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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/19/2009 in all areas

  1. 10 points
    Welcome to the newly re-opened Lessons Department - offering one-on-one virtual lessons with our faculty of skilled and knowledgeable teachers. Help this section grow by signing up today!! The lesson-plan/curriculum is to be determined and decided on a case-by-case basis between student and teacher. The appeal of this method is that it allows the most freedom for both parties to customize the appraoch and to tailor each series of lessons to the particular topic and to the people involved. Please understand that at this point, teachers are generiously volunteering their time to help; try and be courteous and respectful of this generosity. To sign up: - Pick the subject you want to learn and with whom you'd like to study. - Send a message to SYS65 indicating your subject and teacher preferences. - Daniel (SYS65) and/or your new teacher will respond with a decision on your placement. Current teachers: (Currently Updating this list) SYS65 (Daniel Muñoz Alférez) 20th Century Orchestration. (Intermediate to Advanced) Using Sibelius. (Starters to Advanced) Electronic Music with FL Studio. (Starters to Advanced) ---------------------------------------------- Siwi (Simon Wilkins) Composing for stringed instruments General Music Composition Chamber ensembles Orchestration Development and elaboration of ideas Using Sibelius Choral Writing ---------------------------------------------- Aniolel (Aaron Saylor) Music Theory: (Starters to Advance) Harmonics covered here from diatonic triads to 20th century harmony, and beyond. Counter point: up to 4 part writing. Composition/ Development: (starters to advance) Thematic writing and development Harmonizing of themes Different types of basic forms Textures Sonata writing: All three forms (Intermediate to advance) ---------------------------------------------- Maestrowick (?) Composition - Melodic development (Starters to Advanced) ---------------------------------------------- Morgri (Paul Poston) Music Theory Composition / development Ear Training Sightsinging Contemporary compositional techniques ---------------------------------------------- *We're on the lookout for qualified teachers. If you're interested, drop me a line - music degree or significant professional experience an asset.* Brand New Lessons System here, (in progress, be patient)
  2. 7 points
    This is the wrong question to be asking. The question you should be asking is what do i want to write, a hollywood movie score or a classical work? Film composition and classical composition are two completely different disciplines and the music is structured in completely different ways. Several composers' work inhabits a sort of neutral zone between the two (e.g. Vaughan Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Tan Dun) but all of those composers started out in the classical world with rigorous training—their first loves were classical works or popular music, rather than film scores—and went on to write for film afterwards. Not many people ever seem to go the other way round. Writing classical music requires so much more knowledge and training and for most people it has to be training that starts very early. If you really want to write a classical work, particularly in a large form such as a symphony, you need several things. First of all an intimate understanding of every instrument you are undertaking to write for, its actual sound, capabilities, range and expression. Books tell only part of the story. Second the ability to create a musical argument. If you are working in a relatively traditional style (something i recommend for beginners) this means you must give the piece a focus—a key, a theme, a leitmotif, a twelve-tone row—develop it, depart from it and return to it. This is also rather vague, but dedicated analysis of major works of the symphonic repertoire from Haydn to Shostakovich (roughly) should prove instructive. Third and probably most important is the ability to visualise the entire structure in your mind—to give every sound a meaning in the overall direction of the piece. A film score is discontinuous, but in a classical piece each note must inevitably lead to the next, such that the piece could have been composed no other way. If you write tonal music a sense of key (or at least "grand cadence") is necessary—in a film score one can modulate up a semitone every time the suspense needs to be cranked up, but in classical music this palls quickly and makes all keys become more or less interchangeable (this is carried about as far as possible in pieces like Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande with tiresome results) to the detriment of the tonal hierarchy according to which the piece is organised. If your music is post-tonal in technique you are responsible for determining the musical logic that will be the generating entity of your composition. For some specifics—there is no fundamental difference in scoring or orchestration between film and concert music (a lot of film scores use orchestration clearly derived from Tchaikovsky & Wagner). There's nothing wrong with being linear—all music is linear; in fact it's much better to be consistently linear than to stop on a perfect cadence every eight bars. Keep your four- and eight-bar phrases for forms that do not exceed twenty-four bars in length. In a symphony you want to space your music in much broader phrases, and more importantly, elide the ends of those phrases so that the music never stops dead. Periodic phrase rhythms can still be used, but they should be alternated with phrases of irregular length to avoid monotony. If you want a locus classicus for this sort of thing in a symphonic context, this (large file) is probably it. (along with most of the other things i mentioned, although i wouldn't necessarily recommend it as an orchestration manual.) With all this said... if what you really love is film music, there's no reason to feel you need to write classical. It may help in some aspects—the way an english degree has a chance to improve your writing skills—but it's hardly necessary or even desirable. If you're passionate about both genres, you should definitely try doing both (i know much less about film composing but Max Castillo/Jem7/several other people can offer superior advice on the subject).
  3. 7 points
  4. 7 points
  5. 6 points
    Hello Young Composers, I want to take this time to discuss a new development I have been working on, which is a standalone music notation program for Windows. The program will integrate with this website which will include comments and music management/uploads. I haven't made any official announcements because I wanted to make sure I was actually able to follow through. The first version of this program will be for Windows, and I am happy to say that none of this will be outsourced. Because it will not be outsourced, fixing issues or adding new features will be much easier to accomplish. I plan on making all files saved by this program exportable to Lilypond, which will be worked on after the main phase has been complete. Thus, the vision is after a score has been saved it will be integrated with Lilypond and export a PDF. This will mean that the program could be used exclusively to create Lilypond files. The features of this program will contain everything you would expect in a typical music notation editor. However once the basic framework of the program has been complete, we can be creative and add features that may not exist on competing products.
  6. 6 points
    I like how Richard Strauss, ever the egomaniac, said on his deathbed, "It's a funny thing, Alice, dying is just the way I composed it in Death and Transfiguration."
  7. 6 points
  8. 6 points
    Austenite deserved it. He's a great composer and a real contributor to YC. Well done champ!
  9. 6 points
    More often than not, these kinds of associations are tiring for me (and tend to reveal how dull people are), not that there is anything wrong with the music of Debussy creating images of fauns and the body of music written in the last 100 years homogenously sounding like "people getting murdered". I think people desperately try to find something that music reminds them of, as if every piece of music written needs to be something else in addition to music. For me, I interpret kinds of energies from music. These energies can't really be properly explained: it's a visceral feeling.
  10. 6 points
    in his sumptuous new york city mansion, charles wuorinen sits rubbing his aged, gnarled hands with a wicked smile atop his towering pile of ill-gotten riches, pondering to what new devious ends he can put the nefarious twelve-tone system invented his brethren in the academic illuminati.... to be continued
  11. 6 points
    English isn't everybody's native language. If you look at Marzique's profile it says he's from Mexico so it is likely that English isn't his native language. Either way, maybe you should cut him some slack. You understood the point of his post regardless of any grammatical issues so I don't see what the problem is. Also, if we're going to be pedantic about grammar, the comma in the above quote should be a semicolon.
