Composer Mark Lucas sent a recording to us, wanting to hear it arranged for orchestra.
The song, sung rubato in wordless A sequence of single pitches perceived as a unit, usually the main theme or tune in a piece of music. over strummed guitar accompaniment, showed terrific The perceived highness or lowness of a sound, determined by the frequency of the sound wave. and heartfelt emotion. It’s a work of passion, as you can hear (first phrase):
Because of the rubato nature of the performance, the intended The pattern of beats and accentuations in music, which gives a piece its sense of movement and flow. was elusive to us at first.
Upon starting the The process of notating a piece of music as it is performed, either by ear or from a recording., melodic The structure or organization of a piece of music, including its sections, repetitions, and overall shape. and probable rhythm became apparent. Mark’s innate gift for melody caused him to create a composition with a classic form – A A B B A A. The B’s are double the length of the A’s, but a classic form nonetheless.
Given the limitless possibilities offered by the open evocativeness of the melody, Mark’s guidance requesting low strings, his original recording with strummed guitar and voice, and the title (“Lament”) gave us enough to get started.
At first, a few strummed guitar chords, as on his original recording, seemed they’d be overwhelmed by the initial entrance of the strings, so we wrote a guitar Musical material introducing the main melody or vocal entrance:
After finishing the refers to the structure and order of musical elements in a composition, such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and instrumentation., it became obvious it was a poor choice (as pointed out gently by Mark, as well as my own ears) so we used foreshadowing instead, incorporating elements in the intro that occur later in the piece in various forms:
After beginning, the piece seemed to write itself, starting with the melody and bass line in the strings, then adding the other string Individual pieces of music, each designed to be performed by a single musician or section of an ensemble..
We often get the feeling while writing that the piece is telling us what it needs, that logic and form are not only the rule, but also the inspiration. Development is The group of pitches, or tonality, that a piece of music is centered around., using classic composition techniques such as A form of countermelody, restating the previous melodic passage in the musical space that follows it, Array of musical notes in a repeating pattern, and melodic Additional musical notes inserted to decorate a melody through a variety of methods, including trills, turns, mordants, approach tones, upper and lower neighbors, appoggiaturas, passing tones, lead-ins, bends and suspensions such as chromatic alteration/resolution, Non-harmonic tone, either carried over or introduced, that resolves to a chord tone, delay, anticipation, A melodic varian consisting of a mirrored version of a melodic array, expansion, and other devices.
As the tune progresses, instruments enter, either with countermelodies or as reinforcement for the writing in the strings to bring out and add color to phrases as they unfold.
Countermelodies and the melodic ornamentation they contain introduce moments of “rub” and Release of musical tension, an ebb and flow, and as more instruments enter, the dynamic builds toward the climax. The denouement is a matter of subtraction, with countermelodies revisited, this time in solo woodwinds.
We found that liberal use of hairpins smoothed the transition between instrument groupings, feathering dynamic transitions. We’re grateful to Mark for holding our feet to the fire on that point..
We had a wonderful time working on this, and found Mark to be a nurturing, tactful collaborator, and we’re grateful to him for the opportunity to work on this wonderful piece.
Here’s the whole thing:
This piece is available for licensing from Mark Lucas. Please use the site form to request Mark’s contact information, and we’ll put you in touch with him!
Orchestral arrangement by Jon Burr – arrangerforhire.com (You’re here already! 🙂
Used by permission of the composer.