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pateceramics last won the day on February 25

pateceramics had the most liked content!

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About pateceramics

  • Rank
    Seasoned Composer

Profile Information

  • Biography
    I'm 33, and just got into composing over the last year or so, although, I was always the kid who made up an extra harmony part when singing along to the radio. When I was a very shy teenager, I'd sing a little harmony part when we sang at summer camp, and other people picked the part up until, suddenly we had two parts. And then I'd make up another part, and other people would pick it up too, and then there were three parts. It made me unbelievably happy.

    Since I'm mainly a singer, I've been writing for a cappella choir, but when I feel a little more sure of myself I'd like to learn to write a decent piano part if nothing else.

    Over the years I've had 5 violin teachers, 2 banjo teachers, a brief fling with penny whistle lessons, 3 voice teachers, and sung with 2 a cappella groups, 7 choirs, and a wee bit of musical theater which got me out of taking gym in high school. Thanks for the warm welcome to this community and your continued feedback. Can't get better without feedback!
  • Gender
  • Location
    Malden, MA, USA
  • Occupation
    contralto, potter
  • Favorite Composers
    Vivaldi, Brahms, Lauridsen, Thompson, Gillian Welch
  • My Compositional Styles
    Eh, you tell me.
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
  • Instruments Played
    alto, clawhammer banjo

