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Composer Errollyn Wallen discusses some of the compositional ideas in her piece 'Mondrian', performed here by Ensemble X. She explains the importance of choosing the right instruments to convey your ideas. She thinks in terms of colours and textures in musical composition. Ideas explored on the piano are transferred to classical instruments in a jazzy piece. The first example combines the sounds of wind instruments with the ethereal sound of harmonics from string instruments. The second highlights the importance of dissonance to add spice and variety to harmonies, which are further shaped using dynamic variation and rhythmic patterning.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
28 September 1992

Classroom Ideas

After watching this clip, get the students to think about the instruments they are using in their compositions. What sort of mood are they trying to achieve? Have they used the instruments to their full potential? Could they integrate the idea of dissonance? Set students a practical activity on the keyboards to compose a short chord sequence that features dissonance.

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