Assignment 5 – Tutor feedback

Herewith a link to the feedback received from my tutor Douglas Seville for Assignment 5, which also gives me important feedback on the first draft of my Critical Review:

Amy Balcomb (510035) Level 2 Composition Assignment 5 Tutor Report

The main points that I took from this feedback relating to the composition were as follows:

1. To create variation in the assignment, I should remove the piano part from the piece at certain points – my revision sees this occur in bars 25-33 and bars 73-80.

2. Contrast when I reintroduce the principal theme at bar 41 by changing the arrangement – my revision sees changes to the groupings of instruments playing, specifically trumpets and alto sax ONLY playing the theme at bar 41, and then the alto sax and 2nd trumpet playing the theme between bars 49-56.

3. Dynamics and their notation – instructions need to be more accurate and show implicitly to the performer the rate of crescendo with the application of a start and end dynamic mark before and after each crescendo mark.  In the revised version of this composition, I went through ALL the dynamics in each part to ensure the accuracy of each marking.

4. I should only apply bar numbers to the start of staves not every 4 bars – the revised score shows this change and bar numbers only feature at the start of every system.

5. I should be clearer about the performance directions in respect of staccatos throughout – I decided to remove the ‘sempre staccato’ instruction in the revised score and applied staccatos to all notes throughout the string bass part.  I was also mindful to remove staccatos from long notes and instead replace these with either shorter notes and rests, or leave the implied shortness altogether.

6. I hadn’t left enough time for the trumpets to apply their mutes prior to bar 17 and had them playing right up to that bar.  I also needed to ensure that I was implicit about the ‘open’ instruction at bar 28, as I had only indicated this against the 1st trumpet part and not the 2nd.  I decided to remove both instructions (the mute and open) from the score in  the end, as I felt I didn’t need to employ them as means of demonstrating that I knew the trumpets were capable of a different effect.  The music dictated this, and the overall balance I wanted to create at these points in the score are still achieved without the mutes being used.

7. I had written for four trumpets instead of two in a couple of sections, namely bars 15 & 16, and bars 55 & 56.  I simply forgot how many parts I was writing for and thought originally it would be nice to split the harmony out.  With only two trumpets, of course, I can’t do this and my revised score sees the harmony split with only two notes played between the trumpets in these bars and not four.  An oversight that I feel came from spending a lot of time in the score and getting ‘blinded’ by it all.

I also had some feedback relating to my reflective commentary and critical review:

8) I should be more specific in naming the tonality of bar 117 and offer an explanation of how the new theme differs from the principal theme – this I will do in my revised RC.

9) I should provide a sketch for the harmonic construction of the work; I will put a separate post on my blog to explain the five-chord jazz progression I have used.

10) I should review the last paragraph of my description of the work, which I will do in my revised RC.

11) I need to make my Critical Review longer, which was no surprise as I had initially read the word count incorrectly.

12) I need to extend my analysis of Barber’s ‘Adagio’ to discuss his use of suspensions.

13) I have various presentation issues to correct for the Review that I will look at; I have to make sure all instruments, clefs and key signatures are included to ensure analysis is easier to do.

14) I must make sure I give suitable examples of parts of my compositions if I quote it in the text.

It felt like a lot of areas to work on with the feedback I received, but I will go through everything carefully, starting with the 5th assignment and get everything revised as per the suggestions given.

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