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I just finished up my Christmas composition project.  Here's a two minute piece on the topic of "you need to define a thing to be able to think about a thing, so that you have a word to attach your thoughts to."  Apparently blue is the last color to gain a word in any language.  There are still languages that haven't evolved a word for the concept of "blueness" yet.  One theory is that color words appear as we need to be able to distinguish between things that we want to buy, sell, or trade:  "Yeah, I can make you a new deer skinning knife.  What color do you want the handle to be?"  "Blue."  Because blue paints and dyes are relatively difficult to produce, compared with other colors, cultures don't develop a word for "blue" until they are pretty advanced.  The cultures that don't have a word for it, interestingly have a hard time seeing and thinking about it as well.  Scientists have done experiments where they have say, three green squares and one blue one, and ask these language users to pick out the square that is not like the others, and people have a very difficult time with the task.  It seems that our brains need a word to attach a concept to in order to think about the concept.  We need to think using our interior monologue.  Actual language has to be running inside or outside of our heads in order for us to think in any meaningful way.  It's an explanation for why you can't do basic math and listen to someone having a conversation involving numbers at the same time.  So get out there and learn the names of things, any kinds of things, and your basic thought processes will deepen.  

I'd suggest that you open the score while you listen so you can see how the text fits the notes, or click the youtube link below.  It has the score scrolling along behind the music.  And I used a harp sound instead of piano, because all the piano sound fonts that come with my composition software are pretty clunky, but I do intend this to be piano accompaniment.  Thanks for listening and I'd love to hear any thoughts about this piece!

Furtak-Semantic.mid

 

Edited by pateceramics
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I like this quite a bit! It has a very nostalgic and organic quality to it. The only thing I was left wanting was perhaps some more dynamic variation, or rubato at key moments, although I realize this is mainly the fault of MIDI and something that would come about naturally if performed by a real choir. I sang along with the bass part and had no trouble sight-reading, so the difficulty should be manageable for any choir you give this to.

I think the subject of the piece, and the text (which you wrote, I presume?) are very accurately represented by the music. The concept behind the work, the non-universality of the language we use to describe the world around us, is a very interesting thing to think about. Great work overall!

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Thanks so much for taking a listen, Ryan.  I considered adding some more dynamics to the score, but I do generally like to leave a pretty clean slate for the director to fill, unless there is something that really obviously needs to be a certain dynamic.  Things always get adjusted for the performance space and the particularities of the group anyway, so why dictate?  

I'm glad the bass line was an easy read for you.  I wanted this to be a quick piece to learn at the last minute to fill a hole in a concert program, since it's already so short, and has the piano solo for a bit of it.  I felt like the topic of the text could be an interesting addition to a number of concert themes, so it made sense to open the difficulty level up and make it something accessible.  It's hard to get buy-in from directors as an unknown composer.  They can't afford to waste rehearsal time on something that won't work out and it makes them look unprofessional to introduce a piece that then has to be scrapped.  So having a good portfolio of easy pieces to recommend that fit a variety of themes feels like a good idea.  

Thanks for your comments!

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