Friday, April 27, 2007

The Atlanta Score Study Group's New (Old) Direction

From Eddie Horst:

This is an announcement about The Atlanta Score Study Group (ASSg) regarding some changes in its focus and direction.

As you may know, ASSg, in a previous incarnation, was started by Eddie Horst, but revived and artfully managed over the past year by Jonathan Cazanave.

The original direction of the group was to be as the name implies: studying great music by listening to recordings and diligently examining and learning from the score. The ultimate aim was to increase our skills and proficiency as composers by truly understanding the means by which great music was created in works that we admired.

Many of the past meetings did indeed focus on this goal, but I came to learn that about half the attendees had various other goals (all very worthy). So to better address our various interests I would like to introduce a solution for all of us. First, I would like to return ASSg to its original course, and second, because of exciting new developments in the Atlanta composer community, I would encourage those not focused on score study to find an existing group, or even to create a new one that more suits their needs. There is plenty going on. Jonathan showed us that there are many eager composers in our midst.

Before I describe how ASSg might better operate, let me describe how our relationship to the Atlanta composers' community will be strengthened through our friend, Darren Nelsen. As many of you know, Darren is a great organizer and visionary who maintains an excellent blog at News of ASSg's meetings have been and will continue to be disseminated through his blog, along with news from other groups. So ASSg is not going away. It is simply refocusing back to its original mission and continuing to stay in touch with the community through Darren's blog. ASSg is one part of a larger thing.

ASSg Purpose: To study scores communally so as to help ourselves and each other become better composers.

Participation: If you agree to be a part of ASSg, and you show up at a monthly meeting, you must agree to commit to some listening and studying beforehand. Yeh, like homework, but the payoff might be more exciting than a mere degree. You will also be expected to give something at the meeting. Remember, this is like a musical commune: everyone gives, everyone gets. Anyone can suggest a piece for the group to study. The score and mp3 will be made available by me to everyone a month or so beforehand. The score may even come as a standard midi file which would allow easy non-transposed analysis in sequencer or notation software while synchronized with the audio.

What to Study:
Classical, Romantic or Contemporary music written for an ensemble
Classic or contemporary film scores
Our own music, as long as it is of benefit to all of us
Various other music that is a) good and b) appealing to the group

ASSg will be interesting, thought-provoking, educational, inspiring, and certainly fun. However, to be those things for everyone, it will require a commitment for each of us to listen and study intently beforehand and then actively participate in the meetings. When this works well it is actually a thrilling experience (Well, at least for me).

The analysis can touch on anything that might help us write better music including but not limited to:
compositional aspects
vertical structures
the line and horizontal aspects
tension and release
emotional effects
and on and on.

If you are interested in being an active member in the new ASSg, please send me a quick email indicating what you feel you can contribute for your own and the group’s enlightenment. Give me your thoughts on how the new ASSg will help you. Give me your thoughts on what you might want to change or add. We will try to keep the number of participants at a relatively low number so that we can stay on track with the most committed members. Incidentally, I am inviting a few very serious score study buddies who have not been to any previous meetings.

I will set up the first meeting when I hear from you. We can continue to meet monthly at Crawford on any night we choose. Jonathan will likely be involved in managing things but his duties will not be as extensive. We will all share.

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