Forum Thread Promotion
Looking for a composer to write music for your video? Inquire here!
Off Topic Role Play
Music Appreciation


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


markstyles last won the day on July 14 2016

markstyles had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

13 Good


About markstyles

  • Rank
    Intermediate Composer
  • Birthday 11/24/1948

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    New York, NY
  • Occupation
  • Interests
  • Favorite Composers
    John Lennon, Paul McCartney
  • My Compositional Styles
    easy listening, quasi pop
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Logic Pro
  • Instruments Played
    kbds, computer

Recent Profile Visitors

2,118 profile views
  1. Yes, I totally agree with you Luis. Also brief dissonances are important to create the opportunity for 'resolution'.. very satisfying., The dissonances kind of fall into the background and instead we are presented with an emotional mood, (perfect to set a film scene) Here I imagine a half eaten meal on a perfectly set table.. some one knocked the wind glass over, it makes a small concise stream across the table cloth, and down the side.. The place of food is cracked and slightly separated.. a small amount of food has been knocked off the plate... and the front door is open.. That is the scene I see in my mind.. Becoming immune to dissonance does seem to be an occurrence our brain adjusts too.. I quite like adding a dissonant note an octave or two above.. I also vary the duration, and velocity of the dissonant note. or advance it forward in time so it becomes a 'smudge'. I think our brain 'automatically' smooths some of these things out. I had an accomplished jazz pianist, who liked to do this, he called them 'artifacts' of the music.. Very good example of your premise...
  2. Here's a piece I did 3 years ago.. Exploring EZ listening, trying to sooth ravaged nervous system, which seems to be so common, as we age, and still try to take the world seriously. I built a sound palette using 'comfort food' sounds.. This way the song was already half way there. I've been interested in the psychological impact of the sound of particular instruments.. I started with the premise there were several instruments in the conversation, each with a similar attitude, but slightly different point to add (specific motifs for each).. Like an accordion, can sound corny, but it also can sound very comforting, remind you of your ethnic background (if that fits, being 1/2 Italian yes).. It will also automatically draw up feelings of nostalgia, if the right melody, and modal scales are used.. The epiano, along with its chords, draws in a relaxed atmosphere.. (some Mike McDonald, Dooby Brothers easy pieces).. I threw in some jazz electric guitar soloing, to make is sound 'sophisticated?'.. The flute of course always conjures up a certain frame of mind.. The mellow sax, furthers the relaxed state of mind.. There is a fair amount of dialog between the different instruments, almost makes it feel like a 'town meeting', between instruments, regionality of instruments home land.. The sax and jazz guitar double at the end, letting the listener know the instruments are in complete agreement in their conversation.. The mellow brass, and simple high strings, set the framework for the whole conversation. During this period (and still to the present), I most often start with a chord progression, experimenting a fair amount, with substitutions, sine waving with simple to complex chords, coming back down, Playing with pacing of chord changes, to further vary the dialog.. Then I often just 'jam' with different instrument sounds, till I get an instrument actually making some kind of statement. When I start to get a couple of musical instrument statements, I begin the process of actually having them 'dialog' with each other.. I know some here don't appreciate the large number of instruments/sounds I sometimes use.. But it seems an area of exploration, I must work my way thru.. I do truly admire those who get a point across with a minimum of instruments.. but I feel obliged to experiment in the area. As piece comes together, I sometimes have to go back and delicately alter chord progression, because of new chords implied by specific notes of a melodic motif.. So for me, the process of composing is much like having a woman's complex dress (with many different panels and colors) sitting on a dress form.. I am constantly going here, letting something out, tucking in another area.. taking one panel out, and replacing with two different colored panels, filling the same shape. Another way of looking at it, is 'creating' a cross-word puzzle'. You start with a couple of nice big complex words, then you have to fill in the rest of the puzzle with words, that will fit. I have recently been 'binge watching' video on Amazon Prime.. I recently finished two series, 'The Wire' and 'Falling Skies'.. Each one was five seasons long.. They both gave me insight into how they could continue a story line, over such a long period.. In both series, both shows, killed off some actors, introduced new ones, in each succeeding season.. A pattern I clearly see in my life at the age of 68 now.. Life is a series of chapters, (like the seasons of a TV show). Each season, or chapter in our lives, has a central focus.. Some issues get resolved, others carry on for part, some or all of our narration. Some characters, carry through several or most chapters.. In one's one life, if we are lucky we get to have a significant person, (mate, best friend) be there for the whole show.. Other people are involved for a certain amount of time.. This works perfectly with a long piece of music. I am intrigued by the possibllities of certain instruments, being particularly actors, carrying the story line forward, the plot twists and turns, to keep interest alive.. but fundamental issues, carry through the whole story. In both series, and from what I've noticed in the patterns of life, some characters, resolve their conflicts, yet others still remain almost the same, in spite of everything that has happened to them.. Some get the lesson, and adapt, others do not, and are doomed to repeat the same cycle.