  12. 6 points
    I couldn't agree more. Far too much aesthetic emphasis is given to elevating the surface style of music - or indeed any other narrative artform; cinema, literature, even painting - above other deeper elements that are often more fundamental to making music music. Specifically, what a piece sounds like has only a limited role in defining its worldview and aesthetics, and often has the irritating side-effect of pigeon-holing it under some vague term as 'classical', 'romantic' and so forth. I've said this before but there are certain deep aspects of music that are common to almost all works even beyond the western classical tradition. Obviously we are writing in precisely this tradition and so can widen our aesthetic Venn diagram to include only things fundamental to it alone, but the point remains. What this means is that whilst they may sound very different, that squeaky modern piece you heard last week might actually have a lot in common with a Mozart quartet. It's of limited use to seperate the two in terms of compositional tecniques just because one is atonal and composed on a computer program and the other is based on decorating a functional harmonic pattern with a melody (if this is even how we should analyse Mozart). Perhaps finer study might reveal structural similarities, or that certain devices both composers use are intended to have the same effect or the same function, or even that the 'intensity curve', the narrative of the piece, is very similar. Another way to think of it is with a diverse group of dogs. They may all look very different - big, small, hairy, cute, aggressive - but they have a common ancestor and over 99% of their genes will be identical. So it is with music. Fundamentally, the elements that affect the listening experience are the same. What varies is the composer's choices regarding the deployment of these elements, for which there is great scope. What does this have to do with formal training? Firstly, it should be the responsibility of every composition pedagogue to emphasise this more fundamental aspect of musical creation and to regard surface style as being only of arbitrary interest. It is also as bad to only study the most modern avant-garde music as it is to ignore it completely. I remeber putting my hand up in a composition seminar entirely devoted to contemporary works and asking 'Is there anything we can learn from Haydn?' and getting a funny look and some dismissive answer from the lecturer. (Luckily my next teacher was more broad-minded). Teachers should ensire students see and understand as diverse a range of music as possible and most importantly introduce the idea that the vast majority of it is still relevant to the contemporary composer. Secondly, avoid labelling more than is neccessary as it will comporomise this view and encourage the student only to write in a 'contemporary' idiom (for which read a contemporary surface style). If I write a completely atonal piece using electro-accoustic overtone analysis but arranged the material in prototypical sonata form, is it a 'classical' or 'modernist' work? To ask the question 'why do all modern composers write is a modern style' is disingenuous: the answer is, they don't. What they do do is write using ideas and techniques borrowed from other musicians according to their own aesthetic choices, the end result of which eventually is labelled 'modern'. That should be your training.
  13. 6 points
    Overlooking intricacies the Concepts despite contributing the cogent conceptualization of Musiotics your ideas are. I would say deriving Parallels which in itself, allowing despoiliation per se, (the Infinite within Cosmos and the Infinitesimal) disallowing Universal. It inanity is the music; Profane within compounded cannot be compared to the like and of Baroque music, the Classical neo-Romanticism. The context Beneath which of viewpoints rhombus Divine and not misconstruing integral Shifts, bijective and non-local. Relativism is blurred, "dividing by itself" another Which all Pretentiousness can muster. Therefore, Marzique, I postulate that you are wrong. --Ian Constaxulaxium Pazuria
  14. 6 points
    Since most of the answers are, sadly, silly jokes, let me try: First listen to all finest concertos for bassoon. Pay close attention to form, motivic gradations, harmonic background, orchestration, the usage of the instrument. But you should inform us, how much experience do you have as a composer and which composers you favour as your influences. I remember when I started to compose at the age of 18, I wrote an oboe concerto with strings. It is terrible, since I had no knowledge of form and motivic workout. I made some melodies in oboe and use strings as a background harmonies with occasional solo exhibitions, in moderato-slow-quasi fast movements. But it's a try-out piece after all...
  15. 6 points
    I've posted this before numerous times, but here's a quick rundown of how the cognitive process works and how it relates to music: The first thing to notice and acknowledge is the overlapping between the language and the music areas of the brain, as music uses many of the same mechanisms we use when we hear people talk. In essence, our ability to draw out emotion out of a piece has a two facets. 1) We are wired to extrapolate emotional content out of arbitrary patterns, like we do in speech. For example, an angry person shouting in a language you don't understand can (imagine this over the phone) intimidate you or provoke various emotions. It's not because of the content of the speech but by the way it's presented. In this fashion we can identify 3 basic emotions no matter what kind of music we hear: Happiness, Anger and Sadness. Example A: A person who is depressed will often speak slowly and with a lower tone. These are some of the characteristics we often extrapolate in music as "sadness," regardless of what we're hearing. Example B: Aggressiveness in music tends to communicate anger just like shouting at someone will, again elements overlap here and it's easy to see the connection. 2) There is a mechanism by which we are chemically rewarded when we are surprised by syntax change within an establish context. This means, that a diminished chord by Bach in a rather standard T-D-T cadence is meant to achieve exactly a kind of balance between being harsh and being still predictable enough. This leads to a kind of "aesthetic curve" where this middle ground is at the center of a lot of music changes. For example an interrupted cadence in C major often is A minor due to similarity in the notes, despite it being an entirely different key. It's "far enough" that you notice, but not too far that it bothers. This phenomenon exists, of course, in speech as well. It happens when you read a sentence like for example: "I'll install some Betty duck airplane." Spoken out loud anyone's reaction will be along the same lines of what happens when there is an allowed break in harmony. This is also the basis of a lot of literary principles in forming sentences and etc etc. Because this works on the basis of established syntax, it needs context for it to work and hence this is where culture comes into play greatly. This break in syntax can only happen if you're able to predict what -should- come, and instead what you get is something else. In a language/music where you can't do it, it's impossible to get this payoff to work. This is also, I suspect, the reason modern music hard to get into, as it takes a while to assimilate many new elements until they begin working this way (hear enough atonality and you'll find "breaks" from it, just like in any kind of syntax within a certain context.) Example A: the Neapolitan cadence is a good old example of (Cadence) harmony that is extremely powerful (you couldn't GET more dissonant back then than this,) and it works precisely because what you expect is similar to what you get, but different enough that it makes you react. Example B: Augmented chords took a long while to become single-use chords within a harmonic context. Liszt was one of the first to attempt to use them on their own entirely without resorting to passing notes as a way to "legitimize them." The reason is that the sound created by an augmented chord on it's own is "too far" from other sounds within a context therefore not a good stand-alone chord. Within a created context however, it's used extensively as the effect is diminished through the use of passing notes, Eg T -> S by means of a progressively raised 5th to the 3rd of the S. This is typical by Schubert, for example. It effectively creates an augmented chord, but only in passing and with pedal tones that ease off the dissonance. Compare with Mozart's rather pioneering minuet (Minuet in D KV 355-576b) where the chord is used by itself (but resolved chromatically.) --- Further reading: Towards a neural basis of music-evoked emotions (Trends Cog Sci, 2010) Processing Expectancy Violations during Music Performance and Perception: An ERP Study (J Cog Neurosci, in press) Universal Recognition of Three Basic Emotions in Music (Current Biology, 2009) :>
  16. 6 points
    A thought: Can we PLEASE get rid of the stupid "reputation" thing where people vote posts up and down? It's been abused by people that don't like other people (such as BDW consistently voting my posts down). It doesn't help to the site, simple as that.
  17. 5 points
    I have refrained from commenting directly on individual pieces until I have a chance to review all the entries after the deadline but I wanted to extend my respect and congratulations to all of you. This is really what this is about, inspiring the composition of truly outstanding pieces in the spirit of friendly competition. I look forward to hearing the all the other entries! Happy composing to all.
  18. 5 points
    All right, randomizing done! Here are the results: Aquatunic will work on JFTF's theme Luder will work on Pater's theme Christian will work on Austenite's theme Pater will work on Danish's theme Danish will work on Dan's theme Dan will work on KJ's theme JFTF will work on Christian's theme KJ will work on Luder's theme Austenite will work on Aqua's theme We can hash out the deadline details later. I'm also guessing there are no rules regarding instrumentation, but I think we should keep the length at most 10 minutes.
