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Artful music composition

Sean O’Keefe spent his six weeks developing an original music composition under the guidance of Dr. Lee G. Barrow, professor of music, with the goals of developing compositional skills, exposing audiences to new musical works, and learning and discussing the compositional process.

“The research I conducted during this project greatly helped me in developing stronger aural, compositional, and theoretical skills in the field of music,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe’s final result was a three-movement composition that used one central idea for the separate movements. This is known as programmatic music. O’Keefe chose to base his composition on dreams, with the first movement reflecting happy dreams, the second being a transition piece, and the third representing a nightmare.

“One of the most challenging yet rewarding tasks of this project was learning how to schedule and pace myself,” O’Keefe said. “Because this was a creative project, it was very difficult to establish a work flow. I feel much more prepared for similar projects in the future.”

After FUSE ended, O’Keefe continued to refine the composition, and has since begun preparing for live public performances. After the shows are performed, audiences will have the opportunity to discuss the music with O’Keefe and learn about the process he went through in constructing the movements.

"This has been an excellent experience for my student and myself,” Barrow said. “FUSE is a great program. It provides an opportunity to enhance the skills of an advanced student, which is difficult to accomplish during the regular academic year. The entire process is very rewarding and highly fruitful."

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