# Sarah Jean Sknerski In A Senior Honors Composition Recital

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1 Sarah Jean Sknerski n A Senior Honors Composition Recital An Honors Thesis (HONRS 499) By Sarah J Sknerski Dr Keith Kothman Thesis Advisor Ball State University Muncie ndiana November December

2 Table of Contents Abstract Program Notes A ntroduction B China suite 1 Little Moon 2 Wine Mad Thunder C Go By D Apology E One F 24 Hours G n My Hands H El Eria e Mor (A Star Rises Out of Darkness) Chaconne for Violin and Tape Composer's Reaction V Acknowledgements V Bibliography V Appendix Music for Acoustic Works A Go By B One C E1 Eria e Mor D Chaconne

3 Abstract A Senior Composition Recital is a requirement of all Music Engineering Technology majors at Ball State University t demonstrates the development of a student as a composer throughout the duration of the program t is a culminating event that allows friends peers family and faculty to observe a student's progress while studying music at Ball State Students are not only required to compose traditional acoustic works but also electronic music Electronic compositions involve various methods of sound synthesis manipulation and design Elements such as gesture texture and form are part of all types of musical composition This thesis contains an extended version of the program notes that were distributed at the concert performance on November t also contains insight into the compositional process such as inspiration and technical methods learned Also included is a reaction by the composer of the works presented and the process of creating a recital 2

4 Program Notes ntroduction There were a variety of sources that inspired me to compose the pieces did the music of other composers professors and books Each piece has its own story Each piece also was created by the technical knowledge learned each semester by a number of professors China Suite This electronic music piece was created as a final project for Mumet 27 under the instruction of Dr Keith Kothman as well as a creative project for Dr Laurie Lindberg's Honors 189 class The honors global studies class included the study of China and have long been interested in music of the east To create this piece manipulated samples of Chinese guitar and percussion in programs such as SoundHack Peak and Kontakt t was sequenced in Digital Performer This piece is divided into three movements: Little Moon Wine Mad and Thunder They are titled after the folk song that inspired the movement Although Thunder uses instrument samples native to china it is actually inspired by Kodo drumming of Japan n my years as a Ball state student have studied eastern culture especially music have done research in several honors classes on the topic such as western influence on Japanese music and female musicians in Japan n the global studies class that this piece was used as a creative project for several nonwestern cultures were

5 studied through literature n Women of the Silk we studied Chinese culture n Mumet 27 we studied several sound synthesis and manipulation techniques that were used in this piece The foremost is granular synthesis n programs such as Thonk Cecilia and Kontakt this knowledge was turned into application Cecilia is a front end for Csound in which the composer can use modules to manipulate or create sound used granular synthesis modules such as Stretcher and Warper in this program Kontakt has its own plugins for granular synthesis These are "Tone Machine" and "Time Machine" Kontakt also allows MD control of sounds manipulated Using Kontakt sounds can be altered over time within the program itself These tools were a foundation for composition With a creative project in mind and the technical requirements for another class feel that this piece was very successful t is a rather unique combination of traditional Chinese folk music and electronic music Go By This acoustic work for Violin and Cello was composed during my second semester of study with Dr David stern t is in ternary form with the "A" sections being in D major and in a fuguelike form and the "B" section is in A minor often listen to film scores as inspiration for my music The "B" section of this piece was inspired largely by the soundtrack to the film Pearl Harbor composed by Hans Zimmer Go By was performed by Tyler Gillon cello and the composer on violin

