Monday, November 19, 2001

My most recent pet project (read: thing to do when I don't want to write my history paper) is a reworking of the MIDI accompaniment to the Ewazen trumpet sonata (written in 1995). Last spring, I created the basic MIDI file which would allow a trumpet player to perform the Ewazen with a faux piano player. This version is still in frequent use at Virginia Tech, and is similar to the accompaniments I did for the Kennan and the Hindemith sonatas. This weekend, I spent about seven hours with the first movement of the Ewazen, adding dynamics and pedals, and generally making the MIDI accompaniment sound as close as possible to the Gekker-Ewazen recording (the definitive edition, in my opinion). The reasons for creating these types of accompaniments are varied: it helps me achieve a level of familiarity with the harmonies that I would not have had by just listening to the score, it allows me to practice the piece as if I had an accompanist, and it gives me something to procrastinate with.

The transcribing of the notes was a tedious process in Finale, but the most monotonous part was adding pedal effects and dynamics to each note of the part. The first movement alone is about seven minutes long -- you can hear excerpts of my accompaniment recording in MP3 format (1.9MB).

I really need to start studying for the listening exam in earnest. I've done lots of informal listening, but very little structured studying. Strangely, I can tell which movement is being performed for any given Mozart or Haydn symphony, but I still get confused on the symphony numbers. I always thought it'd be more difficult to remember things the other way around. Yesterday, I studied the Goldberg variations and the Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas, and now I can't get that rickety harpsichord sound out from under my skin. The sound of a harpsichord is like a woodpecker crossbred with a termite, with your sanity as the wood.

I've gotten into watching the show, Alias, on Sundays now. It started off fairly cheesily but it's starting to get interesting. Of course, another TV show to get hooked on is just what I need. They overdo it a bit with the faux techno soundtrack but the gadgets and the plots are pretty neat.

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