  3. I quit playing in bands when 30,, and did most music parts myself.. But it is always great to find other instrument players, singers, because it greatly adds to the music.. I constantly put it out there. Check out bulletin boards in music colleges, have a card with links to music.. It is possible to find singers who have some knowledge and want to improve their skills.. I offer to give them valuable insight into recording voice (pretty different than singing live).. I have come across some great players, who I bartered services with.. I did demos for them in return for them singing on my pieces.. And the truth is, with each musician/vocalist, you can learn a lot too... The beauty of music is that it can be approached from so many dirrections, with people of varying degrees of knowledge.. I've met some incredible musicians totally self taught.. But also a good working knowledge of music is very helpful at being efficient in creating music.. Creating music is a great way to socialize.. good luck in your endeavors
  4. Nice work.. The human voice is perhaps ...the most complex musical instrument in existence. A really well trained singer, can introduce color in/out at will.. fade vibratos in/out, and control the speed of the vibrato (most singers only have one speed of vibrato.. This level of control, can greatly enhance your composition.. Of course singers of that calibre, are going to want a fair amount of $$$ to sing for you.. Never cared much for vocal libraries, way too static.. but it's what most of us must defer do, because of recording cost, accommodation of several singers. I had one excellent untrained singer,, I often had to rewrite lyrics/melody to get the best performance out of him.. That is an important aspect a composer must take into account.. You obviously want to make the singer sound the best he can be.. Yes, learning all you can about the human voice as an instrument, can only benefit your compositional process. Years ago, I had a singer friend, who was singing in Bernstein's 'Mass".. He was having vocal node problems, and was going to resign, cause he couldn't perform his part the way it was written.. Leonard Bernstein, was gracious enough to rewrite his part, so that he could sing it, and stay in the company.. Now thats the sign of a great composer.. Keep up the good work
  5. I think it's more than a 'little piano piece'.. It is quite heartfelt, and has ' a soul' in it's performance.. Love your use of tempo changes.. Ending on one note, very smart.. Excellent.. we want to hear more.. very inspired..
  6. Starts out strong.. Really like where the fuzz guitar comes .. You might consider expanding/altering the chord progression.. you do a bit later in piece, move that forward. or move to another chord progression, because those chords are intrinsically 'kind of pretty and overused'.. Theres some dissonant notes in beginning, that don't evoke 'evil' to me, Some great starts/stops. Your choice of instruments, and phrasing is very decent.. Theres''some great parts in here.
