Sunday, June 21, 2009

titles

Sometimes I have trouble coming up with titles. I generally favor programmatic titles ("Travels"), rather than genre titles ("String Quartet No. 1"), so I make this process hard for myself.

The rock band piece that I recently finished became Six Textures for Rock Quartet. This is primarily a genre title, but at least it tells you that there will be six movements, and the emphasis will be on texture. It was the best I could come up with for that one.

The flute duet became Searching for Coincidences. I named this after some debate (and opening it up to my Facebook friends). In the end, I felt that this title best reflected the effect of performing the piece - both players choose different paths, and they may or may not be playing notes from the same chord. On the (likely) rare occasions that they do play the same chord, it will seem like a coincidence. I don't know how it will work/sound until after the premiere!

I wrote a quick piece for viola and vibraphone titled Mirror Universes. This is another indeterminate piece, in which each musical "cell" can be read in treble or alto clef. The instruments try to emulate each other - vibraphone with no pedal emulates pizzicato, string harmonics emulate bowed vibraphone bars, etc. Each cell will be played by both players, a 7th apart due to reading in different clefs. I feel that they will be in their own little "world" or universe, but there will be many recognizeable reflections. Hence, the mirror. It also alludes to sci-fi, particularly Star Trek. I find that cheesy in general, but at least this reference is subtle!

Now I am trying to title my percussion trio. Due to the instrumentation (ocarina, conch shell, melodica, stones, shaker, log drum, drums, pebbles, paper/plastic bags, frog guiro), I am picturing primitive cultures in the Andes (pre-Inca). I don't know much about those cultures, and this is not directly inspired by any music, just alludes to something primitive and organic. Researching online, I learned about Inca beliefs, including their name for Mother Earth, "Pachamama." I love that word, but I fear that as a title, people may consider it humorous, which is not my intent. Any thoughts?

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