful technique to use for intros and endings as well as big ramps up to or down from focal points within phrases.

The National Geographic themes intro turned my head the first time I heard it many years ago and I just had to transcribe it. There have been many incarnations of this intro used by the composers for the National Geographic series, my favorite version of the theme was certainly composed by the late great Elmer Bernstein.

                                                    (click once on image for full-size)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Collaboration Quartet (Movements III & IV - Update)

I am grateful and pleased to announce that the final two composers of the third and fourth movements of this Collaboration Quartet project will be Stellita Loukas from Greece and Sergio Pena from Spain respectively.

Please visit their sites at the links below to learn more about these wonderful composers.

Stellita Loukas:

Sergio Pena:

I look forward to adding their movements to our existing movements and completing this Collaboration Quartet with a quartet of such diverse international composers.

This is proving to be a wonderful collaborative experience and if any parties know of possible String Quartets that may be interested in performing the finished quartet, please contact me at my e-mail address with any comments and/or suggestions.

Thank you for your continued interest in this project.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Collaboration Quartet (Movement II)

Composer Florian Behnsen from Germany has composed the second movement "Nott" for this Collaboration Quartet. He was also kind enough to write a brief synopsis regarding his inspiration and creative direction for his movements composition.

"When I heard the initial theme of the first movement I was drawn into a world of mysticism, that had me thinking of my love for Shostakovich's music, eastern european folklore and the endless russian landscapes. My intention was to combine the austere beauty of this single lined melody and contrast it's modern sound with my love for parallel instrumental movement".

"From the theme first stated by solo viola with cello accents I modulated the theme through a set of ancient sounding harmonies and dissonances to more harmonic conclusions using a second theme from the first movement. Gradually this theme is contrasted again by parallel movement using perfect fifths. My intention was to create a connection between old and new. Folklore and mysticism on one side and modernism on the other".

                                                           (Click once on images for full-size)
             Audio File:

Please continue to contact me at if there are more interested composers and
an update regarding the third movement will posted shortly. I am awaiting confirmation that the third movement's composer will be from the beautiful country of Greece.

If you would like to review the first movement that I composed... here is the link:

I am asking that each successive composer interested in contributing to the rest of this project be limited from 2 to 2 and 1/2 minutes in order create their own individual movement. This will allow adequate time in order to link from the previous composers movement in a logical melodic, harmonic and rhythmic manner as well as introducing, developing and resolving their own theme for the next composer to then pick up from. I believe that allotting each composer several weeks to write and submit there own movement should be fair and sufficient.

I would also like to make all aware that the audio and score posts of these movements are not finalized and that they will be thoroughly notated in regards to dynamics, articulations, etc... once the
quartet is completed and ready for actual live performance. Thank you!

Thank you for your interest and for following these blog posts. The post views have now exceeded 20,000 and I am very grateful to all the focused composers and musicians around the globe today for checking them out.

Major, Minor & Augmented Voice Cycles

I thought I would add this one last two voice common tone voice cycle just for good measure.
There are so many starting and stopping points within this sequence allowing for numerous progressions. Enjoy!

                                                             (Click once on images for full-size)

I would also suggest creating more of your own voice cycles along these lines. The massive amount of single note common tone possibilities between various chord types makes this approach virtually endless and well worth the effort. Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Major & Minor Voice Cycles

Here is another wonderful voice cycle... this time moving through all keys using major and minor chords in mediant type movement.

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Please note that your own voicing configurations are encouraged, since the posted one is created
in one clef merely as a demonstration for clarity and ease.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Minor & Augmented Voice Cycles

My previous post demonstrated how suspended 2nd & 4th chords can always share two voices while they are continually modulating through the keys.

I personally call these sequences and/or progressions..."Voice Cycles", for they are based on their ability to re-cycle themselves and not only on conventional voice-leading and common-tone principals.
I absolutely adore the harmonic stability that this technique creates and how easy it is to then create melodic figures over them once they have been established.

This posts example is of another progression(s) utilizing this approach, here it is being applied to minor and augmented chords, this time moving in mediant and symmetrical motions creating a wonderful six chord sequence.

                                        (Click once on images for full-size)

The beauty of this chord sequence is that in essence there are actually six progressions, not just one.
The symmetry of the mediant modulating minor chords and the symmetrical augmented triads allow us to start on virtually any chord as use it as our harmonic center.

I will be posting more of these voice cycles and I hope you find them as enjoyable and beneficial as I have. Enjoy!