6 Apology This was my first electronic piece and was completed as a final project for Dr Harchanko's Mumet 25 class t is meant to be somewhat humorous as the speech samples are examples of the many humorous things said while tracking a CD "'m sorry" tends to be the most common thing caught on tape The sounds were created and manipulated using Max/MSP Kontakt and Peak t was sequenced in Digital Performer (DP) n this class we spent a great deal of time discussing form texture and gesture t was my intention to create a piece that was building in complexity with sections separated by a specific sound The "cricket" sounds are the separating force inbetween the text The text gets more complex as the piece progresses with more density and more phrases One This is the first piece ever composed at Ball State t was written under the direction of Dr David Stern t begins in Dorian mode but floats to a variety of keys As a violinist wanted to compose a piece similar to a Romantic era violin sonata As a first try feel this piece was a success 24 Hours A good friend and former professor of mine Adrienne Jones inspired this piece As a class project for Honors 199 her students were instructed to keep a journal of every technology they interacted with in a 24 hour period They almost invariably began with an alarm clock While composing this piece not only thought of 5

7 the technologies we interact with but the confusing and overwhelming way in which everything we do and hear within a day comes at us Sometimes the real world seems more like a bad dream To create this piece the sounds that were sampled were manipulated in Kontakt Peak SoundHack and Metasynth t was sequenced in DP n My Hands This piece is based on text excerpts from the book n My Hands by rene Gut Opdyke; it was required reading for Dr Lindberg's Honors 20 in spring 200 The book is a powerful memoir of a Polish girl who not only survived the Holocaust but also rescued several people from the Nazi's in Poland rene was a nursing student when Germany and Russia simultaneously attacked Poland She worked in a Russian hospital for a while before escaping back to Poland Once in her native land once more the Nazi's took her and her sister to work as waitresses for the highranking officials There she was able to feed people in the nearby Jewish ghetto as well as overhear the Nazi party's plans for them She later was housekeeper for Major Rugemer She smuggled several of the Jews she worked closely with into his basement and saved their lives The imagery included in the moving story was inspiration for a piece The most prevalent was the imagery of a bird symbolizing freedom and a need to escape t also was the image she used to replace something much darker Some of the excerpts used in the piece are included as follows: 6

8 There was a bird flushed up from the wheat fields disappearing in a blur of wings agains;:: the sun and then a gunshot and it fell to the earth But it was not a bird t was not a bird and it was not in the wheat field but you can't understand what it was yet How can tell you about this war? How can say these things? f tell you all at once first this happened and then this and these people died and those people lived and then it was over you will not believe me Sometimes wonder if these things cold have happened Was it me? Was that girl me? Was really there? Did see this happening? n the war everything was unnatural and unreal We wore masks and spoke lines that were not our own This happened to me and yet still don't understand how it happened at all (Opdyke 1) The war was a series of choices made by many people Some of those choices were as wicked and shameful to humanity as anything in history But some of us made other choices made mine (Opdyke 25) The text is read by Tiara Wuethrich and manipulated in Metasynth Peak Thonk and Sound Hack then sequenced in DP The piece was t was composed as a final project for Professor Mike Pounds's Mumet 425 class We explored the uses of Metasynth This program uses a unique graphical interface to manipulate and create sounds this piece primarily used the graphical filters to alter sounds For El Eria e Mor (A Star Rises Out of Darkness) This piece was composed for woodwind quintet while studying with Dr Eleanor Trawick t was originally begun as a string quartet but after discussion about expanding my compositional skills with Dr Trawick 7

9 composed it for wind quintet El Eria e Mor is elvish and taken from an excerpt of Lord of the Rings This piece like the popular stories of middleearth is set in medieval times The quintet opens in C minor with a slow melody in the Horn line After contrapuntal additions of melodies in the upper instruments a tumultuous middle section begins This section shifts to G minor and the melodic line is buried by a continuous rhythm that is shared by all instruments After this section cadences a thinner texture begins The flute and clarinet share a moving twopart melody; the horn reenters with the dark melody from the opening This motive is reworked and leads the shift back into the original key of C minor for the final cadence Chaconne for Violin and Tape The Chaconne was inspired by my many semesters of studying Bach This "neobaroque" piece is the result t was a challenge to create a piece for instrument and tape; Dr Keith Kothman and Mike Pounds were very helpful in the process as instructors t uses excerpts from Bach's Chaconne from the D minor Partita for solo violin Also reworked sections of the original Bach piece for the violin part and manipulated violin recordings and samples for the electronic part The most challenging part of composing this piece was working out a way for the violinist to synchronize with the tape part discovered that flexibility was in this case the answer Although there are substantial electronic and acoustic sections it is more a series of events than exact precision wanted to use Bach's technique of allowing 8

