Performer Blogs@Sequenza21.com

Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.





11/05/2006
Snarky titles

Do I need one? I am preparing to revise my piece Ashamed/Unabashed, originally written for 2 pianos and chamber ensemble, and convert it into a chamber orchestra piece wtihout soloists. Maybe a full orchestra. Maybe band. Most likely orchestra, I really need the strings.

As you can tell, I am still making decisions.

Anyhow, the title of the piece has to go. It is a good title, even if it was once described as "something a 12 year old girl would write in her journal." The guy who said it had a dopey palindrome as the title of HIS piece, and, while the palindrome had nothing to do with his piece at all, I refrained from point that out. Until now.

The title of Ashamed/Unabashed really does sum up how I feel about writing. I am very ashamed of my work. I don't place much value on it at all. And that piece was about me getting over it. I started to have some real fun while writing, which I hadn't done in a long time. So it was the right piece at the right time. I'm getting better.

So, when transferring the work, I feel the need to change the title. I've been very turned off by cutesy titles, especially after hearing Cheating, Lying, and Stealing. I'd be perfectly happy naming the new version of the work "Chamber Symphony" or "Music for Small Orchestra" but I know that the piece will be looked over even more than it is in its current condition. Besides, there is a very hip modern term that I've started to take as a description of my compositional process:

Shark jumping.

I write for a while, then I take a hard turn in some contradictory direction. I jump the shark. Then, the rest of the piece becomes about justifying WHY I had to jump that particular shark. It is also a way for me as a composer to figure out what the heck I'm doing.

What do you think? Are snarky title passé? Is it better to hide behind a "safe" title?