  19. 5 points
    Bah, people waste time with things they aren't competitive with all the time. Having been on both the hiring, and the being hired, side of the equation, I can tell you, it's often just about showing up and being pleasant to work with. No one person I've ever worked with was ever perfect at all aspects of their job. We are all good enough. When the printer jams, we all try taking it apart and pushing random buttons together, and suddenly it miraculously works again, and we have no idea why. We don't live at risk of being eaten by tigers any more and the world isn't as dog-eat-dog as you seem to think. (If it is that high-pressure where you are, go somewhere else and find some new friends! Because it's not like that for most of us.) It is entirely possible to be merely adequate at your job, whatever it may be, and do just fine. You will not starve on the street or be ridiculed by your peers. The modern problem seems to be one of too much choice. All of us have so many possible paths open to us that will allow us to feed ourselves that it becomes difficult to decide on one. Because we exist in such a fortunate era of history where we do have choices, we are encouraged to find our "passion." There's some intense psychological pressure involved in that. You aren't allowed to just enjoy the people you work with and do a decent job any more. You have to be passionate! But the world needs plumbers, and car washers, and accountants, and internal database managers, and not every moment of those people's days is going to be passionate. It's all gotten a little out of hand. Bottom line, find something you can do and do it. If you want to be a composer, be a composer. If you want to be a plumber by day, and compose by night so that you don't have to worry about the bills, do that. It's your life. Do what you like. Do what you need to. Do a decent job. But don't expect a lightening bolt out of the blue to suddenly illuminate what you are "supposed" to do with your life and don't get preachy about what other people choose to do with theirs. Thousands of generations of hunter gatherers and farmers had no choice in how they spent their days, and they were happy enough.
  20. 5 points
    Be the change you wish to see in this world, even a tiny virtual nook. A church is not made of walls, but rather it's people. Is the dissension among you really all derived from a lack of leadership? Is it that you do not see the colored names of the moderators in the discussions you hold with importance? Is it that when you look at the shoutbox you see nothing but BOOM instead of getting to know the people who you have found a common bond in music? Is it that the focus of this website harboring composers who have chosen a love or passion or even a profession that is lucrative only in pennies has fallen into childish banter, casting the few fingers we have here at each other? Aren't we all to blame? Haven't we all vented our frustrations at others here at times? Is the name-calling really worth it? Are they not all the same grievances? Don't we all have different goals and aspirations in music and life, yet so strikingly similar at the same time? Is it the memories many of you have of a more "glorious" time when logging onto Young Composers? Is it that you miss the friendships you've made while here, as so many have stopped by for miniature increments in their lives only to disappear for random reason X caused by reason Y? I could infinitely go on, but in a society filled with minds clogged with "TL;DR", I'll just get to the point. We don't need meetings, we all know the sources of this site's infestation of problems. I'm glad there are a few people who care enough to point it out, but rectifying the minimization plaguing a once populated site starts with doing what you wish to see yourselves. Be the example. Start commenting on other's music again, especially new members. Surely most have created an account with the self-centered goal to have their music heard and judged by their peers. But isn't that the reason why we've all created accounts? If no one commented on the first piece of my music submitted here 6 or so years ago, would I have become a "member" of a community? Would I have grown into the musician and composer I am today without someone else who knows a hell of a lot more about music taken the time to tell me what they thought of my audio garbage I thought that had attained absolute perfection? There is no glory or reward for the individual in creating a unified community. There will always be those who swim in the waters of vile language and basically sexual misconduct, as just because the repercussions are not directly visible does not mean they don't impact the welfare of this site. Ignore it, don't feed it. With a positive goal in mind (and I know the people commenting in this thread possess that), with perseverance one person only needs to affect one other person, not a thousand. The rest will take care of itself.
  21. 5 points
    Maybe we should have a poll for those who write tonal music? Poll: Those who write tonal music do so because they are copping out, lack imagination, and can only do style copies? Yes of course you silly bird. Would you like to join me in selling those tonalists quill pens, lead mascara, and powdered wigs! Ah only a few can truly get away with writing good tonal music since much of the possibilities of tonal music have been exhausted! Of course not, there are all sorts of tonality - pick one shall we? Indian ragas? Arabic maquams? Western major/minor scale - or octatonic as Schubert was the first to use it. Ah, I write twelve tone music a la Mozart and can wrestle late Romantic harmony into the strictest counterpoint a la Bach - I am awesome, none shall threaten me. Not applicable, I work with spatial music, sound design, and resonating the universe's aura, tonality is just one consequence of my music that meets the needs of ALL seeking enlightenment!
  22. 5 points
    I view the process of creating a work as being akin to rearing a difficult child. You use all of your spirit to try to mold him into something sensible, pleasant, intelligent, and handsome, but he thwarts you at every turn, and in the back of your mind you know you will eventually fail. Nonetheless, you endure his trials as much as you are able. Once you are absolutely exhausted and emotionally depleted, even though he is not perfect, you abandon him to the world and hope for the best. contrary to what we all learned in grade school, there is not an absolute dichotomy between simile and metaphor. A simile is merely a figure of speech, while a metaphor is more of a conceptual thingy.
  23. 5 points
    I'm still stunned. But let me make a try... *shows up late, runs through the red carpet, is greeted by a mocking Billy Crystal and a thrilled Anne Hathaway, while Christian Bale shows up pushing a cart full of statuettes* Acceptance Speech Follows :facepalm: : This comes as a major surprise for me, as there were so many quality compositions on the run :blush: . I can barely find any words :happytears:, except for a really big and heartily Thank You to the whole YC community, especially for those whose support showed up through the vote. I must also congratulate the other winners, esp. Sojar Voglar, who justly carried the coveted award for YC's Best Composer, as well as the (very fitting) Old Timer's Award and the Most Underrated Piece (I should add that his music as a whole is still underrated in this site). I also celebrate that our Rookie of the Year is very deservedly going to Sarastro, a very helpful and knowledgeable musician who has made a significant contribution despite having been a member for such a short time. And I must note the breakout year for CJplumblossom, who got not only the Weirdest Ensemble award but also the Most Improved Composer in 2012 (hey, you're also Staff's Pet :toothygrin:!) HeckelphoneNYC will surely go bananas about finally carrying an award - Most Reasonable Member, nothing less! (BTW, the fact that one of our youngest members is also deemed as the most reasonable should tell us something about the average maturity level of YC :pinch: ). And Jaap Cramer just can't stop winning, this time getting the Most Skilled Debater. I'd like also to congratulate Tokkemon for being outspoken in his political views ;) no matter if they are shared or not by the rest of us. On the less bright side, it's a pity that we're losing our just-named Best Moderator, as Morivou has announced his intention to leave YC :( - as did Elizabeth, last year's winner and hands-down our Most Missed Member. And also that Wayne-Scales has managed to retain his Most Disliked Staff Member title, despite a stiff challenge from the actively campaigning Ananth :P . But 2012 has been also the year of the Triple Crown for Composer Phil (aka Ravel's law): Most Annoying, Least Missed and Staff Nightmare awards (although I wonder if he could have pulled out the feat if Dominus Vobiscum hadn't dropped out from the race :evil: ). Nevertheless, I have little less to add. Congrats to everyone else - and a million thanks! *waves one statuette, hugs and kisses Anne Hathaway again until pushed back by Adam Shulman, winks at Jennifer Lawrence, bows out*
  24. 5 points
    Better to look at the silver lining: you're among the first YC members (if not the first) of whom a lesser composer writes style-copies ;) .
