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  1. 2 likes
    Hi @Monarcheon and @danishali903, thank you both for the great feedback. I'm definitely going to go back and look at some things. Congratulations to all the entrants. I enjoyed each of your pieces. @Connor_Helms, I'm sure I'll grok your piece some time this century. @Noah Brode, if you choose to keep working on your piece, I'll be happy to help you get it ready for a band. It's good and it should be played.
  2. 2 likes
    Hi Justin - I think this is great. The clarinet part has a wonderful mix of virtuosity and lyricism, the piano part (and its interactions with the clarinet) is well-developed, and the harmonic changes and large-scale tension are handled expertly. You obviously know what you're doing, so please take my criticisms/suggestions with a grain of salt. As to where to go next, if it were me, I would ask myself: What do you want the "shape" of the recap to be? (Do you want the end of the development to be the emotional climax of the piece, or do you want to build all the way to the coda?) What should the character of the ending be (or, if you're thinking like Beethoven, which theme should be "triumphant"? You have such a big contrast between your first and 2nd themes, maybe you could exploit it more in the final section). One thing I would definitely get rid of, though, is the resolution at m. 360 (unless you want the movement to end within the next 10 measures). Otherwise, if you want to go on, you'll have to restart both the rhythmic and harmonic energy from scratch, and this can be difficult to do so late in the piece without losing the listener's attention. The piano part builds so nicely through most of the recap of Theme 2... what if you kept that energy going to transition into a more driving, climactic section instead of coming back down so soon (around m. 351)? I like the variety of harmonic ideas and characters in the movement (e.g. the contrast the 2nd theme provides--please keep it!) and I think you handle the transitions between them very well for the most part. A few of them seemed a little abrupt to me, though (off the top of my head, m. 183 and its counterpart at m. 314). I think this is just because you're resolving to tonic triads prematurely here, and it feels like you're interrupting the tension of the surrounding sections. Even just replacing chords like these with less-resolved ones would improve the flow, I think. That's a lot of words for relatively minor suggestions. It's very professionally written and would be a rewarding challenge for good performers... I hope you finish it and share the other movements here!
  3. 1 like
    This one's nice, thematic, and moves in its own progression. The lack of a counter motif was delightfully unnecessary. I personally hear this is melody to a scherzo for piano and trumpet though. It seems kind of lonely. However, I would highly recommend you look into rest beaming to make this performance better, or change some of your 16th notes to 8th notes with staccatissimo markings. It's just kind of hard to read. Cheers!
  4. 1 like
    Thank you for posting! I like how you use the characteristics of the bass clarinet. The music is nice too. I enjoyed it!
  5. 1 like
    Wow, that's really cool. I'm moved by that insight, @luderart, thanks for sharing that. Gustav Johnson
  6. 1 like
    Well then, you appear to be a minimalist in the best sense of the term. I think there are a lot of instrumentalists who would like to see more music like this, so you're probably on the right track, and you do it well. By the way, I noticed that you're from Lebanon! My ex-husband was born and raised in Beirut, and left during the great civil war to go to college in the United States. After he got his green card, we were able to visit Lebanon twice, and I loved it. It still has its challenges, but it's such a beautiful country, and the people are so friendly. I hope to visit again someday.
