Tip #70 – Crafting with Asymmetrical Timelined Phrases

Take a look at the example below and figure out of there are any patterns:

You may have noticed that the middle staff if a 2-bar phrase that is repeated over and over again. Also, you may have realized that the staff at the bottom is a 1-bar figure played like an ostinato.

Everything looks even enough in the typical grouping you would expect for any composition until we look at the top staff. Surprisingly, it is at 5-bar phrase that doesn’t match-up as neatly as the other grouping.

These different lengths of repeated phrases within a structure create an asymmetric timeline for when everything will repeat and land back in sync.

Experiment with different phrase lengths that don’t match exactly with one another. Also, you can use some cool phasing techniques to develop lines!


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Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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