  25. 5 points
    too optimistic. what the average person knows about classical music: 1. it involves violins and powdered wigs and is very aristocratic 2. some classical composers include beethoven, writer of "für elise"; mozart, writer of "eine kleine nachtmusik"; brahms, writer of the lullaby; handel, writer of the hallelujah chorus; bach, writer of an air about weird fetish underwear. all of these people lived between 300 and 600 years ago. 3. classical music stopped being written around 1900 when it was replaced by big bands and swing. the exception is movie music, all of which is written by john williams, danny elfman and hans zimmer 4. similar to classical music is opera, which is about fat women wearing viking helmets and plates on their breasts, and ballet, which is about thin women wearing leotards and puffy tutus. paradoxically, anyone who likes these things is probably gay 5. liking classical music is a clear sign of being a cat-stroking bond villain or possibly a nazi. normal people only listen to pop and r&b (if female) or rock and hip-hop (if male) replace with geographically-appropriate substitutes where desired
  26. 5 points
  27. 5 points
    NathanHathawayAdams You did a fine job telling the general story. Unfortunately, I have never fulfilled ultimate nerdiness and I don't know all my superheros, sad childhood? I know :( so I don't know any specific stories, and you don't give me anything, all you gave me was that he had hard times, became a superhero, and feels sad forever, which is a nice general story line, and enough for the music, but you could have gone soooo much deeper! You could have gone deeper musically too. I didn't hear much dynamic contrast, and there's contrast between two themes here, heroism and personal anguish. But you don't distinguish the two enough, you just put them both there. There needs to be more contrast to add to the story. 9/30 instrumentation 5 instruments, and very well playable, just watch out for breathing 9/10 orchestration: interesting ensemble and so much can be done with it, I really question your use of the A Clarinet...always use Bb, I can't think of a situation today where it's appropriate to use an A clarinet. I love soprano sax and it's so nice with a clarinet and an oboe, I also like how you have 2 bass instruments. 7 points for the ensemble, your use of them quite bland though 7/20 creativity: you have such a creative ensemble. Unfortunately, that's really it. Your ensemble didn't do much too unique. I seems like you were trying to blend them in a unique way, but it didn't really work, the bad side to a unique ensemble. try to think more outside the box on how to make everything more interesting 1/10 Musicality: Melody: arpeggios and a minor scale, quite boring, your melody needs leaps! otherwise it's boring! 1/3 Harmony: It appears that your harmonic language is underdeveloped, work on it, write a piece and focus 90% on harmony, try to do something interesting, a minor triad won't do it, see what combinations you could use, you don't have to use chords with an easy name! I've used 2 tritones a half step away from each other and that worked well 1/3 Rhythm: some syncopation, but it builds up to a disappointment since it always changes to something basic 1.2/3 Timbre: This is a nice ensemble! you just need to work on how to orchestrate it more 1.2/3 Tempo: fluctuation would not help this piece, in fact, I think if the tempo were stricter, your piece would be more interesting 1.2/2 Dynamics: you need more contrast! .7/2 Texture: your texture is actually pretty good, you have homophony, monophony, polyphony 2/2 8.3/20 TOTAL 36.2 My computer restarted itself and part of the last 4 scores went missing they will be put up and replaced by the morning! I'm terribly sorry I'm so late! I lost a third of my scores for the score quality in that little incident and because of how much detail I look into these scores, they take me hours (each!) to score properly! This entire judging process took at least 24 hours total, just so you know I did not procrastinate on these until today Maqam Djinn For a second, I thought you had the wrong link, because I did not understand a word you wrote about, or how it relates to the artwork, then I realized, you did. For some reason, the link sent me to a king chess piece, and under it says "to be" with a tennis ball underneath. I searched, and I found a key with a bunch of gems on top, and when I clicked "full image" on that, it changed the pic. either way, you did a great job with such a simple piece of art. This is so basic, yet can go so far, and you took it far. You took a bunch of colors, and made your own world with them. bravo! Now, musically, you could have done more, when I think of creating an entire world, I think of Mahler, which is probably too high a standard for you XD but you still could have done more, you created basic imagery, be more specific! show each wave of the ocean, define every creature in your world! Great job! do more! 20/30 Instrumentation you meet the requirements, but your piece is a bit difficult, not as difficult as some of the other pieces, but you may want to work on making it easier, so more people can play it. 7/10 orchestration you have a very interesting ensemble, a flute, 2 strings, marimba and piano, and you make them work so well. You matched each instrument very well, and made them all distinct while still making the music work. You put the pianos together very well, the strings together were perfect, you did an excellent job here! 17/20 Musicality: Melody: your melody is very strong, and based on a long tone, that gives it such a unique effect 2.8/3 Harmony: your piece is tonal, and is interesting, but most of the interest comes from melody, orchestration, and counterpoint, you didn't do as much with harmony 1.5/3 Rhythm: interesting rhythms and lots of changing meter, your rhythm builds the melody very well 3/3 Timbre: again, great ensemble 3/3 form: very nice treatment of a theme and variations 2/2 Dynamics: I could have used more dynamics in general 2/2 Tempo: static, yet flowing, as long as it flows, the piece is good 1.8/2 texture: you have it all homophony, polyphony, not much monophony though, and in general more contrast between these would be nice 1/2 17.1/20 63.5 total muhmuhmuhmusic wow, creative piece! You did a great job with this quote, and what better way of portraying a quote than quoting it? that was a great touch, and you showed man's dangers very well. You could have done more though, I would have liked to see some musical symbolism here, and there's a lot you could work with. Pick any world problem, and put it to music. This quote by Albert Einstein is significant, and can be explored infinitely. yet, you only take advantage of the general picture. You need to show specifics in order to make it past 15 points, but you did such a great job showing all of today's problems intertwining with each other! 15/30 Instrumentation: you meet all the requirements, my only complaint about playability is that you have a very difficult marimba part, it's possible, but difficult, especially compared to everything else. 8/10 Orchestration: I'm trying to figure out how much I love that you included an electric bass. You have such an interesting ensemble and I do thank you for putting up a diagram on how they should be set up. you put the instruments together very well, the electric bass blended in nicely, but I would have liked to hear them more, I would have also liked to hear more conversation between all the instruments. Sometimes it felt like something was thrown in, and there wasn't much dialogue between the instruments. 8/20 Creativity: very creative here! your diagram gets you some points, your use of the electric bass, and a narrator, your marimba was a nice touch, great job! You showed some really "outside the box" thinking here! But you could have done more, I would have liked to see more creativity within the music, within the harmony, the melody, the rhythm, those felt rather plain 6/10 Musicality: Melody: you have a melody, but it could be stronger, the rhythm makes the melody a bit awkward sometimes, but otherwise very good 2/3 Harmony: not much here, you have chords, but you're not really Stravinsky when it comes to harmony, which is unfortunate because you can do sooo much with harmony! that's where your voice comes from, so do more with it, experiment 1/3 Rhythm: you should have changed the time signature to 8/8 at some point and I do like that rhythm, but you could have made it stronger, you need more accents on the 2 dotted quarters and the quarter, you also could have played around with it, the music would have been soo interesting if you did some stuff with the time, again, play around, experiment 1/3 Timbre: great ensemble, but they could have been treated better, it felt almost like a salad, and less like one ensemble 1/3 form: you developed the themes nicely, and put them in conversation with each other, sometimes at the same time, which is excellent! but a form for the whole piece could have been stronger 1.8/2 dynamics: more dynamics needed! more contrast! add those in and your piece would improve so much! 1/2 tempo: when building up, perhaps some accel. would help that, let the tempo flow with the music! 1/2 texture: the entire piece was homophonic, and I didn't really get much monophony or polyphony, and contrast between those 3 really build up a piece .3/2 9.1/20 TOTAL 49.1 ad hoc You did a great job with this piece! You took such an interesting, haunting theme, and did such great work with it. The only problem is that's all I heard, a daunting theme. I couldn't really tell the difference between each statue's story or what the story was. The music just all worked together to create this daunting effect, which is still fine, it's just not as specific as you intended. The story is fantastic, and I really admire your telling of it, you just need to work more with the form, and creating some sort of contrast, to create the effect of these statues telling their stories. 