  7. 1 like
    1. Really disjointed sounding, at least to me. And I know it's supposed to be pointalistic but it suffered from a lack of coherency from what I heard. Yes, I hear the main motive repeated but I struggle to find one all-encompassing motivic style. Some of the notes mesh poorly in the vertical sense (mm. 8, 9) and overall it just didn't really speak to me. 2. The motivic line and the ripieno line really don't match to me. I know that it's repeated, but that doesn't inherently justify its use. There are more places where the vertical chords don't really blend as well. I would have personally used the rhythm of the last measure as the main motif, since it fits better with the time signature and progresses with chords rather than separate, polymodal lines. 3. This one was more enjoyable. My only real complaint is that you seem to have a strange disconnect between the tonic and dominant chords in the first system of music. This one flows a lot better than the other two though. I agree that the trumpeter should have acknowledged the work, at the very least. There's elitism, then there's being stuck up. I'm sorry you had to deal with that. Cheers---
  8. 1 like
    Your french horn player is going to have a word with you, haha. That goes pretty high up. The section at 1:13 was a really harsh dropoff from the energy of the previous section; the transitions could be better. Though I will say that the 1:13 was quite nice, the ending was really unsatisfactory for me... ending on a tonic C with no bass support or timbral percussion. It felt like you didn't really know how to end the cyclical chord progression. When you use repeated phrase segments sometimes it gets out of hand. For example, at around 1:03 you have this figure in the piano that only melds with some of the chords you place underneath it... the Em7 chord doesn't really fit the bill well for the ostinato. I just want more from it. The length is okay, I suppose, but I don't get the sense that a lot of the chord or phrase choices were done with a lot of vertical conviction as much as the horizontal. If it's the first thing you've written, color me impressed, since you have an idea as to what your final project to be. You know what you want each instrument or section to do, but the chordal execution is suffered. I think it's a great draft, especially the second major section, but I guess I was looking for different things.
  9. 1 like
    Hi Noah, Glad to. You've got a lot of good ideas and you're writing stuff that should get played. Re: the bass, in high school it's generally go with what you've got. Professional groups will, of course, get exactly what you ask for. In the community band space, having a string bass is generally 50/50 between classical bass and no bass at all. Very few players will bring an electric bass into a community band unless the score asks for it (some pop arrangements do), and most are older and learned classical bass in the first place.
  10. 1 like
    I'm a big fan of patterns and form, and I'm always listening for these in music. I found the pattern of four notes and a rest here appealing, even lulling and hypnotic, and I think I know what you were going for. I agree with both of the previous posters, however, that adding variety with the the judicious use of dynamics would add greatly to the effectiveness of the piece. I saw in your reply to Gustav that you are happy to have him add dynamics at his discretion. Was that your intention all along? If so, I can certainly understand that. I see also in your catalogue here that many of your works are for solo instruments unaccompanied, and I find this intriguing. Is there a particular reason why you prefer this? Listening to interesting pieces for solo instrument like this make me want to try it myself!
  11. 1 like
    Tenor goes a bit high in some places and you force the bass to make a 7th and a 6th jump, which in this time period are considered a little bit extraneous. Now, they're okay, but the AP test would mark you down for that. Measure 12 has a parallel 5ths in the 2nd beat. Fix that. Measure 13 has crossed voices between alto and tenor. Measure 9 has parallel 5ths between soprano and tenor. Measure 15 uses a cross beat voice which you can't do in this era either. Measure 7 be careful about omitting the 5th with a suspension. I might look again later with more time. I don't know what you meant by the fermata. Cheers!
  12. 1 like
    Here is the second movement of my sonatina for trumpet an piano. Played by Michael Brest and Enae Han.
  13. 1 like
    Here are a couple of solos I've done for Steely Dan's Black Friday. The solos are at the end of the score.
  14. 1 like
    Wonderful... it's great to listen to your work live. Congrats to you all...
  15. 1 like
    It was performed in Holland, but that's a minor issue, haha! It was a peasure to work with such a fantastic composer! Dankjewel! Thank you!
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    A revised version of these pieces was premiered by @Maarten Bauer (who had asked for pieces for this duo) and Simone Penders during the SEC Kunstcafe in Ede, the Netherlands, on April 7, 2017. I thank both of them for this wonderful performance and interpretation and for their dedication in realizing these pieces in concert.