  7. Hi Melody You guys are technically VERY proficient. A complex piece.. Very well executed Do you have a link of the original version?... Seeing as it's a cover, and this is definitely not my genre of music. I find it a bit hard to comment.. Regarding the piece.. You jump right in going at full throttle.. It stays the same intensity, and the atonal aspect of the piano riff, starts to make me feel neurotic. Now I suspect that's exactly what the piece intends.. and you perhaps wanted to stick to the intent of the original. I like the different instruments interjecting.. your choice of the different musicians coming in/out is quite well done.. As a musical piece in itself (and this would be your interpretation and arrangement of it. I would like to hear the intensity and complexity build up/down more.. For instance perhaps when one of the other instruments interjects, you hold a piano chord.. , or don't play all the notes of the piano riff. or it might be simpler, just lowering the volume of the piano while other instruments are speaking. The piano part in itself is extremely demanding. You can't help but pay full attention to it... So it almost sound like the piece is fighting with itself.. That is everything is 'demanding' my attention, So I start to get frustrated and actually worn out, trying to keep up with it. and when a piece becomes too intense or too much the same, the brain, just starts to consider it as 'noise' and loses interest. an idea might be, when another instrument interjects, the other instruments, percussion, just hit the down beat, and let the instrument solo for its bar or two.. then things build back in/ Hence my asking to hear the original version.. If you did a faithful performance of the way it was written, then in that aspect, it is completely valid.. (actually in any consideration the piece is completely valid, it is EXTREMELY well executed.) If you wanted to do your 'interpretation' of it. You might consider, playing some variations of the riff. or not playing all the notes of the motif each time.. I tend to think of music compositions, as a guided tour thru a flower garden.. That is you walk along the path, and the guide points, out the little waterfall here.. further down the path, is a patchwork of two different colored flowers, or the rose bushes, sculptured like an animal . You could also think of it as the spotlights on a stage play.. The lights brighten, and dim on the different actors, and sections of the stage to guide the listeners attention.. You want to guide the listeners attention.. You could have a couple of sections where everyone goes full throttle, but, from a listeners standpoint, you need to give them 'room to breath', The listener gets easily fatigued following the density and intensity of the piece. For me, I think the depending on the complexity of the different riffs, your ear/brain can only follow 3 - 6 threads of musical data.. More if the parts are tightly woven, and work together as one thread.. Strings playing a line, flutes doubling a few notes of it here and there. The bass sticking more with 1's and 5's.. Take for instance, Jimi Hendrix, or some jazz trios, If there are just three musicians, they can all play pretty complex parts, AND the listener can follow the piece. the more players that come in, some of the other players have to 'dumb it down' or work much more tightly with each other. For instance a 4 part brass section, are playing tight harmonies, blocking out the current chords.. So in one aspect they act as 1 instrument.. VIEWPOINT - As music accompianying an intense video chase scene.. then this music can perfectly stand as it is.. cause it definitely evokes a very strong reaction from the listener I have found sometimes when doing covers, (and I do 'interpretations' and take some liberties with the piece). I might alter things.. For instance I recently did a cover of the The Beatles 'Fool On The Hill'. I loved the original.. But when I did it very faithfully, I found the recorder, trombone section, which repeats 3 times start to sound to repetitive, and rigid (yet on the original, I didn't get that feeling) . So I made some alterations of each of those sections.. cause it complemented (in my mind), the other parts I made. It also expanded the horizon of the piece, giving it more variety.. Now some people might not appreciate the liberties I took, but others might appreciate the variety. So you as the performer have to decide are you going to do a note for note interpretation, (in which case, everything I've mentioned is moot).. Or if you are going to interpret or 'stylize' it.. In conclusion, it is brilliantly executed.. things I've mentioned are 'subjective' and may or not apply for you.. Keep up the great work, and welcome here.
  8. Here is a version of the Beatles 'The Fool On The Hill'.. As you will hear, I was faithful to sections, but also took liberties with others. Of course I had to put in some psychedelia into it.. It's light and playful.. I always liked the recorders and trombone section in original.. but felt when I did it, didn't quite work, being repeated, so I altered them a bit.. I threw in some extra stuff. Like George Harrison's almost patented Leslie Guitar into it for a brief moment (so Beatles).. I tossed in other bits, to give it a music collage feel, also.
  9. I really like the first section. wish it was longer.. perhaps the short drum section longer.. Starting about 20 seconds.. Don't find the instrument patch very interesting.. After 30 seconds or so, I don't like the sound at all.. More development in this section.. It is too long of the same short theme. When I get stuck in the same situation.. I mute that section, and rewrite it.. If the piece is long, I pick out a certain section to work on that day.. Can I fix it, by rewriting one instrument part, and perhaps add another instrument.. Or does the whole section need reworking.. Occasionally when I get stuck in your current state.. I leave the piece alone for a while.. And come back to it, a few days, (or more) later.. It then seems more obvious what is strong, and what is not..
