Let me write you a piece!

As you no doubt know by now, I am doing the RPM Challenge this month, which requires me to record 10 tracks or 35 minutes of music over the course of February. As my last blog post here explains, part of the reason why I’m doing this is to work on being able to write more quickly and to experiment a bit, and this is where YOU come in!

I want to write you a piece of music. Just a little one, but for whatever instrument you play.

The only thing I ask is that you only sign up for this if you can commit to sending me a recording of the piece by the end of February.

Interested? Read on for the details:

  1. Most pieces will be under a minute long. There may be some technical challenges but I’m aiming to keep them feasible within the limited time frame you’ll have for learning & recording.
  2. If I write a piece for you that requires an accompaniment, I will provide a MIDI-generated recording as well as all parts, in case you don’t have a pianist or harpist or whatever lounging around with nothing to do.
  3. Recordings don’t have to be studio-quality but they should be at least pretty clear. I don’t much care what you record on, but the higher quality the happier I’ll be. iPhone/iPad recordings are fine. Cassette tape isn’t because I don’t have anything to play them on. If you’re thinking of using your phone or computer mic but haven’t tested the quality, please test before you sign up to make sure that you can deliver at least a reasonable-quality recording.
  4. Recordings will be made public, on SoundCloud, my website and the RPM website, so please make sure you’re happy with your performance and recording before you send it. It will have your name on it.
  5. If you can’t commit to getting a recording to me by the end of Feb, but you’d still like me to write for you, we can talk about scheduling something. I’m ALWAYS happy to write for people, but the aim of this project right now is to end up with 10 actual recordings by the end of the month.
  6. I reserve the right to not manage to get around to writing you a piece – it’s entirely possible I’m biting off more than I can chew here. First come, first served, up to 9 people. If you’re within those 9 and I don’t manage to fit you in during February, I’ll try to write you something anyway when I have a moment later this year.
  7. In the interests of variety and experimentation, I will write no more than 2-3 pieces for any given instrument. Don’t want to end up only writing for piano!
  8. If you play the sort of instrument that has a number of different ranges – e.g. Recorder, tin whistle – please specify which one you want me to write for, e.g. Tenor recorder, whistle in D
  9. If you ask for a piece which isn’t a typical member of the orchestra and therefore unlikely to be found in a standard orchestration text, I may need you to provide additional info such as range, special considerations, effective techniques, recommended recordings. I will try to ask for these early on.
  10. If you are open to the prospect of a graphic score or free form elements, let me know. I will only include these if you are interested in dealing with them. Other pieces will be fully notated
  11. And finally… I reserve the right for some of these to possibly not be terribly good. As mentioned in the blog post, the idea is to experiment with writing quickly and using some techniques and approaches that I don’t usually use, so there’s no guarantee of a quality result. But I will do my best and if there’s something you feel I could use some advice on, I will be extremely happy to receive any gentle feedback you may care to give.

Still keen? Then sign up!Β Leave a comment on this post with your name, instrument and any other details, then join the mailing list or update your details if you’re already on there – that way I can easily keep everyone updated on progress. You can always unsubscribe later if you’re not enjoying the experience πŸ™‚

19 Replies to “Let me write you a piece!”

  1. Hi! I also love this idea. Oboe! (or piano, recorder or sax… but.. oboe!).

    I'm happy to do anything extended technique wise. For a quick recording, I'd also appreciate it if you could avoid low B flats. I have a leaking key that I've not been able to fix yet, and don't think I can bodge suitably for a recording – and can't see myself being in the right place at the right time to get it repaired over the next month!

  2. Would love to! Piano and/or church organ and/or hammond organ(without pedals) are fine by me – Happy to have free form elements – I do love a bit of free-improv!

  3. Pedal harp may simpler given time constraints, but I'll email you a tiny treatise on The Mysteries of the Lever Harp. Also, I'm no stranger to a graphic score.

  4. I see you have a guitarist already, if you fancy writing something for slide I’m in! Or banjo, actually. Also open to graphic scores πŸ™‚

    1. Awesome! Any tips on writing for slide or banjo? I've never done either and not sure where I'd look for solid info in a short space of time…

      1. Slide it’s mostly a matter of knowing/deciding the tuning. I normally use Open C: CGCEGC. And not putting notes together that aren’t possible! Imagine the slide as a straight line across the strings. One can slant to combine notes that aren’t on the same fret, but obviously this only works if the notes aren’t too far apart!

        I mention the banjo because mine is feeling rather neglected. Check standard tunings online, and remember that you’ve got the high string, and not much in the way of sustain πŸ˜‰

        For both you’d probably be using open strings a fair bit

      2. Slanting is also quite a tricky technique to do accurately, use it in slower places or if it’s ok to not be terribly accurate

  5. I might have missed my chance but if not- bass guitar please πŸ™‚ I have a 6 string so written range is B below bass clef to C two octaves above middle (all sound an octave below)

    1. Not at all, Alun! Bass sounds like a wonderful challenge – the music on your website is great. I may need to ask you some questions, but I'll see what info I have here first. Thanks for signing up!

  6. How about an unaccompanied (or lightly accompanied) song for bass-baritone? My best range is E-F above middle C to the G-A bottom of the bass clef, though I can sing down to D below that, usually. I might suggest "To Fortune" by Robert Herrick as a text – no fighting the copyright wars over that one. Or I could send you a text of my own. My wife is an expert pianist and accompanist, if you do write an accompaniment.

  7. I am interested as well, Caitlin. Trombone or tenor voice, open to graphic score or free elements. Can't do multiphonics at this time

    1. Thanks Rob – we've reached the nine now, but one of those needed to check and confirm, so I'll hold you in reserve if that's OK.

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