<p>Suprise! This is my common app essay. I didn't really write it with one of their prompts in mind, so there's not really a specific prompt to evaluate it against. Any feedback is appreciated!</p>
<p>A flute and guitar duet affectionately entitled Blargh marked my debut as a composer last June. While it may seem odd, I believe that composing will be one of the most valuable experiences Ive had as I pursue a research-based career in physics.</p>
<p>To begin composing, I determined the nature and scope of the piece I would write. Instrumentation was my first concern. I settled on guitar an instrument Ive played since the fourth grade- and flute - an instrument whose timbre sonically compliments guitar. After selecting instrumentation, I determined form, tonality, and estimate length.</p>
<pre><code>Taking these first steps of composition is like deciding upon a research topic; each defines and constrains the task. My task was to create a two minute-long, ternary song, in D major, that would build and expand upon the style of a Baroque duet. When I conduct research as a physicist, my task may be to explore the behavior and creation of terahertz radiation, filling gap in the electromagnetic wave spectrum. But the over-arching goal remains the same: to use accepted theory to expand the current spectrum of knowledge. To a composer, that collection of knowledge is all the written music; to a scientist, it is scientific research to date. The best composers and best scientists are simultaneously the most knowledgeable and the most creative. They push past the boundaries of current knowledge by creatively using what is known to discover even more; the more creative they are, the farther they push.
The actual composition followed the initial planning. I turned rough harmonies and melodic sketches into polished music. This step in the song-writing process mirrors developing a procedure. Both outline the approach to a goal. If I follow the sheet music, I will play my song; if I follow the procedure, I will conduct my experiment.
<p>During the composing, I continually played and listened to what I was writing. As a scientist would often adjust procedure to improve results after completing a few trials, I constantly reworked my initial harmonies and melodies to elevate the musical quality of my composition. All these changes will result in the definitive trials from which data is used to support the claim, the performance that best realizes the score. I performed my duet for my music theory class, with a fellow student, as a demonstration that my score was possible to play and musically sound. As a scientist, I will conduct demonstrations for to show that my procedure is viable and produces accurate results. This certifiable repetition is essential in both science and music. Other musicians should be able to play my duet; other scientists should be able to conduct my experiment. Both should yield the same results.</p>
<pre><code>After performing, I discussed the crafting of my duet, and answered questions from my teacher and my class about my piece. This final stage of the project, again, directly correlates to the final stages of research. As a researcher, I will be required to defend the validity of all aspects of my research as I had to prepare to defend any harmony, any cadence, any melodic statement in my piece.
It comes as no surprise to me that what is perceived as one of the most creative careers, composition, can be drawn so closely parallel to what is perceived as one of the most technical careers, research. Each requires a balance of theory and creativity: theory is the foundation from which creativity builds. I will construct my career in physics on that philosophy.