  17. 1 like
    Here's a setting I recently completed of an almost-trite little poem by Bliss Carman (1861-1929). The music is considerably more complex than the words are, but this doesn't bother me--my intent was for the music to reflect the variety and contrasts between the images in the poem, and to underscore its message of strength in diversity. Do you think I succeeded? Recently, I've found I gravitate towards simpler texts for choral music. They seem to allow for a lot more flexibility and interpretation, and music can often add a much-needed extra dimension to them. How do you choose texts when writing vocal music? Also, how do you feel about the balance between choir and piano in the recording? While sample libraries (even word-building ones like Virharmonic) are nowhere near as good as a live performance, they DO allow me to tweak little details to my heart's content. Thanks for listening! SCORE AND AUDIO
  18. 1 like
    I wish you luck! Don't give up either! It's one of the most intricate instruments to learn at first, but the dividends are tremendous. :)
  19. 1 like
    The major seventh Neapolitan chords were a nice touch at the beginning. The advantage of doing it in major rather than minor, I'd say. Going from a major IV chord in the minor one key can be awkward if not handled correctly and I think that's the main thing I hear that's a little strange in this way. Sometimes you compliment it with an augmented 6th chord or a V chord and it sounds great, but the chords in combination with the melody makes that particular jump sound a little stilted. The middle section kind of stayed that way frozen for a while and wanted to go forward but didn't. I know that could have been done on purpose (harmonic repression is a great way to make an audience uncomfortable) but compared to everything else it just felt a bit weird. You're generally really good at combining your melody with interesting chords and sounds, which I definitely respect. Cheers!
  20. 1 like
    Really nice, seriously. I think at the chromatic saturation part, you could have had chords in the left hand to mirror the melody in the right hand just so it felt a little more grounded and not as random thrown in there. Remember that chords are another way to execute saturation. The E and F# before going back into G major was also nice, but it sounds a little bit awkward because the Cb is enharmonic with B, so it sounds like you arrived at the I chord before you actually did. The reharmonization was great! Remember that you can use this to your advantage with modulation too! For example at m. 38, you could have stayed in F major and had your melody adapt to the new key if you wanted. Reharmonization just opens up possibilities. :)
  21. 1 like
    I also like it . Beautiful.
  22. 1 like
    I was having trouble visualizing a timpani as Michael desired, but you made it all work, Blaire! Great job. Thank you, luderart : Having some decisions made for you generally makes things easier. I enjoyed writing this because it was one of the quickest and least fussed over things I've done. As for timing, composers have, for generations, counted BPM for timing/tempo, and relied on conductors to make music fit to other media. Now, of course, their is software to help with this.
  23. 1 like
    It is wonderful!
  24. 1 like
    This is very short, I know. The fact is I'm starting to learn about writing for the harp, which is fascinating. I know the notation of the pedal changes is unnecessary but I write them just for me. I love the sound of the harp and its possibilities. For now, I only want to do little pieces that are supposedly right, from the playing point of view. TULIPS.pdf
  25. 1 like
    Interesting little piece here... 1. The 3/4 + 5/4 pattern in the "main section" is an interesting touch; why did you choose to use that? 2. Things could have more impact, especially when repeated. You start the first main section with sounds that have a very slow attack envelope, and I'd suggest either something is done about it both times, or it's changed in the second time, since it's so climactic where it comes in. 3. With such a versatile melodic fragment you repeat a lot, I think it's possible to go places outside of D minor if you ever chose to revisit this piece; harmonic development engages audiences when expectations are set. 4. The "climax buildup" at around 1:23 severely lacked the drive to make those next punches sound forceful or fulfilled. I notice a lack of percussion in this piece and I think it could really benefit from things that both define the beat better and help support things that are passing beats or off beats. It's generally nice! I just wish there was more. Cheers!
  26. 1 like
    media-a8d40b9f.mp3 I'm senior in high school, and I'm becoming more and more interested in composition. I've taken a couple music theory classes, but beyond that, I have no idea what I'm doing. I wrote this for an English project using the text of a poem from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I only had 10 days to work on it, so it's far from perfect. But it's something! Poor Orphan Child (1).mid
  27. 1 like
    You're so good at making interesting and well conceived music that's also really fun to listen to! Also I can show this to my non-musical friends as an example of what prepared piano is and what it can do without showing them something boring or scary.
