Italian Trulli Philippe Barbe

Music is a life long interest. I have been serious about it at various points in my life, in various forms.

I play the piano, though much less than before. I played the clarinet, the organ, and wrote a lot of music decades ago. Music technology was reserved for professionals then. However, I had the great luck to meet the wonderful composer, architect and engineer Iannis Xenakis and write for his UPIC. Otherwse, music paper was the only option to write music, and it was still fairly expensive.

Years later, in 2020, as I had to travel during the covid-19 pandemic, and had to quarantine a couple of times. I was seeking to do something unusual while locked in a bedroom. I was told about MuseScore and thought it would be interesting to try writing some music with it.

I found composing with a computer a very different experience than with paper, and I ended up writing very different music. On a laptop it is impossible to have an overall view of the score. Sketching a small bit is also more clunky than writing it quickly on a piece of paper, particularly since I was learning the software and using a laptop with its small unique screen. But there are things that are deceptively simple, like copying a pattern and transposing.

I like the baroque tradition of leaving a lot of freedom to the player, and therefore not marking too much the score. Afterall, if anyone wants to play these pieces with even other instruments, they are very welcome to do so. As the pianist Alexandre Tharaud wrote in the introduction to his recording of Bach transcriptions, in that time, copyright did not exist, and transcribing a piece from a composer for other instrument was a way to honor that composer. The drawback is that the software does not render the piece very well, and sometimes really badly!

I am realistic on my composition skills! I am doing it for my own amusement, not as a serious composer. But this gives you a glimpse of my psyche when I am quarantined.

Quarantine 1 (flute)

Quarantine 2 (oboe)

The rendering of the music through the software is quite good for binary rythms, but this piece has a a lot of triplets. The software does not interpret: it places no accents on the beats and does not add dynamic. There are MuseScore tricks to fix these problems, but they are time consuming to implements. As a consequence, the piece Quarantine 2 is rendered very poorly.

Quarantine 3

Spring 2021

The rendering of the music through the software is unfortunately flat, with little dynamic and lacks the elegance that envisionned. I did not want to spend the time to mark the score. This is reflected in the result.