Experimental Music. HELLLLLP

Ok tmp'ers.....a challenge....my daughter, 14 yrs old, has to compose a piece of music re herGCSE and has requested my assistance.......well I must say GCSE music, or O level, as it were in that dark and dim past of my youth.

Having given up illegal substances, I am at a loss in terms of imagination on this one and would welcome helpful suggestions............smiles
Here is the 'Composition Brief'
The New Age Anarchy Society is holding an Arts Event entitled STORY. You are asked to create a piece of music that uses unusual vocal and/or instrumental sounds and experimental techniques to tell a short story. You should notate your composition as a detailed graphic score.
Aim to perform it!

Is it just me with the mental indigestion here?

Many thanks for your pending contributions/suggestions.


experimental options

This is how I'd approach it.

a) Choose a set of instruments that are available. If this is not a problem then choose instruments that you and you're daughter are familiar with. For me it would be brass or percussion instruments.

b) Having chosen a story, for instance, stories that are not too complex and are short as defined in the abstract. I would perhaps describe a day on a farm...loads of sounds in the countryside and perhaps these sounds could be recreated by brass or percussion..i.e sunrise..glock and muted cornet playing a figure that is shaped as a rooster would sound in the morning etc....u could even go through to the very end of the night and have the sun going down with a downward swipe going down the glock and perhaps a howl of a wolf portrayed by a flugal or an instrument you may think would do the job.

c) After choosing the sounds, then go and draw the graphic score as you would imagine the sounds in your head...there is no real need for bar lines just as long as the sounds are marked in a particular order.

d) Then mark the dynamics and times perhaps.

e) then all you have to do is perform it .


Active Member
Since it's a New Age Anarchy society I think it would be a mistake to use conventional instruments. My idea would be to use bottles (which can be recycled afterwards - very New Age) and to allow each performer to partially fill the bottles independently so the pitch relationships in the final ensemble are not pre-determined. There's the Anarchy.

I disagree with Richard to an extent - bar lines, or at least some sort of temporal measure are useful to keep everyone together (where this is desirable) and to establish the pace of the music. I would suggest using graph paper where each row represents a bottle and each column represents (say) two seconds of time. Use different colours for different dynamics, different beaters etc. Or play the bottles on a 'bang or blow ' (beurgh!) basis and invent a different symbol for each.

I'm not sure that anarchists really go for stories in a big way, do they? If so, I would take a conventional narrative and cut it up into pieces, then incorporate the fragments into the graphic score in a random, non-sequential order, for the performers to speak between bottle notes.



Supporting Member
Straightmute said:
allow each performer to partially fill the bottles independently so the pitch relationships in the final ensemble are not pre-determined. There's the Anarchy.

Wouldn't it be much more fun for the performers to buy a full set of bottles (say a 12-pack) and then empty them different amounts to produce the random tones?

At least I would enjoy emptying the bottles more than filling them :lol:

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
Dave Euph said:
GCSE music composition sure got complicated just a few years down the line ... :?

My thoughts exactly...
We just had to write 3 compositions which varied in style! :shock:
Glad I was born when I was!! :lol:

Wish your daughter good luck with it! :D

P.S: Use anything and everything!
Percussion is good for effects and stuff...



tMP Founder
Staff member
Naruco said:
P.S: Use anything and everything!
Percussion is good for effects and stuff...


Have to agree with Naomi there. I have a mate who wrote and recorded a song on a Roland Juno Synth several years ago - but using cereal boxes, a table, and a cup for the percussion - and a pencil for the stick. He said to me recently that no-one seems to have identified or mentioned this to him at all... :lol:

Some great effects to be had all over really... :) good luck.


Active Member
may I suggest a radiator and a fire extinguisher... as long as you tell the people you steal the fire extinguisher off that you are taking it! I think if you could do a "Scream" style story line (lots of shouting, screaming and evil laughs as well as random instrumentation) I think it could work quite well, and it would be good for a laugh...

not sure about the bar line thing... I think as long as you have someone leading it who can give clear signs when you move from section to section you should be ok!

Well Worth It

Active Member
Why not take the instumentation out of your daughter's hands.
Advise all the 'performing anarchists' that in order to be admitted into the Society they are required to bring something to use as an instrument.
Then get your daughter to write as many parts as necessary, without knowing what they are for.
Rhythm will obviously be of upmost importance, so narate the story through interesting patterns.

You could always call it "The Queen Smokes Crack", for extra marks.
Wetting myself with laughter here, but never the less, some really good and interesting ideas. For the more adventurous ideas, may I ask, are you on drugs? If not perhaps you should be!.........only joking........

Please keep the suggestions coming, I’m sure my daughter will credit the final piece to all those contributions included in the final piece. One never knows, perhaps Roger may even publish it.........!

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