  28. 1 like
    @Noah Brode, I hope you know that you've got a lot of good stuff here already! I wouldn't be taking the time to learn the piece and give you detailed feedback otherwise. Anyway, here goes for the second movement: II. Thumbelina's Home My biggest observation about the movement is that the ends of sections generally feel a little abrupt to me. You might consider extending the final chords of some sections so they dovetail with the pickups to the next section. With a little more flow between sections this movement would come together nicely. The next biggest observation is the handling of chromatic spellings. Reading some lines as a performer, it's not clear to me what the tendencies towards resolution are for some of the chromatic alterations. For example, in m. 5, aurally that is very obviously a leading tone to A, but the spelling of Ab obscures that. G# would make that clearer. The B-flats following I would argue are A-sharps since they have a pull to B. (That said, I don't see a problem leaving the Bb for the harp since that makes the vertical sonority clearer for them.) Regarding the triplet flurries at B, I can't say I agree with slurring them by triplet. That would make sense for the strings, but in the woodwinds would break the line up more than I think you want there. Also, in these flurries, be aware that the notes below G4 on the Oboe are heavy and reedy. Synth patches don't illustrate that well. Given the range of the Bassoon from rehearsal letters B to C, it should be in tenor clef, not treble clef. At C, you might want to think about bringing the Oboe down an octave. You'll get a richer, reedier sound that may suit your con amore mark better. Great use of the Horn at m. 99! I wish I had a horn with me here to play that line. That said, a live horn player will probably produce more of a hemiola effect that you might want here. I can see leaving the preceding portion of C in 3/4, but I really do think m. 99 to rehearsal D would be better set in 3/2. The same comment applies to the Cello solo after rehearsal D. You have a balance problem at H. Putting all your brass on the top voice is going to obscure the bottom voice. You might save your lower horns (2/4) to reinforce that nice active bit in the lower voice in m. 211-214. They can continue to reinforce Cello an octave up until they go unison with the cello on the D in m. 219. At rehearsal J, it's not clear what sort of sound you're looking for out of the trumpets. If it's a big statement, I'd probably put them in octaves for the first two bars so that the first player had solid reinforcement on the high B. The fifths weren't working for me. If it's more subdued, I'd go one only. Either way, just be aware that a trumpet above the staff will project more than the synth brass would make it seem.
  29. 1 like
    That's a bit of a loaded question, don't you think? Range/tessitura-wise I think you do a pretty good job of using the nice sounds from each instrument. The key change was relatively smooth for a whole step change. The ending portion where the two instruments switch off feels a little bit out of character since the instruments blend together so nicely until that point. Maybe have them end homophonically (melody/accompaniment) or even polyphonically (two different melodies) to bring back that unity just for the end. It could have gone more places dynamically, especially text adventure games like that can get a little too in your face, but this variated enough to where the track as it now can be laid down. I'd experiment if you have some time though. I think it sounds great! You have a lucky friend.
  30. 1 like
    This is the piece I newly composed, hope everyone like it, and @Monarcheon welcome your commentation.
  31. 1 like
    Well, I certainly didn't expect that Interesting work. I want to say that I find andante scherzando to be a hilarious tempo marking but it's aptly named here. I also want to apologize for the MIDI... saxes kind of get a bad rep in the classical realm, clearly. m. 11-12, you want a pause/breath and also a slur? I've just never seen it written like that. I'm also confused why you restate 4/4 in the last measure... it's not like it changed? Very interesting stuff!
  32. 1 like
    Thanks Luderart!! The score is being sold .
  33. 1 like
    @Adrian Quince and @Monarcheon : You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for spending your free time to help me out with this; I really do appreciate it. After years of dabbling at computer screens, I feel like maybe, just maybe, I will have a chance to have this piece performed by a respectable orchestra someday. If that were to happen, it'd likely be because you took the time to help me eliminate weak points, strengthen the material, and polish things up. And even if that never happens, your help is still very meaningful to me. Thank you to both of you. I am working on your revisions as I type this out. :) @KJthesleepdeprived : Thank you! It's nice to get a slap on the back sometimes. I think I know how you feel about length -- I've always been self-conscious about how long my pieces are. It's almost as if there's a voice in the back of my mind saying, 'Why would anyone want to listen to your music for this long?' Full disclosure: I started working on this piece in the fall of 2015, just about a year and a half ago. Granted, only the second movement (of the current piece) survived my endless self-editing, and even that one ended up unrecognizable, but I do feel like I learned a lot just by chipping away at it day after day. And of course, the comments above prove that I have much, much more to learn, lol.
