T.J. Bergquist 04/08/12 1st Musical Composing As a child, I always enjoyed listening to music, and fantasized about having a musicalcareer. Now that I am older, this passion has augmented, and has shaped the majority of myfuture goals and aspirations. For my senior project, I composed a musical piece for my seniorproject. From the very beginning of studying for this project, I ended up discovering a great dealthat helped me in my creation process. When I began researching how to compose a musicalpiece, my research paper reflected my intent on making my composition a choral piece. At thetime, I spent many hours looking up specifics on topics such as vocal part assigning, vocal partarrangement, and ways to incorporate dynamics. As my idea for the piece shifted to instrumentalcomposition, the principles from my research ironically helped prepare me more for instrumentalwriting. First of all, by studying dynamics, I began to notice a variety ways to change my piecesmusical pull to give it more depth. Though I intended to utilize dynamics vocally, it transferredvery nicely to the instrumental music creation process. Additionally, through study of readingmusic, I ended up becoming considerably more comfortable with actually writing my music out.Though my research was not directly related to my senior project, it ultimately made my musicalpiece a much better final product. After a great deal of contemplation on what my song would be like and research on
different musical styles and techniques, I began creating a piano piece that I named "WintersLament." After deciding on creating a piano piece, finding more room for growth in becoming abetter piano player with my project, my original idea of creating an uplifting vocal piece evolvedinto a more somber instrumental work. By using personal experience and inspiration from someof my favorite musical artists, "Winters Lament" essentially became the first piano piece I havewritten. After simply discovering a few chords on my Wulitzer piano at home, what my projectis a piece that I initially wrote more for myself than for my project. Last winter, I had begun to listen to more somber music, finding a certain level ofsincerity and simplicity that I observed less often in more upbeat pieces. Though I am by nomeans an excellent piano player, I started to try different chords on the piano to come up with astrong solemn sound. This mainly stemmed from an appreciation I have for artists thatcommunicate positive life messages from negative personal experience. As a musician, Iconstantly search for artists that write music with honesty. For that reason, I decided that Ishould pursue creating sincere music as well. This process began as entirely informal, as I casually tried a variety of different chordcombinations over the course of two weeks. After I tested a number of chords, I eventuallysettled with a progression in the key of d minor. When I wrote the song, I intended to add wordsto the piano part and put it onto Finale, my music writing software. I wanted to do this at first sothat I could have Mrs. Wallace, Creekviews chorus teacher and my facilitator, review the pieceand later teach it to one of Creekviews choirs. However, as I began layering the song withdifferent riffs and chord changes, I started to think the song would sound better without words.With multiple alternating melodies in the song, I felt that more power would be established froma purely instrumental piece. After constructing the few main chords in an attempt to create a
simple progression, I started to find ways to have melody come in and out of the song so that itwould add, not take away from the piece. By making attempts to make the song more complexat parts for musical movement, my talents at playing piano were really pushed. This created aninteresting barrier between what I could write and what I could play. For this reason, before Iobtained Finale, the process of writing "Winters Lament" was chained by my ability to play thepiano. Due to my reliance on my piano for my first steps in writing my song, after I receivedmusic writing software, the writing process changed a surprising amount. After I got Finale inthe mail, I started to transfer my song from what I had strictly remembered. Despite havingtaken chorus for two years and having played multiple instruments, designating time signatures,key signatures, and determining rhythms for writing my song down was incredibly tedious. Atone point while writing my music down, I had to constantly go back and forth between differenttime signatures to get the precise speed I wanted the song to be played in. However, though Iexperienced setbacks with writing the music on Finale, I was able to make the music much moreinteresting now that I did not have to rely on my ability as a piano player. With this leeway, Iended up writing a variety of melodic parts for the piece differently. This emphasized how muchmy piano skill limited my creativity with writing the song. However, all factors aside, Ieventually finished writing the song on Finale, keeping the ending chords the same as I hadcreated them on the piano. Creating this piece was proved very challenging to both my patience and musical ability.Though I did the majority of the project on my own and drew from personal experience, myfacilitator, Mrs. Wallace, aided me tremendously. Though there were very few times I talkedabout the piece with her, while I was in All State tryouts, practicing for honors chorus, and
singing in class, my ability to comprehend music met new heights after spending time with her.Though I have a relatively natural feel for music, technically speaking I am very new to musicalconcepts. With helping me identify incorrect pitch changes by ear and helping me develop myability to sight read, my project was made remarkably easier. The irony I find in this is that itwas the indirectness of her aiding me throughout my writing process that, in consummation,helped more than direct attention could have. Not only was she incredibly patient, butadditionally an immense help in making my instrumental piece. Through all of the obstacles in my senior project, I truly have learned a great deal. Thisof course applies in a very direct way, being the first professionally formatted piece I have evercreated. Writing "Winters Lament" has strongly helped me become a better musician, and hasalso confirmed my desire to pursue music as an actual career. In result of my passion for thesubject matter I selected for my project, I realized something more personal as well. Throughmost of my school career, I have had few classes or subject matter that I have felt any particularanimation towards. Through writing music I realized that, whether the occupations associatedwith this career path are profitable or not, I deeply enjoy music. For this reason, I have everyintention of pursuing music in the future. After months of creating my musical piece, I developed not only a better ear for music,but became better at constructing and arranging music as well. Through in depth research, Iascertained how to manipulate sound rises and falls in music to add emotional value to my piece.In concurrence with me not having the proper software to create the piece at the outset, Idiscerned a variety of methods to explore music and its conception. With the help of Mrs.Wallace, not only did the piece become presentable, but also well founded on previous musicalexperience. By exploring my love for music, I realized that it is more than worth it to take risks,
because leaving your comfort zone can mean discovering something you truly enjoy. I hope thatall of you find facets in your lives that capture your attention, and that you embrace new ideas.They can change your life in a very real and sincere way. Thank you for your time. Do youhave any questions?