Colton Dodd & Q-Ten | Becoming

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: New Music Ensemble Moods: Type: Political
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by Colton Dodd & Q-Ten

This music is the early works of Colton Dodd. It begins with six tracks that explore the complex political issue of Palestinian land loss, then the next six tracks takes a journey exploring contemporary string quartet writing in a well-used classical form
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Set the Space
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
3:17 $0.99
2. Perfectly Full
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
3:08 $0.99
3. Just One Drop
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
2:18 $0.99
4. Cut and Dry
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
3:21 $0.99
5. Fall Through the Fingers
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
5:02 $0.99
6. 22%
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
4:52 $0.99
7. The Me
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
1:06 $0.99
8. On Creaking Floorboards
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
3:26 $0.99
9. On Whales and Sharks
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
2:04 $0.99
10. On Ascending Specks
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
2:00 $0.99
11. On Wobbling Ladders
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
1:54 $0.99
12. Theme Floats Among Self
Colton Dodd & Q-ten
6:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Hello and welcome!

Thank you for taking the time to explore this album and learn more about my music, and by extension myself.
My name is Colton Dodd. I am a composer and pianist currently based in New York. My musical journey began as a young adult writing music for films I made with my best friend, Ben Gadams. Collaborating and creating art encouraged me to go to college and study music. I now have a Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in piano performance from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters Certificate in Orchestration for Film and TV from Berklee College of Music, and will soon receive a Masters in Music in Film Scoring from New York University, Steinhardt.
I like to describe myself as a collaborative composer, as the music I write is often made in tandem with other artistic mediums. I thrive on making music that supports and elevates the work of others.
In this album you will find two separate works. The first six tracks, titled “22%,” are from a multimedia project about land loss in Palestine. The last six tracks, “The MeAnd Variations,” are from a personal project that takes a satirical, contemporary look on the form of Theme and Variations. I made this album to document and showcase the first steps I’ve taken in my journey as a composer, hence the name “becoming.” It also serves as a capstone and monument to my time spent and relationships made while living in Richmond, Virginia. Listening to this album is like walking through a library filled with the memories, lessons, relationships, and love that were created while I was in Richmond. Enjoy.
If you want to delve deeper in the archives of this library, please visit my website:

22 Percent: A Disintegrating Data Visualization

22 Percent: A Disintegrating Data Visualization is a dance theater, projection, and music performance exploring the dissolution of Palestinian land since the founding of Israel. The work explores what drastic land loss means for the cultural, emotional, spiritual, and physical lives of those displaced throughout the last 70 years. The choreographer, writer, and performer, Hallie Chametzky, navigates physicality and narrative text which embodies decreasing percentages, starting at 100 and working down to 22. Projections and animations, created by Fiona Penn, create a kinetic landscape depicting shifting landscapes, maps, and resources.

“Set the Space” starts the performance off with the soul of the whole work, the voice, wandering and wavering as we enter a space of reflection on Palestine. We are then introduced to the full ensemble creating planes of sound, slowly being chipped away instrument by instrument, until we arrive back where we began with the voice. This piece embodies the structure and essence of the whole work.

“perfectly full” propels us forward, building to the usage of the full ensemble. We are at 100%, everything is present in telling the story. As we become comfortable with this story, the music crescendos, then ends suddenly.

“just one drop” begins where we left off, but as a whisper of its former self. Now we hear the voice, the soul of the piece, become more prominent as it leads us down this familiar but altered path. We begin to lose parts of the ensemble, and consequently other parts of the family become louder to compensate for the loss. We end at a large climax, too soon once again, with only 75% of our space left.

We now recognize our significant loss in “cut and dry” and begin to lament. Here we explore the space we have remaining, and end up losing even more. Again we mourn with the voice and the whispers of the violin.

61% left - “Fall through the fingers.” The resistance begins, stating what is left and celebrating in the strength that resides there still.

“22%” With what is left of the original ensemble we explore the loss that has taken place. We hear hope for the future, exhaustion from the present, and mourning for the past. The piece ends as it began, with the soul singing, now exhausted.

The MeAnd Variations

One of the first forms one learns about when studying music is the Theme and Variation. It allows a student to see how one can start with a simple, memorable melody and transform and extend this melodic idea into many variations. Usually the variations keep the same structure and vary the theme melodically, rhythmically, or harmonically. In this Theme and Variation, I jest at the simplicity of this form and extend the idea of varying a theme to a new, contemporary landscape. As you listen, you’ll rarely hear the whole theme stated in its entirety. Each variation takes a motif or gesture from the theme and greatly expands upon it, challenging the listener to identify what aspects from the theme each variation is using.

Inspired by a Schubertian melody, the theme’s main melodic motif is stated immediately in “the me.” This melody is the key to the whole work, hearing this melody lets us know we’re home. In about 30 seconds this short, whimsical, even corny theme is done.

Then, in “on creaking floorboards,” we are hit with a scenery change, as a quiet, somber, two note melodic fragment sings in the air. This two note melody is a slightly altered gesture which starts each melody in the theme. The short fragment begins to evolve and then eventually disintegrates into a 20th century soundscape. Finally, after much anticipation, the melodic fragment fully evolves into a distantly familiar four measure phrase.

After the last somber variation the mood does not lift, instead entering into “on whales and sharks,” a dirge. Spirits begin to rise as we enter more familiar melodic waters. It is here where a melody arises that brings us home for a moment, but ultimately resolves back to a gentler, lighter dirge.

By this point you may be yearning to be reminded of the whimsical home where we began, and “on ascending specks” lets you glimpse it from the horizon. A lovely, long look is cut short by the dirge reappearing, one last glance over the horizon and we move to the next variation.

“on wobbling ladders” is full of memories of home. We bombastically continue our journey as we hear voices enter one at a time, reciting melodies from the theme, distorted and renewed.

It is here at “theme floats among self” where we are hit with a sense of longing for the theme again. This time, however, we hear the theme in its entirety in a new way. We recount the journey that we have taken and transform that into our new theme.
This music was only able to come to life because of the hard work of many individuals.
I am so grateful and deeply indebted to all of my friends who offered their time and skills as an act of friendship and comradery. Without them this album would not exist, without them I would never have the chance to share my commentary on the world through this medium.


The ensemble-
Alex Kehayas - Bass
Cameron Bessicks - Trumpet
Chanel Hurt - Violin 2
Emory Freeman - Clarinet
Dr. Erin Freeman - Soprano
Iman Williams - Flute
Kayla Modlin - French Horn
Maddie Erskine - Cello
Marissa Resmini - Violin 1
Patrick Gadams - Trombone
Quinton Folks - Viola
Terralynn Mikell - Violin 2

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Julio Taylor at Muzq2daear Production Studio

Album and CD graphic design by Ryan Rich

The following people were at the core of making all of this possible and deserve a special thank you:
Quinton Folks
Hallie Chametzky
Julio Taylor
Dr. Erin Freeman
Dr. Sonia Vlahcevic
Dr. Patrick Carlin
Dr. Stefan Swanson



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