Whirr2006-11-08
The Hymn of Pan

I'm a little leery of putting this up here, because it's really rough. However, only about five people read this, and I often rely on it for archival purposes so I'll add this, my first composition.

The assignment was simply to write 16 bars or so that emphasized the tonic, and then to harmonize the melody. I really enjoyed writing the harmony a lot, but it took me forever to come up with 16 bars of melody! And so many two-measure-bits that went no where, and an awful lot of frustration because I couldn't think of anything and, when I did, it sounded nothing like what I wrote down. I think a large part of the problem is the rhythm--I still have trouble playing a melody if I don't know the it already because I'm not entirely fluent, and so it's no surprise that I have equal troubles writing a melody.

Anyway, I finally grabbed a poem (more or less at random) and tried to set that to music. Dryden worked not at all, and Shelley worked only slightly better.


(click for .pdf)

In class the instructor suggested that one thing to do, if I get stuck, is to write the chords first (which is easy if you want to follow common progression patterns that are listed in books, like I-IV-V-I, &c.) and then adding in only the notes that are present in those chords, and then finally fiddling in the other notes. Now I'm all excited to try again, even though I've just realized that this method won't help me at all with rhythm. Presumably only practice will help with that.

Here's the MIDI file, if you're curious. Just be glad that I didn't make it play the moment you loaded the page, like so worse-than-usual 1995 homepage...

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