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  1. Yesterday
  2. So a year ago, I had this idea of composing a suite that would represent different types of weather. I would call this suite Weather Music. But it wasn't until a few days ago that I actually started composing part of the suite. What part did I start composing you might ask? Well, I started composing probably the most intense part of the suite. That's right, I composed the part of the suite that is supposed to represent a storm. I am like exactly a quarter of the way through finishing the piece. But before I even started composing it, I was like: Full orchestra example: Beethoven here is really getting across the feel of a thunderstorm and the calm after the storm with the orchestra here. String orchestra example: Probably the most well known example of a storm represented in music. So well known, that it itself is often called Storm when played without the preceding 2 movements of Summer. There is no calm ending to the music at all. Piano example: Not directly a piece representing a storm unlike the previous 2 but it could very well be interpreted as stormy music because of the tempo and all the octaves. So I had a lot of pieces to go on as to how to get the feeling of a storm across. The only real questions were what key to have the piece in and what to compose the piece for. I eventually decided on piano solo because that is my area of expertise. I mean I am a very advanced pianist and I started composing in my intermediate years, mainly piano works. So it makes sense that composing for piano would be a natural thing for me because I know my abilities and limitations as a pianist. I don't directly know those same things for flute, violin, or any other instrument the way that I do for piano. The only way I know these things for other instruments is by studying the instruments and pieces written for those instruments. This is how come I know that out of all the possible piano-not piano duets that exist, the most balanced is the cello-piano duet. This is how come I know that a forte dynamic in the first octave is impossible on the flute. It has to do with pieces that I have listened to that are written for those instruments and other ways that I study the instruments. But no matter how good I get at say writing for flute, my piano composition skill is likely to always be superior because I get that skill directly from my knowledge of music notation, music theory, and 10 years of experience playing the piano, no studying piano pieces out of context of playing them required at all. Plus I have several other non-piano works that I am working on(namely my first symphony which might take me a year just to get the piano draft of it finished but that's okay) Anyway, back to my storm piece. That was quite the digression there but I just felt like I had to get it out. I decided to have it in the key of C minor because it is very easy for me to improvise in the key of C minor and simultaneously get it to sound very expressive. It is almost impossible for me to do that same thing for C major(which is partly why I mostly avoid composing in C major). And stormy is 1 feeling that is very natural to the key of C minor. In fact, just about any emotion that you can get out of a key is a natural emotion in C minor under certain conditions. Even happiness is a natural emotion for C minor. How I'm getting across the feeling of a storm So 1 thing that I noticed in common in nearly all pieces of music that I would consider to have a stormy character was octaves. But not just any old octaves. No, the octaves I noticed in stormy music were very fast and they were alternating. Very commonly, I would notice that almost the entire bass line is in octaves(as is the case with the Beethoven examples) or otherwise as in the Vivaldi example, the repeated notes in the bass would get across the same feel as octaves would and the octaves only really exist if you combine the bass and alto lines. So naturally, I took these octaves and applied them to the left hand part of my piece and the only time these octaves would be slow was in chords. Even when I state the Fate Motif, it isn't slow, despite being a rhythmic augmentation of the original motif just because of the fast tempo. I so far have done all these things to get across the feel of a storm: Keep up the momentum of the 16th notes except in certain spots to make the entire piece sound dramatic Use a minor key because the same drama would be hard to get across in a major key, even taking everything else into consideration Use scalar passages with unpredictable leaps to represent the strong wind by giving a chaotic feel to what would otherwise be a normal scale. Use diminished 7ths more often than dominant 7ths just to add more drama Use the Fate Motif as a bass line during some of the scalar passages to represent the lightning flash. Use chord progressions to represent the thunder that comes after the lightning(this is what I mean when I say that the octaves are slow in chords) Have the melody in the right hand outside of scalar passages be staccato to represent the rainfall Under the staccato melody, use fast octaves to give a sense of turbulence, which is very fitting for a storm Use stark dynamic contrast between passages representing thunder and lightning and passages representing rain Creschendo to a loud dynamic Suddenly get quieter Presto tempo(mine is actually on the slow end of Presto, at 160 BPM) Here is the piece as it is so far. Sound ends at about 1:25 in the MP3 just so you know. Does it sound stormy to you with all the octaves, 16th notes, and the Presto tempo?