17/30 instrumentation: you meet all the requirements, but playability wise, your mallet percussion writing is very difficult, and the most difficult by far to play in this piece 7/10 orchestration: you did a great job with the percussion! and it worked so nicely with the strings, it created such a daunting effect. The mallet percussion was put in nice contrast with the timpani and the percussion was put in nice contrast with the strings, yet everything worked together. You could have done more within the strings though, but overall you did a great job 15/20 creativity: again, nice use of the percussion, you could have gone much further though, using percussion allows you to do so much, and opens up a huge world of possibilities. Frank Ticheli used a suspended cymbal on a timpani, while the percussionist rolled the cymbal and moved around the pedal on the timpani. You don't have to go that far, but it would have sounded sooo cool if perhaps bowed the glockenspiel? or the vibes? or really bowing anything would have added exponentially to that effect. you just need to think about what you can do, and which of these tools at your disposal would add to the music 3/10 musicality: Melody: your melody does need a bit of work, it's mostly the rhythm that's hurting it, some notes are too long, and the rhythm repeats itself too much, but the melody is very close to being great! 1/3 Harmony: your harmonic language can be a lot more interesting, you did create some cool harmonies with the percussion and it worked well with the strings, but you could have done so much more! experiment! 1.5/3 Rhythm: your rhythm is a bit weak here, while you use the rhythm to allow the music to flow, you can also allow it to drive, but rather, it almost sags in the strings (not in the percussion) 1.5/3 Timbre: great ensemble 3/3 form: you do have a clear sense of form, but not enough contrast, rather it's just one thing building up, and it has certain checkpoints. I would love to hear more contrast in this piece .8/2 tempo: it felt slow at some points, not that you should change the tempo, but that you should make the tempo work better with the music 1/2 dynamics: WAY MORE CONTRAST, that would make your piece so much better! .5/2 texture: mostly homophonic, some hints at polyphony, and a little little bit of monophony, if you used each in contrast with each other, this piece would improve greatly 1/2 10.3 TOTAL 55.3 Maestrowick Great piece! I could easily tell the plot from listening to the music, and at which points what happens. Great job! that shows you really have mastery over this. You. along with everyone else, could have done more though, you could have created a more detailed world, everything was great! but more detail was needed 23/30 Instrumentation: you meet all the requirements but your piece is so darn difficult! I can't exagerate how much fear I get when looking at your cello part in the end 6/10 orchestration: you know how to write for an orchestra! you use strings as the backbone, but your woodwinds and brass aren't left behind (mostly) I feel like you could have used the brass a lot more, and woodwinds too, but to a lesser extent. meanwhile, more percussion would be a nice touch, but you did do a great job using what you used 17/20 creativity: solo strings are a nice touch! but everything else felt like a normal, romantic style piece. You didn't really do much out of the ordinary 2/10 musicality: Melody: strong and flawless 3/3 Harmony: romantic style, but you used it excellently, but we're not in the 19th century, harmony has developed since then, and we need to recognize that, and if used right, you could do soo much more harmonically with this piece, but I understand your view point, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you've done 2.9/3 Rhythm: I like the 6/8, I like it a lot, along with the unreasonably terrifying runs, those do greatness rhythmically 3/3 Timbre: again, you know how to write for orchestra! 3/3 Dynamics: a bit (just a bit) more contrast would be nice 1.8/2 Tempo: I cannot think of anything tempo wise that would improve this piece 2/2 texture: you have it all, monophony, homophony, polyphony 2/2 form: flawless, but it did feel just a bit long at some points 1.9/2 19.6/20 Imperialflute essence I got the general idea, and I love how specific you went, but you could have gone so much further! Musically, your symbolism didn't really work as well as they should have, when I hear cowbell, I don't really think of rain...you need to stop for a moment and think "what best sounds like this?" 13/30 Score Quality: Noteflight does not produce a legitimate score, I can't conduct an ensemble off of that, save up money and get Finale or Sibelius if you are serious about composing, and you can't become a good composer unless you're serious about it. Judging from what I can, dynamics are out of place at many points, make sure they are exactly underneath the note, you're missing brackets, your pedal markings are clashing everywhere in the piano. otherwise, not bad for noteflight 1/10 Instrumentation: everything's playable and you meet the requirements 9/10 orchestration: I like the spiccato, but I'd also advise never to use it, because it breaks the bow! I also like some of your percussion writing, otherwise, it sounds plain, and almost bland. Your brass writing needs some work, and I do like your use of singers, but they could be stronger! I've only ever heard one piece where the strings cover a choir, choirs like to show off, let them 4/20 creativity: you've made an attempt, but ask yourself "did it work musically?" if the answer is no, then don't do it, it will only hurt you as a composer. I didn't really feel what you were getting at with the spicatto, or the choir, you needed to utilize them better to create that creative effect 2/10 Musicality: Melody: not very strong, didn't really sense one melody, you need to work on creating that sense when you're in homophony or monophony .5/3 Harmony: your weakness, I can tell you don't have a strong enough sense of music theory. Study music theory, and learn start experimenting after that, you have to know the rules before you can break them .3/3 Rhythm: this keeps the piece interesting, and you did a fine job with rhythm, but you could have made it more complex, study more modern pieces, and look at how people like Ligeti (I know, he's not really modern, but still) and John Mackey, and study Stravinsky too, and look at how they all used rhythm, and learn off of that 1/3 Timbre: your orchestration was off, but very close, you could have done a lot with this ensemble .7/3 form: too many repeats, and not really a sense of any specific form, the music flows, but I couldn't tell in what direction it's flowing .3/2 dynamics: I hear very little of those, use more, and your piece will skyrocket .2/2 tempo: I couldn't tell if your tempo harms your piece, over what else does, but I think a little bit more fluctuation would have been helpful1/2 texture: I don't hear much polyphony, but I do hear monophony and homophony, keep good contrast between these, and all of them to the best of your ability 1/2 5/20 74.3 total 1. John Pax 2. Austenite 3. Maestrowick Great job everyone! I was thoroughly impressed with everyone's works and look forward to listening to all of your works in the future. This was not an easy contest, and I spent countless hours judging your behemoths, and I did my best to be as fair as possible, which led me to spending 3 days in a row just non-stop judging, but thankfully, you all wrote music good enough for me to enjoy my job, and I hope you had as much fun in this competition as I did. Thank you, Nebal Maysaud/ treehugger1995 July 2012 Competition Judging – Justin Tokke (Tokkemon) Bachian: Farewell http://www.youngcomp...ion-submission/ Lovely little work! I especially liked how "warm" it feels, just like the picture's rays of sunlight making everything look orange. Good choice of instruments and "feel" in that regard. Source Material: 25/30 You depicted the source material very well. I certainly felt the longing of not wanting to leave; this was most accentuated by the Bb augmented chords you littered here and there which, in my opinion, is the one of the most "heartbreaking" chords in music when it is used right (the other being the Major 7th). You said you tried to depict the style of 1875, when the painting was written, but I found this to be far more classical than romantic. Listen to Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, Mov. 2 (http://www.youtube.c...ailpage#t=1282s) and hear what I mean. Your piano writing was also very classical and nothing was very chromatic and didn't venture very far from the key, typical traits of a romantic piece. So that's where you lost 5 points. Score Preparation: 7/10 Overall pretty good. You use of two cello sections was unnecessary but see below. Violas must always have an alto clef, no excuse for that one. A lot of your slurs were very large phrase markings that didn't really tell the players much other than sempre legato . Writing that in expression text is far more useful. Be careful of your accidentals too. Some enharmonics were incorrect (like bar 89 should be E-sharp, not F). Sometimes the phrases were not starting on strong beats. Not inherently a problem, but sometimes a distraction. For example, bar 49 should be a 5/4, then the rest of the phrase 53 should be shifted over a beat. You should notate the phrases on how they feel, not just how they fit in with the pulse. Instrumentation: 7/10 You didn't need two cello sections in this piece. Really you treated the violas as a third violin section, which they are not, not at all. I'd recommend removing the first cellos and making that the viola part, then making the viola part a violin part, and then merging the three violin parts into two with divisi as necessary. