Site Search

Other Resources
News Archive

Search Forums:
  Pieces for more unsual instruments & titles  Team Gaughan at 08:53 on 20 March 2009

The Forums on here are wonderful.

I have stated a piece for bass clarinet and piano, I love the instrument and it was going to be a cello piece originally, but as its not commisioned and for my own 'fun' I decided to write for bass clarinet. I am also writing a short piece for Timpani and piano which led me to think about the more unsual instruments and any thoughts and suggestions and comments. Have you ever written a piece for contrabass clarinet for example?

And how about titles, thats always interesting

  Re: Pieces for more unsual instruments & titles  MartinY at 09:51 on 20 March 2009

I had mentioned the concertina in another context. Some 'orphan' instruments which composers rarely write for are concertina, accordion and banjo.

Prokofiev wrote a large orchestrated cantata which involved 6 accordions. Unfortunately it could not be performed because Prokofiev did not know Stalin divided folk instruments into deserving proletarian instruments and undeserving gypsy instruments and might have had fatal objections to the accordion.

I have just realised why my scanner when I put in Spanish polyphony produces an initial playback on banjo band, which actually makes quite a nice sound for renaissance polyphony with more than six parts. It is because the Spanish name for the bass part is 'bajo' hence it thinks it is a piece for banjos.

  Re: Pieces for more unsual instruments & titles  Team Gaughan at 11:27 on 20 March 2009

the accordian is one of my favorite instruments too. I have a friend who is an incredible player. He performed a piece by Sofia Gubaidulina- De Profundis for solo accordian, truely magnificent piece.

I am also rather fond of a guitar, harp mandolin combination, I have written a piece for harp and mandolin but of course end up with a second version for flute and piano as perfromances are rare. In another post I mentioned I love the combination of paino, harp, harpsichord and guitar and one day would like to write a song cycle for piano, harpsichord and voice

  Re: Pieces for more unsual instruments & titles  MartinY at 10:45 on 21 March 2009

Yesterday I was listening to a baroque piece for 2 violins, sackbut (trombone), and continuo by Bertali. It reminded me of when I used to perform the repertoire for precisely this combination, (as a continuo player). It is sometimes forgotten that the 'heavy' brass instruments, trumpet and trombone can be really effective in small chamber music though I am sure there is lots of successful music out there now, it is still worth thinking about.

As Team Gaughan said you can chose your 'exotic' ensemble, write very idiomatically and make a conventional ensemble version for more regular use. I have found you often learn something from making a transcription. Though it can be an automatic process it can be as creative as you want to make it. (I was rather impressed by the sound of the authorised transcription of Schoenberg's Verkalarte Nacht for piano trio. I tuned into it unknowing and was very intrigued what this very familiar but simultaneously unknown piano trio was.)

  Re: Pieces for more unsual instruments & titles  piargno at 20:44 on 22 March 2009

Here are some select "odd combination" pieces I have an titles:

1) "G. Profundis" for violin/castanets, and piano/theremin (listen in my showcase page!)
2) "2 Erhu Miniatures" for soprano, flute, erhu, harp
3) "Momentarily" for 3 B-flat clarinets (not odd instruments, but odd combination maybe?)
4) "Ohkyanos" for Bass clarinet, trumpet/2 Alphorns, percussion, violin, cello, soprano, piano/accordion

And I have some miniatures for 2 flutes and viola, but those are old. Everything has been performed except for "Ohkyanos" and the fl/vla miniatures. But neither have gotten repeat performances. :-(

I almost had a piece performed for alto flute, electric banjo, and cello, but I never wrote the piece. Then I started arranging "Bohemian Rhapsody" for 5 cellos, and never finished. Now I'm kicking myself ...