  3. @pianist_1981, thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad that you have enjoyed my recent piano works, and my performances of them. It means a lot to me. It's true that the Serenade has a wider range of contrasting emotions than the other piano works. In a sense, the Serenade is the true Fantasy of the three, as it has the most free emotions and form of all three pieces. Also, you're right about the Serenade not fitting as the 2nd moment of the Fantasia. Originally, though, I had a section in the middle of the Serenade that quoted the theme of the first movement of the Fantasia, to try to connect the two works. I realized, however, that the section just didn't fit in with the rest of the piece, plus the piece would have been too long. Again, thank you immensely for your observations. I really appreciate that you took the time to listen to my works and consider them carefully. All the best, Theo 😄
  4. Last week
  5. Live long and prosper. You might need to turn the bass down. It sounds fine on my listening device but I have the bass eq turned down a bit.
  6. A revision of my first one. I had this idea while running home late at night, car broke down and the moon illuminates the way.
  7. This is an acoustic guitar song that I wrote (currently in instrumental form). Kind of has an Elizabethan vibe. Transferred all guitar notes one by one from my real guitar to a virtual instrument guitar in the Sonar 8.5 piano roll then filled it out with an arrangement. Tedious? Yeah, a bit, but I enjoy working like that. The uploaded mp3 sounds heavy on the bass but I use an eq on my listening device to reduce bass. Feel free to comment. I uploaded the mp3 below but here’s a soundcloud link if you prefer:
  8. Theo, I have spent two enjoyable afternoons listening to your three recent piano works (op. 7,8,9). Last weekend, I decided I should hear them again before commenting. Having now done that, it is clear that they are all accomplished, confident works. Your performances are also excellent and make for enjoyable listening. In my opinion, the Serenade is the best of the three, and by a fairly wide margin. Though all these works have some very beautiful moments (the end of the barcarolle, the harmonic sequence at 6:00-6:30 in the serenade and 2:30-50 in Op. 9 stand out to me), there is a much greater degree of contrast in the Serenade, which makes your themes more memorable. The main theme of the Serenade is particularly well-crafted. It has a sense of unpredictability in the rhythmic treatment that makes it feel more natural and expressive, and it contrasts beautifully with the haunting material of your second theme. Here, it is the colour that captures my attention, not the melody, and this is why I find it so effective - it is not always the same element of the writing that is captivating in this work. For me, these works demonstrate an interesting combination of primarily Rachmaninoff and Liszt. It is unsurprising to know that Rachmaninoff is among your favourite composers, as your use of harmony and the motives themselves are frequently reminiscent of him in all three works. You may find that people criticize you for this, especially if you study at the post-secondary level (or perhaps you have encountered this already). Ignore them. They may very well have useful things to say about your works, but if the criticism is solely directed at the fact that your writing bears a resemblance to earlier composers, those opinions are of no value to you. Always write the music you want to hear. I will conclude by saying that you made the right decision to not use this as the 2nd movement of your fantasy. Curious, I listened to that work with this movement in the middle. It doesn't work. The character is too different. Best wishes!
  9. Thanks for the message. At time I am really busy with Conservatorium. I will try to take a look at it again when I am less busy!
  10. Thanks for listening, Marc. If it makes you feel better, I'm a pianist, and I still find it difficult to write for this instrument. It's easy enough to stick a melody with a simple accompaniment, but that doesn't produce a very compelling result. It's much, much harder to write in a way that makes the instrument sound genuinely good, and in the revision stage, it is the piano part that I find myself changing the most. This is why I generally don't share any work I've written that involves the piano until I've had a chance to perform it myself. In the process of learning the piece, many things get changed in the piano part, regardless of how careful I thought I was when initially composing it!