  10. I am speaking from an 'emotional viewpoint here. Hauntingly aloof.. The sometimes regular descending notes, brought some stability. They rhythm brought 'stability' to me and wonderfully offset the choice of notes.. The piano added a new dimension.. In a few places where you had some repetition of note times (1/4, 1/8's) that again, brought some foundation. My first reaction was it was music for a weird scene in a cartoon, like a bad dream sequence or something.. it quickly expanded past anything to be used in a cartoon or animation video (although it would work).. I guess looking back to childhood,when something weird happened in a cartoon, they would resort to individual instruments, doing weird cadences, or 'falling in pitch' etc. Hence the dredging up of those feelings.. Some one who did watch cartoons as a kit, probably wouldn't It got me to thinking irregardless of the pitch, the rhythm of of note lines or instruments. Listening to music is one of the most complex procedures the brain does, The ear splits the incoming data into 5 streams and send each of those to different parts of the brain for processing.. Rhythm, pitch detection, relationship of sounds, geograpchical locations of all sounds heard, etc., identification of sounds (sounds like horn, dog barking and a brass instrument etc), emotional responses, memories of similar sound data. These 5 different processes are sent to aother part of the brain where it 'confabulates' the back into something cohesive. So where do we actually 'hear something'. The eye does even more bizarre processes on it's data. like just noting the outlines of solid objects and letting the brain fill it in, much like the rubber stamp tool in photoshop, the eye doesn't even send all that data to be processed. Like wise logic circuitrly in the ear does that too, it 'trims' some of the data, so the brain doesn't get overloaded. Your piece got me to thinking, about the repetition harmonic relationship of notes, (1 6, 3m) starting on different notes.. The brain catches the relationship of the notes, even when they have a different starting note. Irregardless of my 'thinking out loud here'. I apprieciate the amount of feeling and emotion by just 4, 5 lines of notes.. the efficiency of it to communicate a fair amount, with a minunum of audio data.. nicely done.
  11. Hi Luis: I have been playing music for 57 years now (I can't believe that).. I studied popular music with private teaches, had no classical training (wish I hadn't been so stubborn, and buckled down and did it when I was young).. . ( a while back when I did those two pieces with narration, and some sound design in them.. I tried to make it a point, to ignore and break 'many of the musical rules I have discovered, and made up along the way'. Indeed at 68, I've gone thru quite a few months of re-evalution, and been tossing away and modifying many 'life rules' I've created along the way. I also adhere to your philosophy. There are no real 'rights/wrongs' in music.. Indeed look at a lot of the 'music' of 20 something rapper, RnB singers today.. Most of it to me are song fragments, just over produced.. yet, if that's what kids like, and buy, God bless 'em.. I'm getting old and my musical tastes have been defined, and refined a long time ago, it's hard to break past those self imposed boundaries.. is SO REFRESHING.. cause the vast majority of music websites, are really 'boys with toys'.. But hey they are 'exploring' and having fun. I appreciate here, because people are very serious about what they are doing.. and I love the variety of composers, writers here. I have been venturing over to the symphony, choral, and other forums, which I never went to before.. Cause that is not my field.. Yet, I can appreciate any musical effort, irregardless, if I like it, or am knowledgeable in it.. More important I can learn from that. Being 'creative' is one of the greatest gifts man have been given, or is capable of manifesting. All of us here of course, are interesting in using sound and music to create.. I remember my parents trying to appreciate the music I loved and created at 12 years of age.. It didn't fit within their personal taste or definition of music. The great thing about music is that it can be so 'democratic' (right term?).. Anyone can pick up a guitar learn three chords and be creating music within 15 minutes.. (and spend the rest of their life perfecting it).. I remember the hoopla of synth players in the 60's, 70's.. I was NOT ALLOWED to join the Musician's Union when I listed the ARP synthesizer as my instrument. In the 80's, 90's and DJ started making big selling dance records, a lot of musicians got pissed, then the rappers, just stealing the music and rapping over it. Of course we can thank our schools for taking art and music out of schools to save money.. But I recognize any way of creating music as 'legitimate' in some way.. I particularly appreciate your's and Monarcheon's comments and the music you guys create.. You both are 'widening my