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  1. Quite nice! Nothing wrong with simple, it allows the text to be clearly understood. And church choirs in particular are always looking for pieces that they can put together fast! When you need a different prayer response, benediction, and two anthems each and every Sunday, plus more elaborate music for major church holidays, and, by definition, a church choir is generally open to anyone who would like to participate, regardless of previous musical experience, it makes a little room in an always frantic rehearsal schedule to have something that can be learned quickly. This would come together easily with a few run-throughs and uses the text very nicely. Lovely job!
  2. If you want to wrap your ear around some quartal harmony try searching for "Sacred Harp" on youtube. Most of the songs were originally written as quartal harmony. Alto parts were added in the 20th century editions, but many chords were still left as 4ths or 5ths, with the new alto part only occasionally completing a triad. It's fun stuff. Be warned, the singing conventions are not classical. It obeys it's own set of rules distinct from the classical ones.
  3. Is there a translation of the text somewhere online that we could take a look at, to get a sense of your text painting? (It's common to include one on the first page anyway, so your singers can have a feel for what they are singing, and emote appropriately.) The first thing that stands out is that your notation isn't quite right for today's standard. There have been changes over the years with the way that text is presented in choral music, to help people sight-read well at speed, since you have to keep looking from the words to the notes and back. Any little thing that helps that process leads to better accuracy and saves rehearsal time, so new rules have been developed as music history marched along and conductors noticed what seemed to work well and what didn't. What you have looks like the convention from the early 1900s, so if you looked at some scores to decide what to do, it's not surprising that this is what you got. But I bet they were early editions, or re-releases of old material where the publisher didn't take the time to actually edit and modernize the presentation of the lyrics. The conventions also vary a bit from country to country, and individual publishing houses have their own in-house style guides about these things. My favorite resource is a style guide called "Behind Bars" (like bars of music, ha!) by Gould, who is an editor at... I want to say Farber? It's about 500 pages of answers to any question you could possibly have, based on several decades of notes from musicians back to the publisher complaining about bad page turns, poorly marked cues during tacets, and anything else that you can think of that a musician might complain about in the way a score is put together. That said, the convention currently is: Any notes that share the same syllable of text are slurred together. It makes it easier to see where one syllable stops and the next begins. Hyphen-style connectors are used between syllables inside a word. Ex: Hap-py birth-day to you. Underscore-style connectors are used at the end of words, when the last syllable of a word is spread over several slurred notes. Ex: "Oh, say does that__ star span-gled ban-ner__ yet__ wave__. Syllables are divided the same way they would be in the dictionary, unless there is a good reason not to. So you divide between double consonants. Ex: hap-py Not: ha-ppy Or: happ-y Divide off prefixes and suffixes as their own syllables. But be wary of things that look like prefixes or suffixes, but aren't really. Ex: pre-fix-es, but be careful of: o-ther and ve-ry, Not: oth-er and ver-y And some suffixes cause a final consonant to double, in which case the double consonant rule applies: big-gest Divide words made of two shorter words between the two shorter words. Ex: moon-light, book-keep-er Never divide so that a syllable starts with a combination of consonants that couldn't start a word in English. (Yes, I know, your text is not in English, but for future notice...) Not: E-nglish But the exception is the "n't" of could-n't, should-n't, would-n't. If one letter modifies the sound of the preceding ones in an uncommon way, don't divide between them, or someone will goof up the pronunciation of the word in a funny way. Ex: laugh-ter, voy-age, stew-ard. For your particular text, you'd end up with: Si ca-pi-sce che si sta-va tut-ti li, e do-ve, al-tri-men-ti... Always keep the original punctuation, but when you choose to repeat a word or phrase over and over that wasn't repeated in the original source text, you can choose whether to keep repeating any punctuation that came with it, or replace it with commas, depending on what makes sense for your piece: If your original text was "I am so sad." You could do: "I am so sad, so sad, so sad." Or: "I am so sad. So sad. So sad."
  4. Yipes. Well, if we all sell enough scores, I guess we could get 15% of that back on our taxes, or whatever the rate is currently. Ew.
  5. You know, I actually thought about that, but the text really seems to lend itself to a single speaker. It always feels a little awkward when a big chorus with 50 people sings a love song to one person. It kind of works if you have soloists, but for something like this, where it's mainly chord, chord, chord it feels strange. Homophony plus love song feels like you're getting into a sister wives situation. :D
  6. Fun! Are you familiar with this one? "Trinidad... and the big Mississippi, and the town Honolulu, and the lake Titicaca. The Popocatepetl is not in Canada, rather in Mexico, Mexico, Mexico..."
  7. You write it, we'll critique it! (:
  8. Thanks, Adrian. Hmm... a roll might be a good idea... I think I like measure 15 the way it stands. There's no particular reason you need to breathe there rather than somewhere else, since the whole thing is a run-on sentence, and it puts the emphasis more on the word "love." I said, "I love you," and heard your reply. Instead of I said, "I love you," and heard your reply. We say, "but I love you," when there is some question of who we love, which in this case there isn't.
