5 : 3



For french horn and double bass     Score Sample



5 :3

May 3, 2020

Version for french horn and double bass commissioned by Lisa Ford

From “Maytudes” – a french horn etude project in consultation with Gail Williams, with one etude created every day during the month of May, 2020

from composer Jim Stephenson (from original Maytudes etude book):

OK – so during my playing days, if I had opened up an etude book and seen this one, I would have just kept on turning to see what the next one might look like. All those flats?? 5/8 time? Why??!

Well – there are two things that affect me greatly as a composer:
1) getting the hard things out of the way early on.
2) Giving myself rules and limits so that I am forced to create within those guidelines.

In the case of the second item, I had been thinking about some of the things Gail Williams had been encouraging me to incorporate: mixed meter, wide leaps, and mid-to-low range.
Combined with my attempts to make each etude relevant to each given day,
I found myself wondering how I could include those in any kind of way while also creating a five against three (for May 3) pattern.

In measure 1, and in many subsequent measures, the 5 notes that fall on each eighth-note beat, pitted against the bottom bass notes (Ebs), represent a five against three pattern.
OK – but so what? Music based on math doesn’t mean anything
unless it is musically and emotionally enjoyable to play and to listen to. Take a look at Bach, for example. Enough said.

Which is why I did my best to accomplish that, creating worthwhile music,
even with all the guidelines I placed upon myself.
And, in case I didn’t, I made sure to incorporate some B-A-C-H, just to make sure I’d have his influence to keep me safe… (the top-notes Bb-A-C-Bn pattern in many measures musically spells “Bach”)
And if you add my initials, it creates a “JS Bach”, which is close as I will ever get!!

I would think there could be a wide variety of tempos used to make this
etude successful, which is why I didn’t indicate any specific metronome marking.

I do plan on making tomorrow’s a bit more fun, and easier, so if you feel like just turning the page, I’d understand.

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