Monthly Archives: May 2019

Almanac Sketches

Almanac_Kevin_Laskey_at_UniLu09649With the premiere of Almanac coming up tomorrow, I wanted to share some sketches and other goodies from the piece. If you’re curious about nerdy composer stuff, read on!

Movement III – Oystercatchers in Flight

The first part of Almanac that I wrote was a setting of Eamon Grennan’s poem “Oystercatchers in Flight,” which is now the third movement. To help constrain my pitch choices, I used some *gasp* serial technique! I can’t say that I use it a lot, and Schoenberg and Babbitt wouldn’t be too happy about how I used it here, which is to say relatively un-systematically.

A lot of the pitches in the movement are derived from this twelve note chord (labeled P0 in this first sketch).IMG_1485

The chord features a lot of different colors that I like—stacked fifths, whole tone segments, and this kind of major-7 with a sharpened/distorted octave on top. From there, I started writing the vocal line, which you can see in this second sketch.IMG_1486

The first segment uses pitches from that original chord, but the later segments were written much more intuitively. After writing the line, I figured out serially-derived alterations of the main chord that would more-or-less fit the different melodic segments, which you can see in the third sketch.IMG_1487

With all of those materials in place, it became a matter of writing lines that fit the harmonic plan and helped place the voice in the middle of a cold but kinetic landscape, like in this score example.Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 12.22.26 PM Continue reading

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