  34. 1 like
    I don't have any critical capacity available to me right now as I am both exhausted and not good at orchestra-related anythings. Besides you've got plenty of advice already so I'm just going to give you the ole "slap on the back" for a job well done. I have to hand it to you, 25 minutes is a long long time! I'm rarely able to break 5 minutes without meandering and monotonous repetition. This is really an accomplishment and it sounds quite nice. I'll look forward to hearing it again once you've improved upon it!
  35. 1 like
    Watch out for quivering notes over a suspended tonic in the beginning section. When you modulate to D it sounds better, but when you start off on CM6, the high flute can sound like D-flat which is awkward to the tonic and the ninth. In "The Beginning", I would pair the bell sounds, at least in the later section (starting with the Earth picture) with something that defines the tones a little bit better. It sounds kind of arbitrary at this point. Also in that demo, maybe a clearer tone shift could have been done, but I see what you were doing. The last one could have matched gradual intensity more, but a director wants what a director wants... trust me, I know. Overall, pretty impressive work, but all very ambient. I just wished there was a sample of really upbeat and harsh, fast, music. Cheers~
  36. 1 like
    So this piece came in a fit of rage (or more accurately frustration) that I hadn't really written anything new of substance in a long time (except the Istanbul piece but I have been working on that one for maybe two years so it no longer feels fresh). Since graduating college my output slowed to a crawl, partly because my full time job is so musically draining and partly because I didn't have ensembles to write for anymore. But I got sick of the stasis and threw together this ditty I present for your lambasting now.It's a Clarinet Sonata. Incredibly (miraculously?) I've never written a full-length solo sonata except for some early works which are garbage. I decided to do a sonata because it's the polar opposite of an orchestra piece and allows me to focus more on the fundamentals of harmony and rhythm and counterpoint, etc. I might try and write a few of these until I've improved somewhat before I attempt to write for orchestra/band again.Problems with this piece: the secondary theme ended up being way more schmaltzy than I anticipated but I do like it. I worry that it's so out of character compared to the other material that it doesn't make sense. Also, I got to the end of the second theme in the recap and I hit an obsidian wall. I have no idea what to do next. Most sonatas that I've seen might have a short recap of the first theme or both themes or some sort of code, but the ending cadence is so strong that I didn't feel any *need* to continue. Anybody have ideas?Please note the engraving is merely adequate. I didn't bother to put a lot of work into that yet since it is still in progress. (What's a bit weird is I find this engraving messy. Goes to show how publishing has forced my standards higher.) Further movements will be forthcoming, or this might just be a one-movement concert piece. Score is here in dropbox. My computer doesn't have Sibelius sounds so you'll have to suffer through a MIDI rendering. SCORE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/amlqtbbbys1goch/clarinet%20sonata.pdf?dl=0MIDI: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6hfc2zn2pp3pbq0/clarinet%20sonata.mid?dl=0Please enjoy and feel free to eviscerate this one! I want to improve.
  37. 1 like
    I think a score is always welcome. At first sight it sound like an improvisation. I don't mind a piece being formless, or almost. What I don't see is the mixture of moods: sometimes it's jazz, sometimes post-romantic. The irregularity in the rhythm makes me think it's going to be less tonal, but is isn't. Although I enjoy it, what I try to say is that it's not clear (for me) a common element in the piece, except that jumping writing. On the other hand, if the intention is to be played electronically, wouldn0t it be better another sound (not classic piano)?
  38. 1 like
    Hi Noah, I really enjoyed this! It has such a wonderful late 19th century feel to it and creates a mystical world. A few general comments after two trips through the score: 1. Be very careful about E#, B#, and any double-sharp spellings. Only use them when they make absolute sense. 2. The staccatissimo mark is often played with a sense of accent as well as short. I think your quarter note staccatissimos would be better off as 8th note staccatos followed by 8th rests. 3. You don't need to restate instrumentation between movements. 4. Only the title of the work gets its own page. Movement names are stated above the first system of the movement. 5. Copyright notice should only be on the title page and first page of the work. Anywhere else and it catches the conductor's eye as a possible instruction. 6. Page numbers at the top of the page, not the bottom. Also, page numbering should be continuous.