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when the five-section string section has done wonders for hundreds of years. Also, while I loved the string orchestra thing, you could have used more instruments to give more color. A nice oboe or clarinet solo here or there would have done wonders for this piece interest-wise. Orchestration: 14/20 You have some issues with cellos. Apart from the above mentioned re-organization of the sections, you don't have the cellos acting like true basses sometimes leaving the basses all lone, which is a bit exposed, especially in the lovely warm texture that you've created. Also the fragmentary strings of the second section kind of distract. Granted, it was nice to have little changes of color, but only having them play three notes and then cut off mid-phrase is awkward. Creativity: 6/10 While it is a good piece, there was nothing really groundbreaking or unique here. Any competent film composer would have written something similar if given this image to score to. Besides Beethoven, I was thinking of Morricone's work ( ) all the time during this.Musicality: 15/20 I'm conflicted here. On the whole it is very nice, but I felt it went far too long. The middle section didn't really go anywhere and didn't deviate from the key very far so it felt stagnant and then boring. However, your main theme was actually quite good and probably this piece's saving grace. I really liked the warm textures and what it tried to convey, so you did well. Work on development of your material in a future work and you'll be in good shape. Overall: 74/100 ================================================================================================== theviolinist7: A Passage To India http://www.youngcomp...ion-submission/ Source Material: 15/30 I haven't read the book so I can't know if these movements specifically follow the plot, so all I have to go on is the time the book attempts to depict, namely, India under British rule. While it was clever to include the sitar, you need to write for sitar idiomatically. Most of it sounds like you were just writing for a solo violin and not taking advantage of the ragas, quarter-tones, accents, nuances of the instrument. You "westernized" it, which I think is a mistake if you're trying to depict a culture accurately. Score Preparation: 4/10 The score was too small and messy. You have a lot of technical issues, such as not identifying your percussion instruments, or text colliding with other things on the staff. I would seriously consider re-writing both pieces in different time signatures. 11/4 is extremely hard to coordinate, especially the way you have it not really conforming to the 11/4 ideal of 3,3,3,2 (or one of its variants. If you used 11/4 just because it's not 4/4, don't do that again. No one in the audience will be able to tell. It would be far simpler (for the conductor but especially the players) just to write the music in a meter that fits the phrases best. Please also combine your like-instruments together, no matter what Finale says (which, most of the time, is wrong). Fix your enharmonics, especially in the second piece. There are double accidentals everywhere and it makes it very difficult to read. Instrumentation: 8/10 Good job trying to write for orchestra including a sitar. That was the most clever thing about this piece, I find. Orchestration: 10/20 This needs work. Your balance is all over the place. If you want more specifics I can give them, but it would be too long to list here. Creativity: 6/10 Your most creative thing was including the sitar. But, like I said above, you didn't really try to get the "Indian" feel to the music. Using unusual modes or scales would have been cool, but all you did was double a weird theme at tritones. This isn't anything new, the 20th Century is full of it. Truly blending an Indian style with Western Instruments, like you attempted to do in the first piece, would have been far more creative. Musicality: 7/20 Obviously, since these were so short, one couldn't get a full feeling of the complete story. Regardless, both movements were kind of just "pasted together", or at least that's what it felt like. There was no real thought to the development (if any) of the themes, just repeated in different guises. Cohesion simply wasn't there. Overall: 50/100 ================================================================================================== John Pax: Redon http://www.youngcomp...petition-entry/ Source Material: 27/30 You did capture the essence of the two paintings which was important. I think it was just a bit too reserved and/or restrained overall. Parsifal can be a very passionate character so a more intense first movement would have been nice, but your subdued interpretation was very appropriate for the painting. I think you took some of the elements too literally and turned them into cerebral things rather than evoking feeling in music, but that’s your call. The spider was pretty good too, though a more menacing or scary kind of music would have been nice. That spider clearly isn’t thinking about sunshine and rainbows. So essentially the same problem, don’t be so reserved! Let out the passion and craziness that only music can provide. Score Preparation: 7/10 Very good except for a few things. The biggest most glaring thing of all is the bass clarinet in Bass Clef. Do not use the German system; players won’t be able to read it in this modern age. Also avoid using octave lines in woodwind parts as the fingerings for each octave differ, so the mental exercise of having to transpose the part on the staff can impede sight reading. Your first movement was laid out gloriously in terms of rhythmic clarity; I just wish you did that in the second movement. In the second movement, having so many sixteenth notes and rests can get very daunting to read. I would suggest rewriting the passages where there are many of those and removing the rests, then writing “sempre stacc.” as necessary. This will make it much clearer where the beats actually lie. Also, breaming over rests usually isn’t helpful in a duple meter, there are exceptions, but when you’re beaming from a rest (2nd mov, bar 10, beat 2 in the clarinet and bass clarinet) it can get messy. But that’s more my opinion as a player and sightreader. What are the snap pizz. signs doing in the bass clarinet part? Is this explained in the score what they’re for? Instrumentation: 5/10 You didn’t use five instruments as the contest required. However, you get saving grace here because the instruments you did use, you used quite effectively. It’s a very nice ensemble together with the capability to be warm and dark but also loud and bright. Orchestration: 18/20 Bravo on this point! You use the extremes of the ranges, the virtuosity, and some unique quirks like microtones and clusters which are nice when used only here and there to foil the more “traditional” playing. You got points off because I thought you could have used the viola more, just in general, but especially in the spider movement. There wasn’t much fast arco work going on and I thought that color was drastically underused. You maybe could have used the piano in a harmonic sense more, but that’s a small point. Creativity: 8/10 The first movement had some great creative moments. While I was skeptical of the microtonalism on the first listen, I listened again and loved the “out of tune-ness” you got between some of the instruments. The weird beating between the odd intervals was a very interesting texture that isn’t heard too often in Western music so I was impressed by that. I thought you could have done better in the second movement; it sounds a lot like mid-20th Centrury run-of-the-mill Eliot Carter and nothing really new. Musicality: 16/20 The first movement on its own is very good. The second movement is okay, but it could have been longer and developed a bit more. Putting the two together it makes the first movement seem far too long and the second far too short. Try and balance out the time and pace of the two movements. Also, I didn’t like the ending of the second movement at all. I would have just ended it on the cluster; I get that it’s the spider scurrying away, but it’s too ambiguous. Perhaps a straight chromatic scale on the piano would have been better, I don’t know. Also the dynamic range of each movement was a bit constrained. It would be better to have the Parsifal movement expand further and intensify more and vice versa in the spider movement. Still a good work with few flaws. It would be very cool to hear a whole suite of these movements based on these paintings, perhaps performed in concert with the painting projected on the stage wall or something. Overall: 81/100 ================================================================================================== ChristianPerrotta: Oriental Rhapsody http://www.youngcomp...y-july-contest/ Very interesting piece with its different movements giving different guises on the same painting. Not many people did it quite like that so it was a refreshing change. Source Material: 29/30 You captured the oriental spirit very well in this piece. The solo piccolo did a great impression of a dizi playing in what sounds to be a traditional Chinese mode. Whether it actually is or not is unimportant, to the Western ear, this is clearly "Oriental" music. You lose a point because the ending seemed a little too "dance-like" to be seem oriental. That may just be my perspective on oriental cultures, but I generally don't imagine them dancing to an odd meter at such a fast tempo. Score Preparation: 7/10 Very good except for a few things. When you have "bells" there, I don't know what that means. You have to specify if you mean "Glockenspiel" or "Chimes (Tubular Bells)" or "Handbells" or "little bells" or "big bells", something more descriptive. Listening to the recording made it clear you meant Chimes, but that isn't clear from the score. You also aren't specific when you use the two horns enough. "a 2" and "1." symbols need to be used to specify when it's only one player at a time. I would change the score order to have the solo violin below the piano to fit with standard score order. Sometimes the ensemble string parts got a bit crowded and you didn't specify divisi such as in bar 57. Some entrances were missing dynamics and some dynamics were on rests. Always put dynamics on the first note of a phrase. Some of your key signatures were unnecessarily complicated. Using accidentals is far easier if the change of key is short. In the fourth movement, it is clearly in 7/8 rather than 7/4. It would be far easier to count for the players. Small point, but the opening Piccolo solo shouldn't say "solo senza tempo" but "solo, senza misura". There is clearly a tempo, but no meter. Instrumentation: 9/10 You use a very eclectic group of instruments which was very cool to see. I loved the inclusion of the Piccolo and Solo