Paired Comparison Analysis in trying to decide what to write next

Kokopelli (Hopi trickster god and patron of musicians)

Kokopelli (Hopi trickster god and patron of musicians)

I’m spending some time looking at my personal and professional priorities. Those change as time passes. It’s time for me to look at mine again and see what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, what’s become more important or less important.

In doing so, I’m looking at a lot of resources to help myself with this. I came across something called Paired Comparison Analysis. I was familiar with bubble sort from my dabbling in computer coding long ago. This is similar but with a couple extra features. The site where I learned about it–which has a handy, free, downloadable worksheet–is www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_02.htm.

I thought you might be interested in an application of this device in a creative person’s context. To understand how this analysis works, read the article linked to above and watch its very short video. No point in me re-explaining it. They do it better anyway.

Below is my analysis of the items I couldn’t really decide among. The results conform to what I sort of suspected, but nice to know there’s some data to back up my suspicion. The list is what to write next since I feel an urge to do them all (anthems, piano solos, short concerti for piano a la Mozart scope, orchestral music of which several pieces are already started, 4-hands piano pieces which can be fun to bang through with friends, or some more purely electronic music).

The basic chart with choices and values

The basic chart with choices and values

 

Totalling up the values for each letter

Totalling up the values for each letter

 

Results as percentages and listed highest to lowest

Results as percentages and listed highest to lowest

Now…don’t be fooled! The creative mind will have its own way. It may cooperate and do what this analysis suggests or it might not. More often than not, Kokopelli has other plans. As Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Also, every time–and I’m pretty sure it’s EVERY DAMN TIME–I tell anyone what I’m going to write next…I never do. So, we’ll see. We’ll see.

Paired Comparison Analysis does seem like a useful tool as a helpful hint in decision making, though, even if it’s not an oracle.

PS: this was originally posted on my personal blog, hkjones.info.

Tales of the Laughing Wizards

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It is so easy to get distracted in life, isn’t it?! My intention with this blog was to regularly call attention to past pieces I’ve written as well as new ones. It’s the “regularly” part of that intention that went astray. So, today, I’m trying to climb back on that wagon and see if I can stay on it.

Tales of the Laughing Wizards is a suite of pieces for electronic sound. Each piece within the suite is a different wizard with a name suggestive of the tone of that piece. I don’t write much electronic music any more, but at one point in my life that was “my thing” so to speak. Now, I prefer to write music that humans enjoy playing on acoustic instruments.

I wish I could find a way to make the sounds that are possible to make with electronics, but with an acoustic orchestra, but that’s beyond me. That’s ok… Getting older has taught me one’s limitations are best just accepted sometimes.

Here’s Tales of the Laughing Wizards!

Organ and Choir

There are some recent additions to my website in the Organ and Choir listing. If you get a chance, please listen, especially to the newer organ pieces. Of course, if you know any choir directors or organists who might be interesting in any of this, please forward them the link to this post. I’d love to get some performances.

 

ORGAN
Twilight Peal (organ) MP3 SCORE 2011
Mystic Procession (organ) MP3 SCORE 2012
Sortie (organ) MP3 SCORE 2007
Arabesque (organ) MP3 SCORE 1982
Carol (organ) MP3 SCORE 1980
Siciliano (organ) MP3 SCORE 1980
Cantabile (organ) MP3 SCORE 1980
Nine Seasonal Voluntaries
  1. Angels We Have Heard On High
  2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  3. Good Christian Men Rejoice
  4. Lo How A Rose Er Blooming
  5. O Come All Ye Faithful
  6. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  7. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  8. Cherry Tree Carol
  9. What Child Is This
    (score available from Concordia Pub. Co.)
(organ) MP3 SCORE 1985
Festival Prelude
  1. Mov 1
  2. Mov 2
  3. Mov 3
(organ) MP3 SCORE 1982
3 Songs for 4 Composers
  1. Igor
  2. Erik
  3. Claude & Maurice
(organ) MP3 SCORE 1976
CHORAL

NOTE: Choral recordings may differ slightly
from scores because of later editing. Both 4-part
and simpler 2-part versions are available for most anthems.

O Loving Founder Of The Stars (SATB) MP3 SCORE 2015
I Look to Thee in Every Need (2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 2014
The Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning (Unison with EZ 4-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 2014
The Lost (2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 2014
The River’s Song (2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 2013
All Bless the One (2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 1993
Be Still And Know (Psalm 46) SATB (or TTBB)) MP3 SCORE 1993
Have This Love (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1993
Bound by Love (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1993
Follow Me (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1990
Happy Are the Lowly Poor (2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 1990
In You We Live (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1990
As A Doe Longs (Psalm 42-43) SATB) MP3 SCORE 1990
Psalm 40 (May We See Your Radiant Face) 2-part mixed) MP3 SCORE 1990
Kol Mishp’chot Haahdamah (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1986
Beloved, Let Us Love (SATB w/soprano & baritone solos) MP3 SCORE 1980
Music for Eucharist; Rite II (unison congregation) MP3 SCORE 1980
Three Hymn Tune Anthems (SATB) MP3 SCORE 1968

