After rehearsal and recording session of Colours (in circles)

Last Friday, 12th of January 2018, I had a rehearsal with the Guildhall’s and Royal Academi’s students. They agreed to rehears my work and record it for my upgrade portfolio.

After these two sessions - rehearsal and recording - I have a couple of observations to note.

Main issues:

  • All the musicians were booked in Asimut in late November 2017. However, one of them (the most important, I must say) had an extra rehearsal, booked on that day. This student came to Colour’s rehearsal at 9:00pm (and the rehearsal finished at 10:00pm);
  • The room chosen wasn’t the best room for the recording, in terms of the quality of sound. However, it was the only room available and the only room that it was possible to have the marimba that hour.
  • The main issue was - after all - time. The musicians didn’t have enough time for practicing and rehearsing together. Knowing the piece it’s very important and this didn’t happen because it wasn’t enough time for rehearsing.
  • In the recording session, it was made one hour of rehearsal with everyone and then one hour and thirty minutes rushed recording session. The main problem was, the tempo. The recording was made in sections and everytime that we finished a section the tempo was faster. But, because there isn’t enough time to record we accepted all consequences.  Still, because the performers were not to confident with the part together, the sound it’s to metallic, when should be more soft.

During the rehearsal, in conversation with the participants, I spoted some issues, that in a way, for me, wasn’t an issue but for all the musicians it was. The way that I organised the semiquavers it’s confusing. Instead of groups of 4, 3 & 2 or 4, 2 & 3 they preferred groups of 4 & 4. I changed the parts fore the second half of the rehearsal and recording session.

The final result it’s obviously a workshop-rehearsal-recording session. It’s not perfect but it gave me the opportunity to engage with not only all the logistic that it’s necessary to have the musicians, room, instruments and recording teem; but also with all the people that interviewed in these six hours session. I met new students from Guildhall and solidified old relations with friends and musicians from Royal Academy and from Guildhall as well. In terms of the recording it’s to slow with regular alterations on the tempo, wrong notes and metallic sound. At the end, I felt that we needed a couple of days more for rehears and other couple of days to record. Next stage of Colurs (in circles) it’s a possible live performance in the New Music Society summer term program.


Today, me and a friend (composer) were talking about how as a composer it is possible to put different types of glasses. This was a metaphor that my friend used to said that it is possible for a composer look at different types of music and use its techniques and knowledge to create a new composition. In a way, this is what I am researching.

My friend, referred a painting by Francis Bacon called Study of a Self-Portrait - Triptych, 1985-86 where the author started to make a self-portrait because his friends, people whom he was used to make portraits, died. This tragic event made the author made a self-portrait painting him self with the glasses on of what happened in his life.

About experiences on the 22 October 2017

Last 22nd of October 2017, I wrote, following a theory of Ernst Levy and the opposite pole of a tonality, a harmonic series in its original way and in its opposite pole. The way I wrote it is wrong, because I misunderstand the theory.

The mistake was, I thought that the opposite pole should start on the same note. However, the opposite pole needs to start on the 5th of the scale. So, on the experience of the 24th of October I used the D harmonic series as original and the fundamental of its opposite pole was D. Nonetheless, after know better about levy’s theory I made a new version of the opposite pole of the harmonic series in D, starting no from a D as fundamental but from A as fundamental. With this, I kept the Gerador in A and the Tonic in D.



I started to check some of the chords and passages in the marimba piece I felt less confident. One of those events is on bar 123 until 132. The chords written before were to statics and complying a function without any musical context. So, I decided to improve that section and make it more interesting for me, for the musicians and for the listener. I used melodic lines that are counterpointed with the same melody in a different speed. Also, changing through normal bowing and tremolo in an alternate way between the strings.


At the beginning, I change the first gesture of the piece, using the same motif of the canon with some gaps and repetition of a small fragment of the starting point, almost as an engine starting in a slow way.


With this improvement, I prepare the canon. It feels much more natural.

On bar 176, I followed the advice given by Richard Baker and changed the time signature to 5/8. It feels more simple. However, on bar 190, I kept the time signature as it was. I am assuming it like it is because I need to have the triplets I wrote. Nonetheless, I’m working at this moment on the chords of this section, as I did before with one of the sections on the beginning, this one need to be file.


I thought about Ernest Levy’s A Theory of Harmony where he said that all harmony can exist in any chord and any chord has an opposite pole. So, if the, in a hypothetic way, the harmonic series is a chord it must have an opposite pole.


This opposite pole is made by intervals but also by mathematic calculation. Therefore, for the harmonic series positive pole the formula to know perfectly each partial is Y x Hz, so: 1st partial = 1 x 36.71Hz; 2nd partial = 2 x 36.71Hz; 3rd partial = 3 x 36.71; etc. For the harmonic series negative pole the formula to know perfectly each partial is HZ ÷ Y, so: 1st partial = 1174.659Hz ÷ 1; 2nd partial = 1174.659Hz ÷ 2; 3rd partial = 1174.659Hz ÷ 3; etc.

Using the formula it is possible to have an approximation, in each harmonic series poles of, 1/4; 1/6 or even 1/8


Using your materials

After thinking deeply about my material I concluded that I needed select the most doable material I had written. On the 19th of September I tried to deconstruct it in fragment.

After have a variation of my motif I started to think about a beginning for my piece. I started with the same motif on the violins and viola, in a hight register, then I did a cannon where the motif is played aleatory and the accents are random.


This gesture goes on until the marimba start playing the same motif in random way too.


For this starting point, the main purpose was to have an in-harmonic sonic result with the odd partials of the harmonic series in D in a aleatoric way. However, it became more ambiguous when the violoncellos start to play, this is caused because violoncellos are playing in a hight register which decrease the possibility of a relieve on a fundamental so what we hear is a kind of harmonic partials all random played in a hight register. To do not lose the principal motif, which is been done by the Marimba, I double it on the violoncello 2.


On rehearsal mark E, bar 68, minute 1'44'' I introduced a new gesture which is other variation of my original one. This will let me go a bit down on the register and prepare the solo part of the Marimba.


On rehearsal mark F, bar 78, minute 2'00'' the gesture returned o the first one, still with fragments of the last. At this time, I did a different cannon. First time I did a cannon, was more and less a bar, at this point is only one bit. This gesture will help me to get down a bit more and continue the preparation for the solo marimba part.



Today, I was trying to make a slow and contrasting section, where I might explore harmony and transpositions using the circle of fifths.

So, to do this, I kept the marimba rhythmical pattern motif and I kept, on violoncellos and violas, the rhythm pattern in 7/8. On both violins, I started to write a melodic motif not only stretching the four notes motif I have wrote on the 27/06 an developed on the 11/08, but also with notes of the chords I am using.


After this I realised that the rhythmical engine was losing power. I started to change some long notes for the repetition of the same note using the motif in 5, 2 & 3 or 5, 3 & 2 contrasting with the marimba line. Also, kept the violoncello 2 in pizz, with the quavers of the 6/8 and tried to mixed it with violoncello 1.

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