Violin acting as "Westernized" versions of Chinese instruments (I guess). It's a pretty well rounded ensemble but a bit top-heavy. I would have liked a bass instrument such as a Double Bass or even Bass Clarinet included. Orchestration: 17/20 Generally this is very good! The biggest glaring issue I saw the horn in the third movement. There is no way that high A could ever be played pianissimo reliably, especially with no preparation. Put it somewhere else. I thought you could have used all the instruments a little more adventurously, especially the piccolo and solo violin. You don't really go into the extremes of the range nor the virtuosic capabilities of said instruments. Again, the lack of a true bass instrument was problematic; this was most evident in the march I think. Creativity: 7/10 There are some lovely moments of creativity here. The clapping was a novel idea in the last movement, though I wouldn't have ended on that. This may be why the climax there was lacking (see below). Your use of piccolo to imitate the Chinese instruments was very nice and a refreshing change for the instrument, especially using it in the lower register where it sounds very similar to the dizi. I thought the march was the least creative (and the most cliché-filled with open fifths everywhere). So you get knocked for that mostly. A more creative ending and transitions between the movements were also badly needed. Musicality: 10/20 Really, on the technical level this piece is quite good. The problem lies in the musicality and flow. While each movement is nice in and of itself, they don't really fit together. The March seemed terribly out of place, for example. The transitions were abrupt and often awkward. The ending, especially, was very abrupt. I was waiting for a nice big climax to finish it off but that never came. That lack of intensity development really made the piece suffer. My favorite section was mov. 3 by far. It was mysterious and odd but still "relatable" (if that makes sense). However, it got a bit boring by the time the repeat came around. I'd suggest making the second time different, especially in the piccolo. Certainly a good effort! Overall: 79/100 ================================================================================================== joshm222: Atlas http://www.youngcomp...ly-competition/ Source Material: 10/30 This is a bit of an odd source material because it is so open ended. What does it mean for Atlas to shrug? I suppose unless you read the book you would know. I haven’t so I don’t know and I couldn’t interpret it from your music. So while you tried for the heaviness of Atlas carrying the world, and you did succeed there, the actual meaning of the quote was lost. Score Preparation: 9/10 Nothing much to say here. There’s nothing egregious about the score. I would have liked it a bit smaller to fit three systems on a page, though. Instrumentation: 6/10 While you did technically use five different instruments, you didn’t really. The string orchestra is the most homogenous of all the instrument families and accordingly has little variation in color. It would have been wiser to include some other instruments. Orchestration: 6/20 The orchestration here was terribly unadventurous. It was pretty much the same range throughout and no real stretching of the range, timbre, or texture. This was detrimental to the musicality (see below). While nothing was technically wrong, it was boring. Also, be consistent to which part gets the higher notes between the Violins. If they’re always switching places then the continuity of line gets lost. It is much better to have the complete melody in one part than to have it jumping all over unless you do so for color reasons (like Klangfarbenmelodie), which was not the case here. Also, leaving the basses all alone to do the bass line alone will actually counteract the ‘heaviness” you’re trying to convey. Having the cellos divide where half take the existing line and half double the bass at octave will really help; this is not evident in the computer rendering but it would very much be evident with real players. Creativity: 4/10 Nothing terribly creative here. I liked the idea of the bass drum and strings texture, but it went on for far too long (see musicality). This could have been transplanted from any old film score written by a non-classical composer who doesn’t know how to change key (trust me, there’s lots of those) and just repeats the same four chords over and over. Some audiences eat it up, but this is inappropriate for a concert setting. Musicality: 6/20 This wasn’t a very appealing piece because you repeat things too many times without changing things up, and you didn’t do anything harmonically interesting. The entire piece stayed in one key and one meter, this is boring after a while. The incessant bass drum rhythm wasn’t a problem until it wouldn’t stop, then things got boring. I liked the “idea” of the pulsing bass drum and heavy strings but your execution wasn’t very good. Less repletion and more development, especially harmonically! Overall: 41/100 ================================================================================================== Austenite: Emma Overture, Op. 31 http://www.youngcomp...ly-competition/ I have to admit, I came into judging this piece with skepticism. I didn't know your work that well and didn't know the novel either. I've read Pride and Prejudice and enjoyed it a lot, mostly because of Austen's rich command of the English language, much like Shakespeare, who I also adore. After reading your synopsis it seemed oddly similar to Pride and Prejudice, but that may just be a coincidence. But, all I have to go on is your synopsis and I don't know the nuances of the plot or characters, so forgive me if I mischaracterize some of these elements in my critique. On the overall, this is truly a great work; one of the best I've heard on YC on the order of years. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece by any stretch because I know you have a lot of growing to do as a composer, yet. However, this piece is very good, in execution, in pacing, in the simple fact that it is a joy to listen to, which, I think, a lot of composers tend to forget or add at the last minute making their pieces only lackluster. I will tell you that I didn't want this piece to end. By the time I got to the two-thirds mark of the piece, I was so blown away that I just wanted to see what you would do next; and you didn't disappoint. So my congratulations to you. Now, for the critique: Source Material: 29.5/30 Splendid. Absolutely splendid. To disclaim as above, I don't know the nuances of the characters, but for what you described, this piece seemed to hit it spot on. The pacing was very good. When it hung around in one key too often, you jumped ahead. Where you lost one point is not identifying Mr. Knightley's theme clearly enough. It's obvious if you point it out, but to the uninitiated listener it may be hard to pick up on. I don't know if this is the theme itself or your orchestration but you should look into that. Score Preparation: 6/10 You had the most trouble here, which is amazing to me because this score looks quite nice. There are several technical things that annoy me and have to be reconciled before you send it to an orchestra, however. Your biggest issues are time signatures, key signatures, and tempo markings (only small things, right?). Most of your time signatures are ok but they change unnecessarily. For example, right on the first page the change to 6/8 is unnecessary. Two bars of 6/8 = one bar of 12/8. Why did you change it? I would recommend using 6/8 throughout because it "feels" more scherzo-y and far easier to count (less 8th notes) even if only a little bit. Simplify this as best as you can. Your cut time at bar 16 is not a true cut time but a fast four. Conductors may conduct it in two later as the pulse gets established but most certainly this would be started in four. This is a problem throughout; many of your cut times or 2/2 signatures should really be 4/4. Bar 138: why 2/4 instead of 4/4? No good reason from what I can tell. From letter "I" onward, all your 8/8 sections should be re-written as 4/4. No conductor would conduct it in three uneven beats, especially when the simultaneous main theme is, in fact, in 4/4. Don't complicate the beat pattern unnecessarily. If you must, add accents in the "8/8" parts to show the unique beat placement, but the overall pulse should be 4/4. Your key signatures are all over the place. I even saw a one measure key signature, which is a definite no-no. It is better to have one big overarching key signature per section of music and then add accidentals as necessary (sometimes absurdly so, but it is easier to read than suddenly changing key every other bar). Also, cautionary naturals are rarely needed anymore. We know what you mean when you go from three sharps to five flats. Also, every key change barline should be a double barline. The tempo markings generally are ok, but really should include a metronome mark for reference. Some composers don't, but it really makes things easier for the players to have an absolute reference point to what your "Allegro" means. All gradual changes like ritardando or accelerando should all be in the same text style as the main tempo markings, NOT in small italics. This is because the italics are harder to read and easy to miss by conductors. Other qualms include smaller things like weird beamings. Don't beam together two beats of anything in 4/4 or even 2/2 unless it is ONLY four 8th notes. Having things like in 293 in the Violins is just annoying. There are a few isolated cases of this but they stand out like a sore thumb. Also don't beam over rests unless it is in 6/8 and the rest is in the middle. So things like in bar 300 don't happen. You have this everywhere and it can be confusing on first glance. It might even be better to write four quarters with staccato or marcato markings to eliminate those rests altogether. General cleanliness of expression markings and dynamics were OK but could be better. Align everything together properly. Dynamics should never start on a rest, and make sure you add one for every entrance after even a moderate rest. Split up your trumpet parts into two staves. Three