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Composing with Finale® by Mark Johnson

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Chapter 3. Moving Stuff Around

At school, in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, Dr. Tim Mahr’s first assignment in Composition 101 was this: Compose a piece using one pitch. We soon realized the plethora of choices even under very limited circumstances. What is the timbre/instrument? What octave should I choose? What is the dynamic level? How will it be articulated? What is the rhythm? What is the tempo? Should I add rehearsal letters? Will this require circular breathing?

As fledgling composers, we recognized how easy it is to make assumptions about these aspects— assumptions we must at least recognize and notate if we have any chance of communicating them to our performers and audience. More importantly, we recognized that we should ask ourselves ...

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