  11. I was wondering if you would be willing to submit a review about Music Jotter on its Facebook product page? Facebook Product Page If you have Windows, you can install directly if you wish by downloading the demo: Music Jotter Demo If you do not wish to install the software, you can review the fully activated product on a remote desktop instance. If you are on a Mac, you can download Microsoft Remote Desktop and connect to a virtual machine. Or if you are on Windows, you can Download the Music Jotter Instance here. Here is the information on how to connect to the remote desktop: Computer: ec2-52-23-208-189.compute-1.amazonaws.com Username: Administrator Password: nR&8C4TSHz)vAZDjRUjZ3hlfo=ywlPtk Now, why am I asking for Facebook reviews? I've been offered opportunities to speak with several investors about funding for Music Jotter. However, I will need more proof that this product had been tried and tested. While I have received so much feedback in the form of PM's and emails, proper validated reviews on Facebook are going to help me with the mission. The short term mission will be to create a software product that will better unite composers to help them publish music into a single repository. This means, creating music with Music Jotter will encourage a collaborative effort, and automatically submit pieces for publication. The long term mission is more ambitious and can only be achieved if we get funding. But it would be to select works for publication to be performed at various concerts. But one step at a time... Music Jotter short term will be a product that I would rewrite from scratch for iOS and MacOS, ideally with a lean engineering team (1 to 2 people, plus me). The product has to be platform independent. A monthly subscription would in theory allow you to compose from your iPhone, but also at your Windows PC if you have one. Or perhaps, you own a Mac. I believe a platform like this can enable smarter reviews, but also a much better way to publish music naturally. This is what can happen, because if I do get an investment for Music Jotter, part of this investment will go towards Young Composers. And that is why for the short term, I am looking for honest reviews. I need everything, the good things, the bad things, what you wish it had, what you love about it, what you hate about it. Thank you for your time, and if you have any questions, please PM me directly and I will be glad to speak with you about this effort.
  12. I agree that I should have added more rhythmic odds to the piece. Yes, I should have developed more on the "broken" aspect, like what Debussy did in his La Valse. However, different from his work, I tried to end the piece in a classical, or a bit cheerful ending, because that I wish the best for the future of Hong Kong and the hope for it to get out of the crisis. That being said, in the theme restatement I have added tritones to suggest there are still some hidden instabilities after the crisis that listener should be alerted of. Wish you the best too.
  13. @PeteHarrison Look at this sorry monkey Let us know when you put it back online.
  14. I like the use of quote, feels appropriate to the situation. Yes, it gets atonal at some places. And yet- 1. Waltz is a pretty absurd way to describe riots. You might have meant it and yet I believe one would expect a more "broken" waltz. Miss some beats, make syncopations, insert a bar of 7 or 5 eights at random places. 2. It seems to... resolve. At many places. I don't think that it stands up to your idea. Yes, I saw that you suspended resolution at some places. and yet... it has lots of little cadences and one big finale like a classical piece. One way to avoid resolution would be using a whole tone scale (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVV0jkZC4jI&feature=youtu.be), maybe you should try that out. 3. The sudden fermatas and complete breaks kind of loosen the effect. I understand that it comes from a place of "let's surprise the listener with a sudden stop", but to me it feels more like you blow the wind out of the sails. Insert a different surprise there instead. Maybe a sudden pitch shift, maybe sudden chromatic slide. About the protest... all I can do is do what the world usually does- look from the side, give a note or two, then go back to my own problems. My state is going to monarchy as well. Hope that we won't have to get to this situation. Hope all is well for you and your family.
  15. Could be a pop song of some sort. Try and define what exactly you were trying to do, then ask yourself- should it really be as repetitive? Can I change something? The harmony? Maybe the rhythm? Should I develop my motive further? Should I add a counter motive? Maybe I should simply try and compose something new just to keep composing? My first piece was... awkwardly repetitive ... looked something like that: because I just thought like "isn't this rhythmic idea cool" and basically kept it exactly the same during the entire piece (I think it's about 3 minutes long). Of course, it could be used for something. a repetitive pattern can contribute a lot to a piece's texture (https://youtu.be/APIKVLw1tT0). Yet, you might want to give a further thought to your piece, try some new grounds. The worst thing that could happen really is that you'll hear how it sounds, would not think it's as good, and then try something else or go back to your familiar ground.