LYRIC RAGS — a sonata for violin and piano

LYRIC RAGS — a sonata for violin and piano
Mov 1 – City Nights
Mov 2 – Silent Waltz
Mov 3 – Sky Highway

Composed in 1975, the 3rd movement is my favorite of the three, but I’m also fond of the 2nd movement. The first movement is a bit severe…more dissonant than I remember. The score is available at http://hiltonkeanjones.com/scores/Lyric_Rags.pdf.

https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/lyric-rags-a-sonata-for-violin-and-piano

Recording downloads available at Bandcamp

I now have a page at hiltonjones.bandcamp.com where it’s possible to buy tracks and albums of my music. It’s free to stream at that page as well as at my SoundCloud page.

The newer music posted there is Meditations & Reflections. Also available there is my old album, Cantus, which I’ve remastered.

Score available for The Geography of Dreams (for symphony orchestra)

DSCN9937

In my last post, I was able to present the score for one of my three most recent orchestral pieces. Tn this post I can announce that I’ve finished editing the score of the second of these. It can be downloaded (free) HERE.

The audio may be streamed (free) HERE (or use the player below). I strongly recommend listening on headphones or good speakers, not just tiny laptop speakers.

In my last post, I also talked a bit about the orchestra I find myself writing for. Basically, it’s solo woodwinds, solo and ensemble brass, at least 3 percussionists plus timpani, keyboard, and harp, plus–always–a full string section. However, in multi-movement compositions different movements use different subsets of that basic orchestration.

For instance, in The Geography of Dreams, you can compare the instrumentation among the movements from this list.

 
Mov. 1 – Dream of the City by the Sea and the Dark Castle Beyond Its Walls

flute solo
trumpet solo
piano
strings

Mov. 2 – Busts made of cork spinning slowly through the air

oboe solo
harp
strings

Mov. 3 – In the Hills Outside the City, the Old Man Sits by His Fire Conversing with the Forest Animals

picc solo
flute solo
oboe solo
english horn solo
french horn
Perc 1: Marimba
Perc 3: celeste
harp
keyboard (“chiffy” organ sound)
strings

Mov. 4 – Amidst The City’s Desolation The Anima Appears As A Woman Clothed In Radiant White

horn section & solo
trumpet solo
tuba
timpani
Perc 1: tam-tam
Perc 2: grand casa
Perc 3: tubular bells
harp
strings

Mov. 5 – Twilight Peal in the City of Dreams

horns section (unison)
trumpet section (unison)
strings

Score available for The Forest (for symphony orchestra)

Frideric in the snow by a fire ring_001 copyI’m in the process of editing my three most recent orchestral pieces. I just finished editing the score of the first of these. It can be downloaded (free) HERE. The audio may be streamed (free) HERE (or use the player below). I strongly recommend listening on headphones or good speakers, not just tiny laptop speakers.

In retrospect–I didn’t do this intentionally, things just came out this way–I’ve noticed that the “orchestra,” for which I naturally tend to write, has the following characteristics:

  • Normal string section;
  • Far fewer woodwinds and brass which are used almost exclusively only in solo/soli writing;
  • Expanded percussion/keyboard sections;
  • Always harp but also sometimes other plucked instruments;
  • Except for string section which seems to always be present in every movement, not all movements have same instrumentation, and some instruments might only be used in one or two movements.

For example, the instrumentation of this orchestral suite is as follows:

Flute
Oboe
English Horn
Horn
C Trumpet
Percussion 1

  • Tubular bells
  • Sistrum or tambourine (or any metal or bright sounding shaken instrument such as “egg” shaker)
  • Claves
  • Anvil or brake drum

Percussion 2

  • Hand bells
  • 6 large drums of varying sizes (in a pinch, roto-toms would do); notes immediately repeated should be of slightly different tonal inflection; the lowest 2 (or 3) drums may be of wood–at any rate, the lowest drums should be significantly lower than the upper 3

Percussion 3

  • Orchestra bells
  • Dumbek or a similar, single drum that can create a variety of pitches and timbers.

Harp
Violins I
Violins II
Violas
Cellos
Basses

A More Prodigious Tulip for cello and piano

2015-04-12 12.47.16 copyThis was composed in 1972. It has had several versions. This is the most recent. It is a series of variations (“strophes”) on an abstract Schenkerian melodic skeleton, embellished over the course of the variations as one might embellish a raga. Unlike a raga which is handed down by tradition, this underlying structure was composed by me. Two salient features that help the ear keep its place are the tonic cadences and the move from the raised 4th scale degree up to the 5th. The score is available at hiltonkeanjones.com/scores/A_More_P…gious_Tulip.pdf.