Late Nights at the Mic

By Denim Dave, via Flickr. Some rights reserved.
By Denim Dave, via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Last night, our Composition Studio finished its second night of recording two-minute compositions to be used in the Tone Poem contest for a film festival called Project Accessible Hollywood. In this contest, composers write a short piece based on the theme “Scratching the Surface.” Then, filmmakers create a video based upon their interpretation of the music.

My piece, “Silken Brass,” is scored for string trio, trombone, and vibraphone. Between a couple short rehearsals and the recording, the most enjoyable part about working with the musicians was the ability to play with timbre, something that is next to impossible on a notation program. For example, many of the phrases in this piece are played by multiple instruments but are colored by different articulations or instrumentation. The climax of the piece, for instance, features a duet with violin and trombone that is colored by interjections of that melody with Bartók pizzicato in the cello.Although the Tone Poem contest has given me the opportunity of basking in a composer’s dream-world of allowing the music to come first in a film production (which is hardly the case), the Filmmaker’s Challenge, I am sure, will be the reality check I need for even a vague interest in the film industry. In this component of PAH FEST, teams of filmmakers and composers are given the meticulous guidelines for a 5 minute film relating to the theme “Not of this World.” Online voting for PAH FEST will take place on Sunday, September 29th, so be sure to view the videos and cast your vote!

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