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The Creative Processes of Music Composition: Music and Analysis

M. Patrick Byers: Interviews, Letters and Scores

This section is devoted to discussing the creative and compositional process of a contemporary composer, Patrick Byers. He permits us to peer into the intimate, mysterious and private corridors of a composer's emotional and mental stirrings that induces the inspirational flow and what we know as music.

I. Moby Dick Sonata
Byers' Moby Dick Interview
Moby Dick Sonata: Movement I PDF


The following passage from Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" aptly describes the feelings that your "Moby Dick" sonata evoked within me:

"There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fabled undulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John. And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potter's Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulism's, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberous in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness."

I was absolutely intrigued and mesmerized by this composition. The fourth movement especially was innovative and captivating. The string effects to simulate and mimic the hauntingly beautiful sounds of whales which they produce inside their blow-holes was fascinating and apropos to this composition, and not a prop or gimmick.

II. Music History Quartet

Byers' MHQ Interview
Music History Quartet: Movement V PDF


I adore the "Music History Quartet". It reminds me of the refreshing melodic and harmonic concepts that you would sketch out and bring to Dr. Mennini’s composition class during your embryonic stage as a composer at NCSA.

III. Sonata: Harlem

Byers' Harlem Interview I
Byers' Harlem Interview II
Byers' Harlem Interview III
Byers' Harlem Interview IV
World Premiere: Ist Movement
World Premiere: IInd Movement
World Premiere: IIIrd Movement
World Premiere: IVth Movement
Score: Harlem Sonata PDF Correspondence:


I was up until 3AM listening and attempting to analyze and decipher your "Harlem" Sonata. It is a truly fascinating composition. After familiarizing myself with the score I saved it as an audio file in Finale and used windows media player to listen to it. In music technology so much attention is given to the science of sound and studying sound waves. So to me it was utterly amazing to see the soundscape, the visualization of the peaks and valleys of this music composition. I noticed an intense amount of anxiety, like a city in turmoil.


Why Compose?
Technology, Composing, and NCSA Music Dean, Dr. Mennini
Creativity and Technology

Work In Progress: "The Teacher"

Larry: I had a bit more time than usual tonight. I explored your site (Creative Processes) and felt that youthful obsession with composing and composers. You got to me! My father, with good intent, pushed me on the baseball field. I enjoyed it but was stuck in the outfield where I could not do any damage. On my own time I was in the public library reading every book available on composers. Little excited me more than those walks to the library. Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, and one very memorable book on Debussy's life. I have tried to remember the title over the years to no avail. More...

Sketch for Teacher Movement I PDF Click here to listen and to see IInd Movement Click here to listen and to see IIIrd Movement Background Music: Music History Quartet, 3rd Movt. Recorded at the North Carolina School of the Arts in 2001

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