  9. Thanks, Ken! I've always liked those songs where a line is repeated, but means something different in each verse. Think of Gillian Welch's song where the refrain is "We can't have all the things that please us, no matter how we try..." For the first few verses you think this is a solid expression of salt of the earth, farmerly self-dependence and an ability to do without fancy things in life. It's only on the last verse that you realize that one of the things the farmer is stoically accepting that he can't have, is children who live to grow up. Or "Over Yondro," where the first verse you think, "aw... she misses him." And by the second verse where she's going to go build a cabin and be a hermit, you think, "oh... I think maybe he's gone because he's not bothering to come back, not because he can't come back..." So in this case the repeated "we never spoke a word," is: Verse one: we saw each other and knew we were interested without discussing it. Our eyes did the talking. "We never spoke a word." Verse two: we said "I love you," without, ehem, verbally saying the words. What is this dude doing in her kitchen very early in the morning, hmmm...? Peach eating, that's not metaphorical at all... Oh, he came home with her yesterday, and hasn't left yet. Gotcha. But they are totally in love, without even having to say it, because, who goes home with someone unless they are totally in love? "We never spoke a word." Verse three: "Hey, it's my true love!" I'm waving... Does he not see me? Oh. He's ignoring me. You bugger, you're sitting down by the tree trying to pick someone else up aren't you? Fine. We both know what's going on here, so I won't stop and argue about it. I'll keep my dignity and keep on walking. "We never spoke a word." Given the tendency of teenagers to decide they are in love with people they have never actually talked to, I thought it was funny. The whole notes at bar 7, etc. were intended to imitate that moment when you're simultaneously awkward and ecstatic, when the floor drops out from under you and you don't quite know what to do with your hands. I wanted a tender little moment when the singer is all lonely and unsupported and the audience starts pulling for them, silly though they may be. Depending on how the accompanist pedals there, you may end up with a rest at the end of the measure. (:
  10. Here's one for all the love-sick teenagers. I wanted to write something that sounded like a traditional folk song (probably originally accompanied by fiddle or guitar or some such), that was then adopted by the classical music people and rearranged for amateur singing in the parlor with piano. There are lots of nice folk tunes that are standards of recital repertoire now that started out as back porch or pub music. I spent a lot of time trying to decide how florid my imaginary later day arranger got with their piano arrangement, and ended up keeping it pretty simple for accessible parlor playing back in the days before radios. (: How did I do with my way-back machine? Happy Valentine's Day, a little late! (You'll need to open up the pdf to see the words, or you can watch the youtube below, with the score scrolling by.)
  11. It sounds great, but I'd ask the director some specific questions, since it's for high schoolers. 1. How many singers do they have on each voice part? (Unless this is for all-state, or something like that that draws from a large population, with the director able to pick and choose singers, they may have some wildly unbalanced numbers, and your piece will need to accommodate that. If they have 4 tenors, and 20 sopranos, the tenors are not going to be able to sing loud enough to make their part heard without hurting their voices. Band and orchestra can assign beginning students to whatever instruments they need to to rebalance the sections every year, but for voice, you've got what you've got. Tenors can't become basses.) 2. Are there any range restrictions you should be aware of? (In a high school choir, there will be lots of singers who have only sung for a year or two, and everyone will be getting used to their new, post-puberty voices. Difficulty accessing high notes gracefully and reliably is really common. Sounding "woofy" on the low notes is also common, because people are so excited to have low notes they tend to over-sing them. Ask the question in a way that gets you lots of information. Where is the comfortable meat of the range for each section? What notes take some warming up, but are reliably, if not over-used. What note can you have one of in the piece if you really need it, but not more than one, and you need to know, it's possible, but may go horribly wrong. 3. What sort of difficulty level are they used to? How well do they sight-read? Teaching something like this takes a LOT of time unless students are already proficient sight-readers, which you can't take as a given for high schoolers. If they don't sight-read, they probably don't all have a piano at home to pick their notes out and practice on their own. If they do have a keyboard, they may not be able to translate notes on the page to the correct keys on the keyboard well enough for it to be a huge help. If they can practice on their own, you can't trust that they all actually will. If all parts need to be learned by rote in class, that takes a long time, and, again, because they are high school students, leads to classroom discipline issues for whoever is sitting, waiting, while someone else has the teacher's attention. People get bored and chatty. The fact that this is a fugue helps some, since everyone can learn the subject together as a group. Would the director like you to make separate "learn your part" audio files for each voice that they can share by email, with one voice part louder and in a different instrument from the other parts, so it's easy to hear and follow for learning purposes? As far as choral writing goes, I've got no beef with what you've written. It will just be a question of what this particular group can accomplish. How the text fits the music is another piece of the puzzle to consider. (: Look at you with a commission! Nice!
  12. Between the cluster chords and the freely repeated text sections, this reminds me a lot of Whitacre's "Cloudburst." I like that it's all very accessible note-wise. Anyone who has a group that can tune well should be able to put it together very quickly for a concert. Beautifully done! Thanks for the video!
  13. The register shift at 77 is just after the blaring car horns and sounds of running feet in the piano part when the march is interrupted, with the cats scattering. At 77, they regroup and keep marching. (: It's supposed to sneak up on you and be jarring. Yeah, for the bowings, I spent a lot of time air-bowing in the living room, trying to decide what I wanted. I ended up marking them the way I did mainly for the purpose of accenting beats. I didn't want the violin part to end up too legato by slurring everything. I agree, it does make for some awkward bits, but ultimately I decided the part wasn't too difficult in other ways, as solo material goes, so hopefully I can get away with it. Hmmm... swing... (: Thanks for your input!
  14. Thanks Adrian! I've reposted a neater, more final score in the chamber music section which makes those changes.