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Topic: Interpretation of Music
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AuthorTopic:   Interpretation of Music
Registered User

posted: 9/9/2005 at 11:22:33 AM ET
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If you are looking for a resource to assist in the interpretation of music beyond what is written on the page then you may be interested in my new book, "A Composer’s Guide to Understanding Music with Activities for Listeners, Interpreters, and Composers". After a discussion of musical components from the viewpoint of a composer, various activities are presented. Below a few samples of the activities that are designed to help interpreters with adding something special to their performance.

From Chapter II – Timbre - Imagine your or your musician’s part being orchestrated. For example, does the line that is being played on trombone have the character of a typical bassoon line? If so, try to imitate the sound of a bassoon on the trombone. Observe how you change the amplitude over time factor of timbre.

From Chapter X – Melody - Using a piece of music that you are studying, locate the main motifs of the melodies. Observe where the composer develops these motives in your music and emphasize the similarities and differences in your performance.

From Chapter XV – Inspiration - Using a piece of music you are studying, that does not have an extra-musical association, create a story line (detailed program notes) that you feel is appropriate for the piece. You can even put words to important motives. Observe any differences in your performance after doing this.

About the Book:

The purpose of this book is to provide insight into the compositional process to enable listeners, interpreters, and creators of music to advance their skills through a series of guided activities. Listeners can use this book to increase their musical understanding and appreciation. Developing performers, educators and conductors can use this book to gain valuable insights to assist them with interpreting music beyond what is printed on the page. Developing composers can use this book as a beginning text or to help refine their compositional techniques.
Each chapter is divided into descriptive material that includes some discovery activities to assist in the learning process. A CD containing MIDI performances of most of the examples used in the chapters is included. The descriptive material is followed by separate activities for listeners, interpreters, and composers. 74 pages.
Purchase of the book entitles the reader to join a free on-line discussion group that is moderated by the author. It is a place to share experiences, comments and questions regarding subjects that are covered in the book and to respond to other reader’s posts. The author will also contribute to the discussions.

About the Author:

Sy Brandon is a composer, educator, and performer with over forty years of experience. His compositions have received international recognition through competitions, performances, and recordings. His varied educational career has included teaching elementary school instrumental music, university teaching, guest residencies, and adult education as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician throughout the United States. He has authored articles that have appeared in professional journals.


"Sy Brandon's ‘A Composer's Guide to Understanding Music’ is a wonderful and provocative ‘hands-on’ assessment of a subject often viewed as too technical. Readers learn step by step HOW to listen and WHAT to listen FOR in a musical work. There is clarity in Brandon's compilation and the accompanying CD of short musical examples from works by the author/composer clearly illustrates all the topics in the text point by point. More than simply another text on composing, the reader's fascination is propelled forward by the author's enthusiasm and passion for the subject. Highly recommended!"
Robert Levy, Professor Emeritus (Director of Bands), Lawrence University (1979-04)

"Simply put, it’s a good read and it works. You should be commended on your abilities as a writer, educator, and communicator. Your book is great resource and I have enjoyed it very much. Well done!"
Chuck Hulihan, Director of Guitar Programs, Glendale Community College, Guitarist with Duozona

"A Composer's Guide to Understanding Music is an academic yet user-friendly guide for anyone seeking the tools necessary to create original sounds, and provides deeper analysis for listeners who want to better appreciate "art" music. … a very useful reference book that any music teacher, music director, professional or even amateur musician will find helpful."
Larry Coressel, Production Manager, Host of Morning Concert and New Music, Dayton Public Radio

Available from:

Co-op Press, P.O. Box 204, Wrightsville, PA 17368-0204
$20.00 plus $4.00 shipping and handling
Text book adoption copies, bookstore and library discounts available
ISBN 0-9772921-0-X

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