horizons'.. Being retired, I have more time for music creation, and learning.. I want to learn more, and broaden my musical horizons.. Right now, I very much value comments about my not resolving/ or perhaps questionable chords.. That goes above my head right now. Yet, If I take these comments to heart (and I do) it might change how I create music in the future.. I have had favorite artists, whose music evolved, and I became dis-interested in them as artists. Frank Zappa is a fine example for me. It got too technical, and advant guard for me, to beyond, my musical knowledge and boundaries. . Yet I relished in his accomplishments, and the vast strides he made in his career. On a popular music note. The Beatles lost some of their early core fans, when they went into their fancy use of orchestral overdubs. But that's when I really took a shining to them.. When they did "A Day In The Life", with its symphonic 24 bar rise of pitches.. At first many of the orchestra players balked.. It was unheard of, it was wrong.. but of course of their fame at the time, they were The Beatles, and it was a paying job, they complied.. Apple has been extremely busy all these years keeping The Beatles alive.. They have auditioned some of the symphony players who lent their skills for an overdub part in their songs. To most of them, it was a low bro gig back then. to some not quite even legitimate.. But all those interviewed truly consider themselves blessed to have taken part. Berry Gordy hired the best Jazz Musicians in Detroit, to play on all the Motown sessions for his dozens of artists. They were 'The Funk Brothers', Their primary rule, only play major, minor chords, no 6ths, 7ths, 9th, 13ths.. Dumb it down, nothing sophisticated.. Of course they used their considerable knowledge, and by Marvin Gay's "Let's Get It On', they got to let the sunshine in on them.. But if they had started Motown playing that sophisticated, Motown would have never been what it was. Thank your viewpoint.. I was not feeling bad about my music contributions here, I guess feeling a bit frustrated, because some of these points, are hard for me to learn, (Well, I haven't really been exploring where to learn this new knowledge). I also feel somewhat compelled to get the music inside of me out.. I want to do it faster, and more efficiently.. but perhaps that is part of the quality of it, that it takes me this long to do it, and to grasp new ideas at my own pace, and incorporate them.. I love when you incorporate a new process you are studying into a piece. While I may not find it 'great listening' I totally love and get the purpose of you doing it. and I learn something from it.
  12. Regarding my use of 'dissonant notes occasionally'.. 2/3 of the way of completing piece, I was aware of them.. I changed them to something more 'correct, pleasing,'. But put them back to the brief clash.. When I do that sometimes I usually lower velocity and duration of offending note to make it seem more of a 'passing tone'.. I like the 'sweet/sour' experience.. This also reflects many of the 'steps in my life' on a more obtuse scale.. Strange how it now reflects in my music. (plus also the fact not classically trained in theory) My earlier music, before computers, was summed upon succinctly by a friend in the 70's.. I was told my music was like my driving, a bit fast, and almost slightly out of control at points, but I never crashed anything.. I had a very accomplished musician friend. He had excellent finger/timing control, perfect pitch, etc.. I don't think he ever studied music. He would just hear music, and surmise, structure, musical grammar on first listen. Never a flaw in his performance. In fact, it sometimes felt a bit 'sterile' He excelled at technical expertise. Worked for several synth, music software companies, and very successful bands.. (I'm going back to 70's, 80's here).. Eventually he became a very successful music software writer/coder About 12 years ago, he forsook computers, technology.. Went back to recording non electric instruments on analog recording equipment, no punch ins, note 'massaging' etc.. He released a couple of 'piano improvisations'.CD's. To me I heard too many clunk notes, fluffs, flaws. *thumb hit two notes by mistake, then quickly rectified etc'. Stuff that pre-technology, I would have played that way, because of my finger timing, and accuracy'.. But would never allow to happen with the tech of today.. When I brought that up, he dismissed them as 'artifacts of the music'.. He chose to leave them, rather than re-record the piece.. (another important lesson for me) I am not trying to justify my performance. I GREATLY VALUE theory/harmony observations and comments.. and please, keep them coming.. It has awoken in me a keener level of observation. My lack of knowledge in theory and music grammar,, needs work and learning.. I am very grateful for that.. I do want to be aware of 'what I am doing'. I do want to learn when I broke a 'rule'. Or as one of my teachers referred to