This is a project that we were given as part of the first year course. The brief was to write an idiomatic piece for solo flute, including extended techniques.
The process started with a workshop with the performer Rowland Sutherland. In this workshop he showed us all the different extended techniques that can be performed on the flute. For example breath tones, key clicks, tongue rams and harmonics. He also introduced a selection of the different members of the flute family; Piccolo, Concert flute, and Alto flute. This meant that we were aware of all of the different techniques and then able to select the ones we wanted to include in our own pieces.
Once I had heard techniques such as breath tones, harmonics, and varied mouth piece covering, I started to get an idea of the style of piece I wanted to write. I developed my rough ideas into this piece by observing the sounds of nature and the effect of the wind circulating through the rooms and corridors of my flat.
The sounds of the wind ended up being the main idea for the development of my piece. I started by composing an initial score that I felt represented the wind and the movement of it around the flat that I live in. I separated the piece into individual staves that each had their own motif. I then created separate scores for each of the rooms of the flat. I selected extracts from pieces that I had heard my flatmates practising in their rooms.
These are the pieces that I chose to use:
Room 7 Take the A Train – Billy Strayhorn (arranged by Ben Dwyer)
Room 6 Cello suite II BWV 1008 Prelude – J.S. Bach
Room 5 Piano Sonata no.3 in F minor – Schumann
Room 4 First Concertino – Georges Guilhaud
Room 3 Vocal warm up’s (arranged by Catherine Mole)
Room 2 Romance – Svendsen
Room 1 Hectic Beatnik – Mike Mower
After composing the pieces I took them back to another workshop with the performer. Once they had been played through the performer and I discussed changes that might need to be made as well as the addition and alteration of some of my uses of extended techniques. I found that the piece would be a lot more successful with fewer techniques. Therefore I chose to cut down the amount I had originally put into the score.
After submitting my final score I was given the opportunity to have a professional recording session. This was very helpful as it meant that I now have a good quality recording for my portfolio. I really enjoyed the experience of the recording session as it gave me a glimpse of what it is like to work in a professional industry.
I am very pleased with the outcome of this project and very grateful for the opportunity to work with a professional musician and to have a recording made and edited for me.