  16. Dear all, If you have read the international news, you may have noticed the situations of the Hong Kong protests. In absurd times, conscientious men dance to weird Waltzes. And I have written one. Any comments are appreciated. Thank you. Best, HoYin
  17. Yowza it feels like forever since I've had time to hang out with y'all!! I've been doing some sketching (mostly for piano, to focus on simplifying my part writing), and explored the idea of creating a melody based on the rhythmic grouping of 5+4+3+2+1 (a half note), and 6+5+4+3+2+1 (a half note), etc. It's not my best sketch, but I decided to orchestrate it for wind ensemble and I think the end product is pretty nifty. I'll post the orchestration and the original piano version if you want to compare. Any thoughts are welcome! #GoodToBeBack #ThanksForListening #Hashtag https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio/sketch-no-22 https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio/sketch-no-22-orchestrated
  18. Fix those divisis in the beginning. They are unnecessary. Just split it between the two sections
  19. A striking piece. More than meets the eye/ear. I liked the effective use of volume/dynamics. It creates a psychological impact.
  20. I wrote the majority of this song in the last 2 classes of my AP music theory class. I hope you enjoy. There isn't anything about this that I'm super unsure about. I feel like the nature in eternity part could be better, but I in general don't want to mess with it too much because I like chords, and it's either trash the whole section or nothing rn.
  21. Nice. I would like after the brass chorale for more on the vertical line just to push that climax even more. Still, great piece!
  22. 1) Horn goes AFTER trumpets in band scores. Double the horn with alto saxophone since most high schools might not have four horns. 2) The Euphonium, although it can go that low, is muddy in that register and most schools might not have a four valve. Take that up an octave. 3) In this case, present a transposed score, not C Score. 4) Although not standardized, put the soloist in the middle or above the timpani. 5) Don't write for your trumpets on one staff for concert music; split them. 6.) Don't double the soloist with the same instrument. You'll be hard press to find that in solo literature in the canon 7.) Watch your phrasing in the solo. Need some legato phrasing. If you're implying tonguing, I believe that will make this very unmusical. 8.) This is a good start. This movement is far from over. You can develop this another 3 minutes at least. Be careful not to just write on your horizontal plane but think vertically also. It needs that to make this a stronger piece. My $0.02
  23. The Morning Mist The music covers a fair amount of territory, i was trying to portray the varied musical landscape one encounters, especially as the mist lifts, and more becomes apparent. I used a lot of tracks, many of them very sparse. Again using traditional sounds with ‘organic and non-organic synthetic sounds. I worked with the idea of some tracks, being ‘washes’ that is they are very faint, almost not discernible, but they help add color, flavor. Of course there had to be some birds too.
  24. Best to talk to her about what she can do. Sketch a few things up and ask her to try them and if she can't find out why. Ask her to play something advanced - if she fancies a concerto she should have a fair repertoire even if part of an ensemble. Can you write for other strings? If so, consider the difference with the bass - the extra long stretches and time (just milliseconds but even so) changing positions, string jumping, etc so don't expect quite the agility of a violinist....sure, there's a double bass Paganini-a-like out there somewhere but try whatever you write with your performer as you go along. As I understand, that's a fairly normal approach. Edit: I couldn't immediately find any double bass studies but looked up the ABRSM Grade 8 that embodies a fair repertoire. She if she can access and play any of the 2020 syllabus. She may already play some of them. https://us.abrsm.org/en/our-exams/bowed-strings-exams/double-bass-exams/double-bass-grade-8/
  25. Here's a personal project of mine. Space is a wonder to me. The first man ever set his foot on the moon 50 years ago. Being a music composer, I wanted to do something for this anniversary. The project got so big and ambitious that I wanted to make a clip for it. And I got lucky when NASA announced that they made their footage copyright free. So I bought video editing software and made my first ever cut. I'm definitely not an editor but I had a lot of fun making this video. Here is the link to the music and video. https://youtu.be/EcvL36-x_Ec
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