#mufu2014 Composition = Invention + Arrangement Hugh Nankivell session 1

About Hugh Nankivellsoundcloud.com/hugh-nankivell
Hugh is a composer living near the sea in Devon. His first commission was for music to celebrate the opening of Milton Keynes’s concrete cows. Since that time he has collaborated on outdoors performances including with dance and theatre companies and community groups. He has toured internationally with a Belgian Chanson trio (Swoop), a pruritic jazz rock group (Fossil) and an acoustic world folk quartet (East Whistle). He regularly works in Japan with Makoto Nomura on a variety of post-workshop endeavours. He won an award for best music for an installation piece on the Lerwick to Aberdeen ferry for The National Theatre of Scotland.

Inspired by David Price’s keynote, Hugh is planning to try something he has never tried before in this session!

Composing is about inviting and arranging. Everyone has good ideas so start with invention then support learners with the arranging. But key is to how much you are inventing and arranging and how much your learners are!

Warm ups

Warm up: Name game-put your name in the ‘nothing’

Warm up: Building up, exploring and arranging rhythms

Warm up adding vocal sounds to rhythms and arranging the material


Onto instruments

Arranging ideas using instruments

What animal could that music be? Lots of good suggestions including weasel, leopard, give the music an identity!.

Here is our sloth music (with a bit of weasel)

How did the music change as a result of giving it an identity? How do we remember it? Record it, make notes,

Goat music

Sec 1: Come in one by one
Sec 2: Play body percussion
Sec 3: Play groove and drop out one by one
Sec 4: Describe what kind of goat it was
What kind of goat is it?

Musical Tennis/Musical Tennis with Instruments

This is a game which starts off initially with claps and clicks adding up to 4 beats. Whatever the ‘server’ serves, e.g. one clap and one click, the receiver responds with the corresponding number of claps to make 4 beats.  The serve changes to the other person when three claps and a click are given.

This can then be transferred to instruments.

Musical tennis gives the material for the composition, but none of the structure.

By comparison, Goat Music gives the structure but none of the material.

Discussion feedback

  • Musical tennis – would students see the ‘rules’ as constraining? Sometimes there can be value in constraints.
  • When you start something, it’s really important that you start with a provocation. What is your expectation and what space are you going to give them to achieve the aim?
  • Is the opportunity to explore creative music making hindered by short lesson times.
  • Goat music – needs time. Outcomes depends on instruments used.
  • How do you arrange material? What can you do with it when students become tired of the material – need to use our own experiences to support students in this.

Other Ideas

Composing by Numbers

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