GFT Project Info

posted Apr 19, 2010, 10:10 AM by Chris Beckstrom   [ updated Apr 23, 2010, 9:20 AM ]
Hey Composers - just so you can get it straight, here are the DEADLINES you're all working towards with the GFT pieces:

           due dates: 4/21 (this wednesday) - 1st GFT mockup to Andy
                from Andy: "I want to hear where they're going. I want to hear the skeleton of the piece, with bar count, meters and tempi in place, and confirm that they've created spaces for the solos. If they follow the guidelines and build from the mallets up, it should all work out. ...Don't be overly concerned about precise picture hits."

                           4/23 (this friday) - 2nd GFT mockup to Andy
                                              put on the SCRATCH DISK
                           4/26 (a week from today) - GFT mockups to musicians
                           4/27 (8 days from today) - andy and hummie review GFT scores
                           4/29 (10 days from today) - conductor reviews GFT scores
                           4/30 (11 days from today) - GFT score corrections/revisions
                           5/1 (12 days from today) - GFT parts prep/printing
                                        ALL PARTS SUBMITTED BY 6pm
                           5/2 (13 days from today) - GFT final parts corrections
                                        6:30pm REHEARSAL @ the music center (concert hall)

for each solo instrument: (8 different mixes)
    Solo instrument on one side of stereo mix (i.e Right channel - only oud)
    Everything else, mono, on other side of mix (i.e. Left channel - everything else)

for conductor:
    Clicks on one channel (R)
    Everything else on other channel (L)

    More instructions from Chris coming soon...

and here is your ENSEMBLE:

-Duduk (click for more info)

-5 Vlns
-2 Cellos
-1 Bass

- - -
Specific instrument info:

Maqam Section: (melody to be written in one or more of the maqams; Bayati, Rast, Hijaz, and Kurd are probably the most characteristically Middle Eastern sounding maqams)

    We will be writing for either Dokah (D) ney or Nawa (G) ney. The neys are named for the second note they produce. The natural tones produced are as follows:

    Dokah Register 1: C4 (Mid C)-D-D#-Ehalf-flat-F-F#-G  Register 2: (up a P5 by overblowing)
    (This is the 
written register, but it sounds an 8ve higher. That means that its “tessitura” is C5 to a high D, but Kim assures me that she can get a fourth higher to a G6 comfortably. Above or below this range isn’t recommended)

    Nawa Register 1: F4-G-Ab-Ahalf-flat-Bb-B-C  Register 2: (up a P5 by overblowing)
    (Again, this is the 
written register, so the Nawa sounds a P4 higher than the Dokah.)

Note that those half-flats (on E and B for the Dokah and A and E for the Nawa mean that you can play in maqams like Bayati, Rast, Sikah and Sabra as long as the “tonic” is chosen properly) Remember that if you write chromatic tones, she will need to half-hole, and that doesn’t work too well on folk flutes. Use stepwise motion and avoid leaps greater than a third. She will automatically trill and ornament long notes.


    I’m checking on Ronnie’s tuning, but I’m pretty sure it’s  a 
written C4-E4-A4-D4-G4-C5, but sounding two octaves lower. In other words, a guitar with a low C string and another C on top instead of the guitar’s B. Remember that the neck is very short, so this is a baritone instrument with a range like the first and second positions of a cello. Use it to double the ney line an 8ve or two octaves below. 

Raga Section: (melody to be written in one or more of the thaats; Bhairav, Bhairavi, Kalyan, and Kafi are all characteristically Indian modes. Bhairav relates to Maqam Hijaz, Bhairavi relates to Maqam Kurd, Kafi is Dorian and relates to Maqam Sikah, and Kalyan is Lydian)

Lyon is a master and can probably play almost anything you give him. Bansuris range from 12”-40” in length with commensurate registers, but the characteristic sound is going to be in the lower half of a flute’s range, whereas the ney is in the higher end and into the piccolo register. 


I’m checking on the latest tuning, since Habib tends to swirch around. Last time we checked, his three strings were tuned B3 (B below middle C)-E4-A4, but he can also move them up a semitone to C-F-Bb. The sympathetic strings are tuned to the raga to be performed. Write single notes on the treble clef only. He will naturally trill and tremolo all long notes. The rubab should be used to double the bansuri melody just as the oud is used to double the ney.

Asian (Pentatonic) Section:

The erhu either solos on its own or accompanies the violins. It will not work well in duet with the Indian or Arabic instruments. It’s open strings are D4 and A4 (the middle strings of a violin) and it has a two octave range. Melody should be written in the pentatonic major or minor. It’s most characteristic “voice-like” sound is in the alto to mezzo-soprano range (say, G above middle C to G above the staff). Betti will automatically ornament long notes. 

Central Asian Section:


   Like the erhu, the duduk usually solos on its own. Its intonation is distinctive, so it doesn’t blend well in doublings. My “A” duduk, which Chris will probably play, has a range of just an 8ve + a M3, from F# below the treble clef to A on the staff, so it is a tenor instrument, very much like the middle register of a bass clarinet, but highly expressive. Best keys are Bm and F#m. 

-Percussion +

If you think of your solo instruments in terms of a choral hierarchy, you’ve got the oud in the baritone range, duduk in tenor, rubab and bansuri in the alto to mezzo range, and erhu and ney in the mezzo to soprano range. Try to keep a nice spread. Don’t cluster everything in the center or you’ll get mud and phase cancellation.