10 time to be flexible n my experience performing Bach's violin Sonatas and Partitas it is much more artistic to slow tempo in portions of the piece believe that borrowing this technique worked well for this piece 9

11 Composer's Reactions Creating music and presenting it in the form of a Composition Recital proved to be a challenging task When began the Music Engineering Technology program really knew very little about it The idea that would be composing was very frightening as had never composed before believe that over the semesters composing became a part of my life Creating music was a worthwhile endeavor and feel my skills improved Three of the last pieces wrote proved to be my favorites n My Hands is not only a touching story but feel the piece composed is moving as well E1 Eria e Mar was very challenging to write and am extremely proud of the result Quite possibly the piece worked the most diligently on however is the Chaconne for Violin and Tape This piece combined the skills learned as a violinist with the skills learned for composing electronic music feel it is the most artistic work composed [0

12 Acknowledgements There are many people who made this possible First and foremost is Dr Keith Kothman who as my faculty advisor and a professor for several semesters His guidance in organizing my recital as well as reassurance when had doubts was incredibly helpful Adrienne and Jim Jones have been supportive in every way from being a great boss to a great friend and inspiration along the way thanks Adrienne! My family has always been supportive of all my endeavors From always coming to performances to emptying their pocketbooks they are the greatest

13 Bibliography Opdyke rene Gut n My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer New York: Random House 1999 Shore Howard The Lord of the Rinds: the Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack Compact Disc New Line Productions 2001 Zimmer Hans Pearl Harbor Soundtrack Compact Disc Warner Brothers

14 Go By S1 Sknerski Solo Violin Jl J90 mf _ ' ;;;p J""'ot Solo Cello l""'l :l SVln U r === ' "Vlc r t' 7" 1"1 Jill : r t' SVln U f SVlc '"' A 5 1! ;;: f 1 l::!! SVln t! Tit : "Vc 1 Tit

15 Vln 19 Slower ' mtp7fl G SVlc Slower J ioo"' p r SVln 2 ' r' "" p """J P SVlc r: p 1 11fJ Vln 27 SVlc SVln SVlc mtp > + f r = acre/ J J r acre/ 1 : n ; mf 7 ; :::: ; fl fl V r 1 V =====:= 2

16 5 1\ Vln ' SVlc "' ::::== P J / r mf 9 1\ ' V " SVln f1l ; f!; SVc "' rit rit "1m 4! ;Vln SVlc "' ' r q!t / : 47 ri"i f1l r SVln 'pji">»» f SVc f f1l f1l j!: J;: J f1l';

17 fl Vln t r SVlc r:;::: 55 A Tempo SVn SVc t J Ci 9 rit " rit 19 =v: m/' mf 59 r Vln t mf SVc f 6 r = SVln t fl SVc 4

18 Vln SVlc 67 il4 'u = :::t=l ::'" f f L fl L :J = fll j 71 Jt SVln 'll rit SVlc "' rit ' t:'\ 5

19 one sknerski Solo Violin SVln Pno SVln Pno Piano t 6 ' 6 ' p mp f[; " 1/ r 1 f" t "* r " < "* ';l:ro f" t ' f t '" /'" /' f" io'"' "* ======== mf "* "*

20 SVln Pno SVln Pno SVln 16 t: 16 t:r: T t: 9 r; * "" ' '" mp :;;; r 21 ir ll 21 ' mp " f i 6 e: r a: * '" * L f UJ 16 : Pno LU ( > " p "1 1 SVln '' uj c:' Pno llj p mf i: 2

21 SYln 6 f 6 L Poo SYln f 8 1" f :! jill? mf Poo f jo: 2 ;; h' Poo f 42 f ' c::::; SYln Pno < 46 f} 6 P rj _:d f U ; ' L p lo

