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Jamie Whitmarsh

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Jamie Whitmarsh last won the day on July 20 2010

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About Jamie Whitmarsh

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  • Birthday May 27

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  1. I recommend writing chamber music. Work your way up - the orchestra isn't the holy grail that it used to be. If you can write a musically successful chamber piece (say something from 4-9 players, mixed instrumentation), then you're able to manipulate different voices to create a sound that communicates what you want. To me, that's all writing for orchestra is - a different medium to communicate a certain idea, concept, or story. It's just, there are more sounds. So it's scarier :)
  2. Thanks for reviving this topic. I was reading it and all of a sudden saw a post by me. Freaked me out for a second there. I think Lady Gaga needs to show off her talent a bit more in her singles, instead of camping on one note for a while (as I've noticed she tends to do...) She writes a lot of her music, and I definitely respect her for that. Also, I feel like she's been pretty instrumental in the explosion of female-led songs that dominate pop stations now, which is good.
  3. I think that being well-rounded is an important part of being a musician. Having a rudimentary knowledge of aural skills, theory, keyboard skills, singing skills, music history, and instrumentation is crucial towards truly refining your craft. If you're a doctor that plays in a community band once a month, perhaps you don't need anything other than to know how to effectively play your instrument within an ensemble. Likewise, I think that being an effective composer involves being a well-rounded musician. You don't HAVE to have the above skills, but I think it's always a good idea. Why limit yourself by not having skills that can be useful? Often when I hear a new piece of music, I try to envision how it would be notated in my mind. I dictate it mentally, and that helps me keep track of what's going on, what's being repeated, etc. etc. To sum up my response - having respect for your craft enough to have a decent, well-rounded skillset is important. Wam-Bam out
  4. With Percussion: * Make notation consistent and logical. If you use treble space e for the suspended cymbal, do so for the entire piece. * 4 mallet-writing: Play the part on the piano, using your pinkies and thumbs of each hand. If you can do it, then it probably works for us range wise. Remember that although on piano you can play something in your right hand like Eb with an A above it rather easily, for us we have to move our entire arm. So alternating rapidly between something like Eb/A and E/Bb in one hand does not work. * Instrument changes: Give us at least a measure to change instruments. Longer if we're changing mallets. * Timpani - pick 4 pitches that you need and stick there. Then if you need to change pitches, have us change one drum at a time. The exception should be re-tuning drums - it shouldn't be that often. * Part divisions - Try to assign each percussionist one or two instruments that they always play. Something like Bass Drum usually has to be shared, so try to keep one person on that if it is a substantial enough part. * Number of instruments: if we have to get out 11 instruments, please have us play all 11 instruments. Nothing is worse than getting out 6 tom-toms for one measure.
  5. I'm sure you've obtained a rather solid grasp of what this site is about while posting the 5 other posts in the two weeks you've been here. :whistling:
  6. Hey guys, the deadline for this is pretty soon....You should definitely enter this if you are eligible. :) Jamie
  7. Are you meaning Ionian Mode? I don't want to keep throwing out terms, everyone's done that, but do you mean "Why do a lot of composers write in Ionian mode and stay there?" Are you questioning the lack of chromaticism in some people's writings? I think the reason for that is that it seems harder to use chromatism effectively when you've first started composing. It's much easier to write tonal music, or music in the 'Ionian' mode, and feel successful. Is that what you're getting at?
  8. I would just like to point out that (as far as I know) most composers of "art music" rely largely on commissions for their composition output. If you're good at this then you probably try to glean as much information from the commissioner as possible on what they want from you. So even writing "art music" for some form of payment makes it "commercial". Furthermore, how did Mozart make a living? It wasn't creating works of art (i.e. "Mozart - You have created this wonderful piano sonata, here's 50 pounds!), it was creating music for whomever his patron was at the time (this music may or may not have had artistic intent, but it was still created for a purpose other than the sole creation of music.) And for those of you that rail against pop music for "sounding all the same", have you listened to all 41 of Mozart's symphonies straight in a row? If so, then I'm sure you'll be able to recall which is which immediately, as they all have completely different feelings and moods and artistic motives to each them. :)
