“Music is the harmonization of opposites, the unification of disparate things and the conciliation of warring elements… music is the basis of agreement among things in nature and of the best government in the universe.
As a rule it assumes the guise of harmony in the universe of lawful government in a state and of a sensible way of life in the home. It brings together and unites.” Pythagoras, the father of music, mathematic and philosophy, believed that music could do anything. He believed that it could help the young to grow and the sick to be healed as well as calm the very soul of a person. Because music is a major part of my life, I decided to incorporate it into my senior project. I have always adored music and I decided, back during my freshman year that I wanted to compose a piece of music for my senior project. I was so excited about it that I even started to think about moods or themes that I wanted in the piece. When I talked to my mentor, Bob Schofield, about it though, he was reluctant to agree to it. I had taken a music theory class in the hopes to further my music knowledge in preparation of this project, but the class was a pretty big disappointment. It didn’t teach me the necessary skills I needed to compose a piece of music, regardless of the fact that it was for a solo instrument or an ensemble piece. After I discovered that my original idea would be impossible for me to do at this point in time, I decided to teach a duet to two young clarinet players. Unfortunately, when I asked, I got no response from the intermediate schoolers, probably because one of my friends had already asked for young musicians for his senior project. My next idea was to take a song, possibly “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and remix it, because my prospective career is in music production, but there were so many legality issues that I would have to go through that I wasn’t even sure it was possible in such a short time. After some thought I decided to arrange a composition of music for the clarinet. I began the search for a piece of music to arrange. At first, I wanted a more contemporary piece, possibly “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen or “Let it be” by the Beatles, but nothing seemed to really stand out for me. I even went through my music teacher’s file cabinets of solo music in an attempt to find a piece of music that I wanted to use. But then one day, as I watching the movie “Requiem for a Dream” I heard the song I wanted to use. The song was called “Lux Aeterna” and here is a shortened version of the song for you to listen to. The original version is about 3 minutes long but a large portion of the song is a repeat and a base line of what you are about to hear… Once I had chosen my song, I had to choose what instruments to arrange it for. I had previously mentioned that I wanted to arrange it for the clarinet with an accompaniment, and as you can tell this version of the song is done by a string quartet so it couldn’t be a string instrument. The sheet music that I worked from is actually piano music, but it was basically the same principle. Because I was working off of piano music, I didn’t want my accompaniment part to be a piano part, because I wanted more of a
challenge, and I wanted something that would add to the mood. And just to clarify, a piano is not the best instrument to accompany any other instrument. I decided on a mallet part to accompany my clarinet part, either the xylophone or marimba. It was at Scho’s suggestion that I changed the xylophone to the vibraphone, because it would fit better with the mood of the piece. After I had an idea of the instruments I wanted to use and a copy of the sheet music, I needed the song in order to listen to it. Mainly because I loved the song, but also to hear the subtleties in the music that I might add or subtract from my final piece. Once I had the song, I began the work on my project. At first it was slow going. I would sit in my room with my notation paper, my music theory book and a paper keyboard and try to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do. I decided that I needed to transpose the clarinet part up one and a half steps and remove the two flats from the original but add three sharps into the music. The base clef part of the piano music, which would translate into the mallet part was easy enough to transpose because I simply had to move the note up one line or one space, respectively and I was able to keep the flats. I was hesitant to ask my mentor at first because I wanted to do as much as I could on my own, but in the end I had to ask my mentor a number of questions, multiple times. And I do apologize for any terms that you may not understand, but there is really no other way to explain what I did without teaching you basic music theory. Once I had a system down, or at least when I thought I had a system down, things started to go pretty smoothly. That was until I sat down with my mentor to play the music. We played two notes of my music together, two notes! Him on the piano me on the clarinet, when he noticed that something was off. I had started off by transposing incorrectly, and when he had last seen my music, he didn’t have the original music in front of him and had given me incorrect instructions. So, after a bit of frustration, I had to go back and redo my entire piece. I basically had to start from scratch again. Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated and I started to get discouraged. I was angry that I had done my project incorrectly, but more frustrated that my music theory class had been a waste of my time, and offered no support for me about my project. But, with the help of my friends, who seemed genuinely interested in my project and the final piece, I took a deep breath and started over again. This time it was even slower going. I was being extremely careful as to what I did because it was getting close to the project deadline and I still had a bit to do. I took small steps, but after some time, I began to get the hang of what I was doing. I started to move faster and faster and then, before I knew it, I was finished. My project was almost complete at this point. Because I didn’t want to leave my music looking like this (point to notation paper) I began to search for a notation program that I could import my music into, and it would give me professional looking music (point to final piece). I decided on using Finale Notepad, because it was free and it was easy
enough to get the hang of quickly. I began to have fun putting in the notes, and soon I was finished with that task. I played the MIDI file a few times to make sure everything was right, and after making a few adjustments I had a beautiful, albeit electronic composition of music. Because I wanted for you to hear my final piece, I needed to either burn it to a cd or import it onto my iPod. The program description said that it could be done, but I was having problems figuring it out. After a few trips to the F.A.Q page on the Finale website, I figured out what I was doing. I then imported the song onto my iPod and this is “Lux Aeterna” arranged by me. Please, keep in mind that this is a MIDI file, so it may not sound as aesthetically pleasing as we all may like, but my song will not be played until the spring concert put on by the Paradise High School Band on the 20th. Please enjoy… Thank you… any questions?