22 SVln 51 t 51 Pno t :: p : SVln Pno SVln t 56 6 i' t _ 61 ;;;; it d "" * 61 Poo t " " / ;'l 151 SVln Pno t ') '" ' "' 6 i t!' rit rit _r:;; Gi Gi r P ======p 4

23 'Ef'Eria e "Mar A Star Rises Out of the Darkness Flute J & t pp S J Sknerski "f / Oboe l Clarinet in Bb 1< & f) pp p Bassoon : p ::: n :=::: l Hom in F 7 'f) 1L F ' s f Ob BbC Bsn fl ::n f" tj?t: / "f : p j!> : ' Hn 7 l & "cj e

24 F 1 t: 11ff fl ;::; Ob Bb C t mf t: r:: = Bsn : q Y np / npl 11 'lj 11 np 1 Hn ' & F Ob Bb C : )8 flfl_ q fl 1\ 1;:;" tj H 11ff / Bsn & mf=' 'J 18 Hn c 2

25 Fl Ob BbC 1 i "":' j!:j!: L rf_ t mf f J L :: tj ;if = 'j" J r;: tj Bs n : H n Fl 2 J J t?' 28 "'j!:j!: to tj ' 111]J * 111]J mf Lr = = Ob tj L '"}; BbC Bs n t f :A 0 mf : : H n 28 6 L tj

26 Fl tj 5 b ;' 5 Ob = = :: : U 5 BbC J Bsn : Hn tj _ mf " 7 Fl " (!: t f === fl Ob tj l BbC 1\ L 11>p /'" R F=r= J iff!ff f!! "! Bsn Hn t: r ' mf mf u r "J """'if 4

27 Fl 40 f: === === F ':K E t:: t:: Ob tj BbCl tj Bsn : :::: mf''r' a 1Wp = a_ :::: ' 40 Hn 'tj ' Fl 4 ff tt F t "ii' t= Ob BbCl r rr r at: l 1Wp Bsn : c::::o =:1::::1::1 :::t:::::::j = H n 4 l t v 7i "" li_ 5

28 Fl 46 "i == Ob : ;; = BbCL Bsn : FF= '" :::bd::d i:::=: 6 Hn 1 Fl Ob 49 /1!: /' r r BbCL Bsn : Hn 49 6

29 FJ 51 /1 Ob BbC! " ' U Bsn : q ha 51 Hn t FJ 5 :: Ob a r p BbC! Bsn a q ";; : Hn 5 i 7

30 F Ob 55!) : L L :: BbC B sn tj : L t Jl 1 L 55 Hn "' F Ob 56 1 mf 5 tit 1':"1 tit JL ""== mp tit ' L BbC B sn Hn t L T bldd_ : r =t: 6 L oj mp' L '""" = =:::i::j p 1':"1 1':"1 "== tit 1':"1 = P == tit 1':"1 8

31 F Ob 60 A Tempo P r i &e t " A Tempo U BbC A Tempo _ '""' o"j Bsn : A Tempo Hn 60 A Tempo 65 (\ ft 1 F :;a : Ob ' Bb C r Bsn : = Hn 65 9

32 Fl 69 f' n fl Ob t= 1 BbC 1 ; Bs n H n Ji 1 7 1Wp r Fl p Ob Bb Cl Bsn Hn 7 1Wp 10

33 F 78 'f r; q ; 1':'1 6 Ob BbC tit 1':'1 tit 1':'1 pp ' tit /" Bsn : P ': 78 tit Hn #_g =_ =d 1':'1

34 cbaconne for Violin an Tape S J Sknerski =80 Violin 'e u 6 J mf >! i' ' : J11 ill q f 18 < : 5 ::; "t o

35 'P 68 J J rrltt J F ; J J 4' P: i 4' e _ l'jlllli U'W:lWW f;j\lf i 4 JJJ YO] 42h ) je9jjp'hjjl= i 10 lqhr JEtiJiBHl ]1 f 4' 8 i p J Jy ')

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