it. There aren't rules, there are 'tools' in music. and as accomplished musicians, it is in our best interest to be aware. we can make the choice whether to use a tool or musical device/proces or not.. It is our choice.. I do want to learn that, and then be able to consciously make the decision, whether to follow a rule or break it.. Regarding the use of 'sonic colors'.. I quickly and totally jumped on the synthesizer bandwagon, starting in the early 70's.. In those days it was 'subtractive synthesis' Raw waveforms, with relatively primitive filters.. Of course those synths sounded nothing like 'real instruments' and that's what fascinated me.. plus the fact I could play all the parts, and not have to rely on a bunch of other musicians (which I now realize was a detriment to me).. As the samplers came out. Electronic sounds became more refined.. Now with the 'glut' of virtual instruments, especially the insane amount of Kontakt libraries, which have completely redefined 'sonic boundaries'.. It is a major exercise to decide on the 'palette of sounds' one is going to use in a piece.. Plus a lot these Kontakt libraries and other virtual instruments have taken it a step further with their built in arpeggiators and limited sequencers. Some of those virtual instruments you don't have control over the notes they hit, and at least with DAWs that use Audio Units, you have no access to the MIDI out data.. So you have to live with the 'blue' notes they spit out, or use pitch correction software, to get the scale or mode right.. I've used Logic Pro since it's inception (although at this point, one's choice of DAW, is not really that relevant. BecauseI I have a pretty strong computer, I leave all instruments as live MIDI, and has piece builds up.. I often go back, and change a particular patch, to something, that has a more suitable 'color' to sit with the rest of the instruments. which often requires me to rewrite the part.. I marvel at a real symphony orchestra.. How hundred of years were required for it to reach it's current 'range of tonal colors'.. And how adept composers, learn what instruments to write parts for. A friend of mine just heard this album of Bach material. where the artist used only percussion for the individual parts, (some pitched percussion, other just regular non pitched percussion). He found it extremely interesting, to delete - radically alter the harmonic quality of the compositions. Just as various scales have come in/out of favor thru the centuries.. We are subconsciously conditioned to accept 12 tone scales. For the vast majority of us, anything else sounds wrong. Now with the glut of virtual instruments, and their harmonic capabilities to drastically change.. It is another whole area of exploration... For me, this has been my quest for the last 4-5 years now.. to find combinations of sounds/instruments, with their unique harmonic frequenciy response, and how to blend them with other instruments (which relies on choice of note relationships too) All comments MUCHLY appreciated perceived flaws, or breaking of theory etc.. and likewise when I make a point on someone else's music.. it is my observation.. not a 'right/wrong' (at least in my posts).. Thank you... Mark Styles
  13. It is truly lovely.. The melody (and piano) moves along for a period with consistent note durations, and later, uses notes of varying length. Perhaps, a bit of note length variation earlier, might be something yout consider doing earlier .. Some half and whole notes, would let the listeners 'rest and catch his breath'.. The piano phrasing near the end of the piece, and the call/response of string and piano was totally excellent.. That totally got 'all my attention'.. The earlier section of piece, not as much, cause my brain, had already guessed how everything would continue, and my mental focus started to wander.. But ending section, I had to pay full attention and was richly awarded for doing so.. Very good.
  14. Well another viewpoint, is its 'tires me out' because of the speed and the length.. It's not that I haven't heard impossibly fast executed pieces before.. It's not really a 'make or break' thing for me.. If you tried a bit of tempo change and decided on this.. I accept.. It is good. Along the way I've met a few musicians who can just rip off perfectly executed 32 nd note riffs. I guess I get a bit jealous cause I can't do it, (but my computer can..) I will occasionally put note clashes in my own compositions, I like them, they resolve fast, and sound interesting to me, and add an 'artifact' or imperfection' yet others do not like it.. each composer writes for his own reasons for techniques or devices he uses, does he want to be commercial, not care about 'formative rules's etc?. When Michael Jackson wrote Billy Jean, everyone was against the 64 bar intro.. and wanted him to cut it.. He was insistent, it needed that much time to build up momentum..
  15. I also feel too fast.. it feels 'inhuman'.. I do appreciate the harmonic movement though..