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Hello to all YC members!

I am here to announce the November edition of our very own monthly composition competition thingies. As I was thinking about what stimulus I should include for this competition, I looked back through some Lewis Carrol stuff and found the nonsense poem Jabberwocky. I thought this would make a wonderful piece of music, but I never got around to composing it so I have now decided to use it as a set poem for the November competition. First of all, here it is:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

  And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:

  Long time the manxome foe he sought --

So rested he by the Tumtum tree,

  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?

  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'

  He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves,

  And the mome raths outgrabe.

The composition that you enter has to incorporate this poem (or part of it) in the music in any way you like. Whether it's sung or not is up to you though. For instrumentation, you can include at least three and up to eight instruments/instrumentalists. If you decide to use voices, you can use any voice type(s) at all, but no more than four singers a to be included. Lengthwise, I'm looking at something between four and ten minutes, but I will allow a bit of lee-way.

The entrants' works are due on the 27th of January (Mozart's 257th birthday if my calculations are correct) 2012.

The judging will be out of 100.

50 marks for the incorporation of the poem in the music (please note it does not have to be sung)

10 marks for ensemble writing

20 marks for composition technique

20 marks for creativity.

I will be on the judging panel with two other people, so let me know if you want to judge!


1. froglegs

2. Morivou

3. Treehugger1995


1. Der Klavierspieler

2. Austenite

3. Calebhines

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  • 4 weeks later...

As a new member, I don't really know anyone around here, but I've been thinking hard about trying this. I just don't like commitment, so I haven't said anything yet. So far, I've gotten as far as the end of the second stanza, but my bandersnatch isn't sounding very frumious. :-(

My entry would be instrumental-only, using a Wind Quintet + Tuba, Timpani, and Harp. It's been a little while since I've written (much less completed) new music in a non-verse/chorus format from scratch, so I'm floundering around a bit with the structure.

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I'll judge :) unfortunately, this doesn't look like something I'd write (I'm very instrumental, and really don't believe in speaking poetry w/ concert music when it comes to me composing for it, only because it's so annoying the way I have to work with it through finale) But I would LOVE to judge. This is one of my favorite poems :) and don't worry, more contestants will come, they're probably all busy w/ the september contest

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@treehugger1995 I am happily (and gainfully) employed as a professional software engineer, and I'm not looking for composition to be anything more than a side hobby, as long as I enjoy it and have time for it. :toothygrin:

That said, I definitely do understand the importance of competitions and deadlines as ways to improve compositional ability. I've entered several "write & record a song in one week on the following topic" types of contests in the past, and I think the competition section on these forums is a big part of why I signed up.

this doesn't look like something I'd write (I'm very instrumental, and really don't believe in speaking poetry w/ concert music when it comes to me composing for it

Wait a second... did I misinterpret the challenge? I'm usually very instrumental too, and I was taking "incorporate this poem (or part of it) in the music in any way you like" to include merely using descriptive/programmatic music to interpret the poem -- like how Vivaldi pictures bird songs, babbling brooks, and dog barks in Spring, or how Beethoven pictures raindrops and thunder in the Pastoral Symphony. That's more how I was writing this.

Was I interpreting it too loosely? Do the actual words -- either spoken or sung -- have to appear? I guess I could still include a voiceover, but that seems a little tacky. Hmmm... :hmmm: What about like in Carnival of the Animal, where Nash's poems are sometimes read preceding the performance? (Not that my poetry reading is much worth listening too...)

See, now I'm all worried that I'm writing the wrong thing.

EDIT: I think the phrase "If you decide to use voices" in the description contributed to my thinking that an instrumental-only entry would be OK... But now I see that I missed the phrase "use it as a set poem".

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well good for you! you're doing better than I am! If that's so, then write away at your own pace! And I'd think that maybe what you're doing is OK. (although you can't really express anything specific in instrumental music, but we'll KNOW it's about this particular poem). I think that as long as you effectively use musical symbolism to represent the poem, then I would accept it as a judge.

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  • 3 weeks later...

FWIW, I haven't given up on this. Granted, I haven't had a lot of time to work on it in the last month due to lots of year-end overtime at work, but I'm off from now until the 9th :w00t: and I plan to resume working on it (in fact, I just wrote another 15-20 seconds worth of material tonight). I also found a public domain reading of the poem on Librivox that I can use as a voice-over.

It's hard work, but it feels really good to be writing instrumental music again. I just have to make sure I can at least meet the minimum length -- these verse/chorus pop songs I'd been writing recently have completely spoiled me with regards to development. :horrified:

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