Sound Site: Composing



Watch and listen (requires the Real Player) as Libby Larson takes the ideas about the composition from her head and writes them into the "score", the written piece that the conductor and musicans use to perform the piece. Here she is beginning to write the score for a section where a rubber ball is bouncing and trying to answer the question "how can the sound of a ball bouncing be turned into orchestral sound?".

score: lines score: meter
First Libby writes in all the instruments that will play on a seperate line (the grouping of six lines is called a staff). Shown here are the lines for the timpani and the tape recorder. Then Libby adds the meter notation to let the conductor and musicians know how many beats are in each bar (the bar is shown by the vertical, up and down lines). The meter can change over the course of a piece.
score: rests score: actor's cue
Next she writes in rests for the instruments that she knows will not play. Next she writes in a cue for the actor to bounce the real ball.
score: footnotes score: orchestral notes
Since this is not a usual occurance in an orchestral piece, she writes a footnote to the conductor telling him that the note stands for a single ball bounce. Libby then chooses an instrument that sounds similar to a ball ( such as a timpani or tuba ) and has it play a single note that mimics the ball. She draws a dotted line FROM the ball note to the timpani note.
score: dotted lines Finally, Libby goes back and forth between orchestral instruments and the bouncing ball on the score, again by using a dotted line for the conductor.

Look at the dotted lines. Do you think they look at all like a ball bouncing?!

If you didn't already, watch the video (requires the Real Player).

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