  9. 1. Saying some isn't an artist because they don't write their own music is knd of ridiculous. Does a symphony orchestra performing Mahlers 3rd fail to be art because Mahler himself is not playing it? 2. I am not sure if Lady Gaga writes all of her own music or not, but I do know she has written a lot of songs for ther artists as well as herself. So....What you just did was claim that the music that you personally like is art, and that music that you personally hate is not art.
  10. I never think of the performer as the intermediary. I think a performer adds to the piece what the composer cannot. This holds especially true for me with smaller works. Larger ensembles are a bit easier to say "I want exactly this or that" but I think other human beings are a vital ingredient. I am a percussionist, and I've recently hit the thought of "Should I stop studying this instrument at a high level?" I'm not really sure what to do...
  11. Oddly enough, I've tended to stay away from the more "established" (for lack of a better word) composers - composers on this site that give me the strong impression of experience and musical maturity. Whatever I have to say is probably going to benefit someone who's younger musically, and typically younger music doesn't stick as well. I also try to check out music of those who have checked out mine. So I can't actually say musically here what anyone in specific has done. I do know that my music is far more mature now than it was when I first came here, like 8 years ago? And so I'm interested to see how all those 'younger' musicians whose works I've commented on will be once they start diving in head-first (if they choose to pursue composition). I know personality-wise, there are quite a few people here that really keep me thinking.
  12. I think for me it's been working with form, and really learning how to organically weave my music together, instead of just throwing every idea I ever have into a piece.
  13. I think my first goal is to make the score as clear as possible. It doesn't matter if YOU understand that you want this to be a certain way, if it is in any way confusing or unclear then that will ultimately slow down the process a bit. For orchestral readings at OCU, I try to over-notate things, so it's easier on the first read. That's usually Dr. Knight's advice, and it's very useful when you only have a limited amount of time to try to procure a decent performance the first time the group reads through something. I used to notate less, and not care so much, and say "I'll let the performer do what he or she thinks" but I've gradually been more precise, as performers were going all over the map with stuff. As I get more performances, I will be more than happy for people to play my pieces in ways I never intended, but for premier performances, I would like for it to be as close as possible to how I want it. I will say this - I try to explain as much as possible in the performance notes, especially if there are general rules throughout the piece. If I can take something out of the actual score and put it into text before the piece even starts, I try to do that.
  14. I think the Joan of Arc bit was a wee bit too far in imitation. But I'm saying that as if I were the one in the composer's shoes, not as a statement as to what he should have done. If I had been handed the scene with the temp track as "Carmina Burana" I would have had the choir, the ostinato, etc. However, I wouldn't have written so close to the original in terms of phrase length. As has been stated, though, no one here can know exactly what parameters were placed on the composer, and even then, my personal taste (which would be to be a bit less directly imitative) is my own.
  15. Organized sound over time. The problem I have with SSC's definition is that if we're in the same space and both exposed to the same piano piece - it doesn't stop being music just because I'm not listening to it, any more than it becomes music when I pay attention to it. I didn't read over the entire thread, so this may have been addressed, but to me the 'definition' of music should be something that doesn't have to change circumstantially. Let's look at the three parts of my definition: Organized: The degree of organization doesn't necessarily matter; just the fact that it IS organized will suffice. It doesn't have to be organized to where it can be notated, or any form of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, etc. sound: Music is an aural occurrence. The nature of the sound does not matter, but the presence of some form of sound does. over time: As a sound occurs, it must occur over what we perceive as time. No matter how short the sound used is, it has some form of duration. This may be a bit redundant, since sound having some form of duration is self-evident, but I think it emphasizes the inherently temporal nature of music. I think the biggest thing to consider is that not all music has harmony, nor melody. If you look at my percussion duet, you can see there is no pitched content (there are, however, crotales - they do not serve a melodic function any more than do the bongos.) If one's definition of music is contingent at all upon presence of harmony or melody, then it is inherently flawed. One could argue that music needs to have rhythm, where even the most a-rhythmic beating is rhythm, but most often it seems we associate rhythm with some sort of organizational way of classifying and perceiving durations of sounds.
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