Second year undergraduate student Kitty O’Neal reports on a recent composition workshop.
Composition Workshop A (a BA Music module available to 2nd and 3rd year students) has three assignments – ‘Constraints’, ‘Rhythm’ and and a free composition at the end of the semester. Following our ‘Constraints’ challenge of writing a composition using only 4 pitches, we are now in the midst of composing for body percussion and non-singing voices. We met to perform and record our ideas so far with Ben and, with objects ranging from kitchenware to a bicycle, certainly heard a variety of pieces.
We took turns to perform and conduct each other’s compositions in small groups, some taking a ‘Stomp’ inspired approach using household objects such as paper, pens, saucepans and bags, and others using the voice and body in various ways.
Mara Zimmermann, using props such as a packet of crisps, created a soundscape inspired by the irritating sounds of students eating, tapping and coughing in the library, whilst Alex Murphy used a table, a saucepan filled with coins and speech to recreate the sounds of the London Underground.
A challenging part of this assignment is that you can’t hear how your composition will sound as you are writing it (unlike other compositions where you can get an idea from playing it or using the correct instruments on Sibelius) so the workshop was really helpful to experience what sounds and ideas would work in a live performance.