Duets for Three Friends

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Arts and Humanities | Composition | Music


Brian Campbell, Music


Over the course of two years, I composed three instrumental duets: Evil Adventures for bassoon and piano, Sarabande for violin and piano, and March and Tedesca for trombone and piano. For these works, I paired the piano – an instrument for which I feel comfortable composing – with a member of three main instrumental families: woodwinds, strings, and brass. I viewed these works as “composition training wheels,” preparing me for large-scale, orchestral writing. Additionally, I intended each piece as a sort of musical offering for three gifted friends. Working closely with these musicians informed me of more than just their instruments’ ranges; I learned timbre, color, special effects, and “what just sounds good.” With these talented instrumentalists and myself at the piano, I performed the bassoon and violin pieces publicly several times, including at my junior and senior piano recitals. I also wrote a detailed paper on the duets, analyzing key movements, motivic development, unifying elements, and musical influences.