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BLOCKBUSTERS

A Journey Through the Genres

Commentary
Blockbusters is a composition that takes a journey around the genres of Film and TV covering:
Action & Adventure, Thriller, Heroic and Jazz Drama. I started with the idea for a film score using
orchestral instruments, (predominantly Strings): this, however, was too large for the 10-player
limit. Therefore, I adapted the already composed intro and main motif to instrumentation that was
available that still produced a full
texture. I was inspired by a
composition called, Hollywood by Goff Richards, to which I played in a brass band contest. This
led me to the idea of taking a journey around the genres of Film & TV similar to Goff Richards,
Hollywood. This was the main inspiration for Blockbusters, however, further inspiration were
from film composers, Hans Zimmer & John Williams two renowned composers. I wanted to create
an action & adventure style piece of film music with strings and percussion, although proved
difficult due to instrument limitation. I envisaged my piece being performed by the brass ensemble
at my school, this was because they were available and of good playing quality. The mood of my
composition varied throughout as the genres changed for example: the Thriller (A) creates an
excited atmosphere/mood that is contrasted by the heroic section (D) thats lighthearted. The form
I originally chose was Rondo. This is because I wanted a journey and with ABACAD-style of form I
could have new sections whilst accompanied by the return of the Thriller (A) section.

Section Intro
My home key was D minor. The opening melody has a lyrical line and moves in steps with intervals
of major 3rd as not to upset the calm, flowing lyrical movement. I used trumpets to project this
opening motif as they can create a warm, brass sound (through use of breath control and support
of the diaphragm) that can cut through the silence and also float over the signature side drum
rhythm and the low Euphonium pedal. The intro section stays in the tonic of D minor. The intro
section is homophonic with the Trombone doubling the Timpani. The pitch is in the middle range of
the trumpet this is because I wanted an easy range for the melody so more focus can be given to
creating the desired warm tone. The rhythm is straight, this is to create a slow, Ending Battle,
Action style, that emphasizes the emotions and build into Section A where the Thriller Genre kicks
in with accented rhythms and fast rising passages Motif X.

Section A & B
This section is in the key of D minor and continues in D till the modulation into E minor. The
opening of section A starts with a single trumpet playing the tonic of the key (D) with a
(1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2) rhythm in 4/4 which creates a triplet feel. This then builds up to a full band
playing the rhythm, which brings in the melody in the 1 st trumpet. The 1st trumpet melody is
technically difficult as 7th leaps need mental and diaphragm control. This is then answered by the
2nd trumpet, which creates a call and response effect along with antiphony. The Euphonium and
French horn play a simplified version of the main melody as to build up into [B]. There are multiple
rhythms in the repeated section, creating a polyphonic texture. Articulation is crucial to making
this section sound how I wanted it to as the rhythm is difficult and of unusual rhythm triplet feel
along with other rhythms in the French horn and Trombone. This is difficult because when playing a
different rhythm to someone else you brain starts to listen to the other rhythms and tries to
interpret them and play them as apposed to the original rhythm written.

Kieran Kirk - 8107

BLOCKBUSTERS
A Journey Through the Genres

Section C
This section acts as a bridging passage that links the previous section to section D. The melody
played in bars 25-26 on 1st trumpet is derivative of the main melody in section B with variation.
The melody is called and answered by Euphonium with repetition then variation added to the last
bar (28). The accompaniment is playing stab chords that play in a - i-III-V-III pattern. The snare
rhythm is also derived from the introduction passage with variation added such as accents on
different beats. This ends with a modulation from D minor to E minor with an E major 7 chord that
is suspended with the 1st trumpet.

Section D
This section is the Heroic movement of my
composition and starts on the sub-dominant of E minor (A minor). The melody brings ideas from
the introduction and inverts it and creates a slow rising and falling lyrical melody. The
accompaniment plays in a homophonic rhythm playing in chords. The horn plays a counter melody
in bars 38-42; this is doubled by 1 st trumpet playing an ornamented variation on it. In bars 42
onwards the Euphonium plays the melody, which is imitative of section C the melody, though is
played at half the tempo of the original melody. This allows for the Euphophonist to show some
virtuosic, soloistic playing (more in the softness of tone rather than technical articulation and fast
scalic patterns). This can be achieved similarly to the trumpets method of breath control and
diaphragm support.
The accompaniment comprises of slow minim chords: this is to give a sense of flowing and
smoothness for the melody. The melody then gets transfered to a duet of 3rds between 2 nd
Trumpet and French horn. This then quickly modulates to C minor with a falling scale.

Section E
Section E sees the return of the main motif from section B in C minor. The main melody, however,
is a simplified variation (taken from bars 16-19). This is to add colour and change from the original
melody that would not be interesting to the listener again: also because it is not expected. Here,
the melody is passed around the ensemble from 1 st Trumpet to 2nd Trumpet to French Horn. This
melody is again difficult for the French Horn because of the 7 th leaps etc.

Section F
Section F sees a variation on the 4 th bar of section Es melody in a swung style - here is the
introduction of the Jazz Drama genre. In this section, I gave the trombone the chance to be
soloistic and show off with fall offs and smears these are jazz techniques that are often played by
trumpets and trombones. The way you play these techniques involve control of the lips and the
ability to bend them at the end of a note you can either stretch the hole between your lips
downwards or you can alternatively use the slide.

Kieran Kirk - 8107

BLOCKBUSTERS
A Journey Through the Genres

Section Ending
The ending finishes with the main melody of section B that ends with a rising sequence with
instruments coming in after every two beats. This sees the return of the main theme with an
ending variation. This idea was going to be very early on in my composition (end of section B) but I
thought that this was too premature and was going to be a good conclusion to end on. This also
takes on the idea I heard from Duke Ellingtons, Ko-Ko where the introduction is the same as the
ending with a rising reed passage to close.
This composition was notated from Sibelius 6 and recorded using the built-in software instruments.
This is because I didnt have time to record live instruments in the studio.
If I had the chance to change my composition I would change the instrumentation to a full
orchestra if there werent a limit on instruments.

Kieran Kirk - 8107