  39. 1 like
    Hello, I thought I would share this song I wrote from the new musical, Jesse James: DEAD OR ALIVE. The show is based on the life of the Western outlaw Jesse James. The music has a rock/Americana style so I thought this might be the best area to post. Thank you for listening! https://soundcloud.com/emlaproductions/ride-on-from-jesse-james-dead
  40. 1 like
    Disclaimer by Monarcheon: Congratulations and thank you to all competitors who put so much time and effort into their works. While we do prescribe winners for our competitions, it is so important to recognize the communal event’s purpose of having everyone strive to be their very best. There was no work submitted without merit and it was a pleasure to honor all submissions with my humble opinion. Disclaimer by danishali903: Congrats to all who participated! It was very entertaining to read your stories and hear your music. Since I've been busy for the past few months, my reviews are a little less detailed than they usually are for competitions. If you have any questions regarding your scores, or need more clarification about anything, please don't hesitate to PM me. ADRIAN QUINCE: danishali903: 94 Monarcheon: 85 GRAND TOTAL: 179/230 SENI-G: danishali903: 85 Monarcheon: 75 GRAND TOTAL: 160/230 SEBASTIANVIOLA: danishali903: 79 Monarcheon: 71 GRAND TOTAL: 150/230 CONNOR_HELMS: danishali903: 72 Monarcheon: 75.5 GRAND TOTAL: 147.5/230 NOAH BRODE: danishali903: 73 Monarcheon: 70 GRAND TOTAL: 143/230 CONGRATULATIONS ADRIAN QUINCE!
  41. 1 like
    Hey, thank you very much. I'd really appreciate your continuing help if you're able to give it. You know your stuff. The piece definitely needs some work, so hopefully I can submit a revised version in a few weeks taking into account the judges' (spot-on) critiques. I'd be happy to tag you if you're still interested in helping me along. Also, I was remiss earlier in not thanking @Monarcheon and @danishali903 for their good work in organizing and judging. Thanks!
  42. 1 like
    Congratulations to all the other entrants, especially Adrian Quince, whose work was quite deserving of the win.
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  44. 1 like
    Hi Justin, I like it so far! It's charming and brings a lot of character out of the clarinet. And personally, I'll take your messy engraving over a lot of people's finished product... (take that as a compliment from a fellow engraving nerd!)
  45. 1 like
    MIDI files are normally harder for our members to open. If you have other ways of sharing the piece, it would be much appreciated. What I'm getting from the extraction I don't think is what you intended to write. For a first composition, I think you have a clear vision of what you wanted to accomplish, which is great, so let's start with just a couple things that I think stood out to me the most. *Crossed voices are used too frequently. We keep things concise in their temporal ranges because it lets the voices come out as intended. It's a little obscured here. *It can be even more fluid! Even in its skeletal form, I think I can extrapolate that the chord transitions can be done more smoothly. This can be done by focusing on the bass voice and how it moves and supports each chord within a nice tessitura and support the voice leading. Looking up "cactus firmus" forms would be useful to guide you. Good luck to you on this wonderful journey you're beginning to take! :)
  46. 1 like
    What do you guys think about my relatively new piano work? I greatly appreciate your time listening to it and giving your thoughts! Thank you!
  47. 1 like
    I. Way too sporadic for me. Too many atmosphere shifts. Extended harmony is cool, but doesn't have to be used in every chord either. II. You could have fooled me that this was a continuation of the first movement. Having this one be different is important. Critics normally pan works that have similar movement structures. Playing around with a D was an interesting decision. III. Despite the chord sounding fine, this sounds like accompaniment... Try to avoid using too much iv -> i IV. Best one here. Travels places harmonically and stylistically, but all feels coherent. The B minor chord, back to the G minor chord felt very awkward, though. Cheers!
  48. 1 like
    Nice work, and the kids were definitely little Broadway troopers.