parts on one is too many to be read accurately. When winds and percussion are doubling, the left-hand instrument name should have the active instrument on the page listed, not both doublings, or the conductor can't know at an instant which is actually playing. Also, despite the Piccolo doubling the third flute, always put the Piccolo part above the first two flutes except where the Third Flute has notes on the same page before the switch. I.e. on page 38 that's correct, but on the next page the flute and piccolo should be swapped. With the percussion, indicate the instrument in the left-hand names, not just "Percussion 1 or 2". Instrumentation: 10/10 Great job writing for orchestra! I was very pleased to see that you could handle the instruments properly and idiomatically. Usually I hate including pianos in orchestras because they're so bland in the middle of an orchestral tapestry; often young composers use it as a crutch rather than a member of the group. But you used it only sparingly and to add color, so I'm not taking off points for that. Orchestration: 18/20 Very good. There are some technical issues that should be pointed out, mostly in the brass and percussion. The biggest is don't use the Bass Trombone as a second tuba. I see this in countless works, even of the masters (especially in Tchaikovsky and it drives me up a wall). The Bass Trombone is meant to be the Bass of the trombone section, not a higher tuba. They don't really blend well anyway. If it's just to give the Bass Trombone something to do then either double it at pitch or leave it out. Octaves can work, but only sparingly. The trombone section work best as a trio, not a duo and a bass. It seems counterintuitive because of the overly-emphasized difference between a "Bass" and a "Tenor" trombone. (Seriously, in a score, I just write "Trombone 1, 2, 3". There's no need to distinguish between Tenor and Bass, this is the default and has been for almost 200 years now.) The differences between the Tuba and Bass Trombone are *WAY* more important than between Tenor and Bass Trombones. So please, treat the Trombones as a section. (Sorry, but I'm a trombone player and it is required that I rant about this because so many people don't get it.) In the Horns at bar 137 and beyond I saw a word I had never seen before: "chiuso". After some Googling I found out it means "stopped". Please use a more universal word next time like "stopped" or "muted" (note, they're not the same thing!) or use the little + sign above the stopped note. In the Bass Trombone in bar 175 your glissando is impossible. B-natural is in 7th position (or Trigger 2) and F-natural is 6th position. You can't get a continuous gliss between these two notes. You could from B-flat, but not B-natural. Please revise. In the percussion, rolls are usually notated with tremolo signs in this modern era. Trill signs are an old classical terminology and shouldn't be used unless they mean something different than "unmeasured roll" (they do, for example, in Stravinsky's scores where a tr~~~ on a tambourine means to thumb roll while the three slashes means to shake the tambourine). You didn't need two harps in this piece, so I'm wondering why you included them. They never play two unique parts so having two is just a waste of economics. Also, for the coda, even though this isn't strictly orchestration it does involve the instruments. I'd change the key of the coda to either be C major or B-flat major. B major is a very tough key for brass, esp. in the rousing way you have it written. So unless you have a very specific reason for it (I didn't notice any) then change it. Creativity: 7/10 Here is a difficult category. While this piece is an excellence of crafting, it isn't groundbreaking creatively. And that's ok. There doesn't have to be any miraculous epiphany in every score to make it worthwhile to play or listen to. Most film scores, for example, rarely, if ever, are doing anything groundbreaking, but are a joy to listen to. This piece lies somewhere in the middle. Perhaps adding more unique colors or "wild" moments in the score, rather than keeping it pretty calm and "romantic overture"-esque, would help. Wild dissonance when there is true conflict would be a nice foil to the splendor of the tonal conclusion. Romantic period composers didn't really have that idea in their mindset until the 20th Century. (It's no mistake that some of Strauss' and Mahler's best works are the later ones where the tonality almost breaks down but somehow manages to reappear from the ashes of the destruction.) Also more innovative percussion would be greatly warranted. This doesn't mean inventing new instruments (though you can) but more using unique instruments like wood blocks, or finger cymbals, brake drums, tom-toms, etc. Things not thought of as typically "romantic." Musicality: 19.5/20 Apart from Mr. Knightley's theme, as I mentioned before, you did well keeping the themes distinct. I wish I heard Mr. Churchill's theme alone more, rather than have it so intertwined with Emma's theme, even though the development section does it beautifully. I loved the various tempos changing often and then suddenly going back to where they were just before. Well done. Overall: 90/100 ================================================================================================== NathanHathawayAdams: The Cosmic Savior http://www.youngcomp...-cosmic-savior/ It is clear to me that you have learned how to use "Copy" and "Paste" in Finale. Now you have to learn how to compose without it. Repeating something just because you can is not composing, it's laziness. Source Material: 5/30 I'm giving you grace here because you tried to explain the different "moods" of the character so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. But you didn't go very far at all. If he is a super hero, why not write some heroic music? If there's a struggle, write something dissonant and grueling with the hero's theme overcoming it. Listen to the battle section of "Ein Heldenleben" if you don't know what I mean. Score Preparation: 5/10 Adequate but there's issues. The biggest is you didn't transpose the score. Do so, every time, unless someone specifically asks for a concert score. The header says "untitled", which is unacceptable. In the oboe in bar 17 onward the whole note should be written as two tied half notes to fit with the standard separation of 5/4. The dynamics are generally messy throughout. Instrumentation: 8/10 You did use five instruments and an interesting not-often-used collection of winds. However, they were all winds, and not particularly interesting beyond the soprano sax (which I don't really like as an instrument, but that's beside the point). You should have stuck with the traditional Woodwind quintet of Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon. This would give you more freedom in range and color. Also, bass clarinet is NEVER in Bass Clef; the old German system is kaput (pardon my German). Orchestration: 12/20 You kept everything in range....so that's good, I suppose. You also didn't use the instruments very well. You always kept the bassoon below the bass clarinet and the oboe above the clarinet. Use the extremes of the ranges more and especially cross voices to add color. Make the players work harder too. They're woodwinds so they have a great mount of agility and technical prowess, use it! Creativity: 3/10 I don't know what to say here. There's nothing creative about this piece other than the unique ensemble. Musicality: 5/20 You repeat and then repeat and then repeat again. Boring, boring, boring. There's no mincing words about it. I wanted to pull my hair out by the 10th time I heard that 5/4 "motif" in the bassoon (if you can call it that). It's just amateurish that you don't bother to change things up. And then you just awkwardly diminuendo, which isn't very idiomatic nor very musical. The B section's theme is very harmonically bland; transposing a couple bars up a fifth does not harmonic interest make! Please go back to the drawing board and learn your harmonic music theory. The C section theme was actually ok, but the fragmented exposition sounded just bizarre and turned me off to it immediately. Bar 70 was the best section in the piece despite some awkward voice leading and clashing intervals which could have been easily alleviated, but it just fizzled out and didn't go anywhere so it was ultimately a disappointment. There was no ending to speak of... with that blasted 5/4 coming back again. Please don't make the listener hate an idea and then bring it back. This piece is weak and really should be thrown out and start anew. I'd encourage you to write for piano and/or a less eclectic group. Listen to classical pieces you like and study their scores. Find elements you like and incorporate them into your new pieces. Everyone has to start somewhere and this may be yours. Good luck. Overall: 38/100 ================================================================================================== MaqamDjinn: Realm http://www.youngcomp...sic/2921/realm/ Very nice piece! It was so good that I didn’t want it to end! I was disappointed that there wasn’t more when I got to the end. I thought that was just one larger variation, though this may reveal some structural issues. Source Material: 23/30 The explanation you give sheds some light on how each gem was represented in the music, but it was difficult to distinguish there one variation ended and another began, if at all. It felt like that while you tried to add an arch form, all it felt like was one great intense haul to the end of the piece. So I’d really consider reworking this because you have a lot of good material here. Score Preparation: 8/10 Very good. Do hide staves when they’re not in use, especially the marimba grand staff. This combined with making the score just slightly smaller will make two systems fit on a page making the score easier to read. In the Pianos be a clearer where the pedals come up and down. If it is a sempre pedale then write it as such in an expression marking. Instrumentation: 9/10 Nice choice of instruments! I wouldn’t have used two Marimbas, though. Some other percussion instrument would have been nice, like a vibraphone or some crotales to add color, perhaps the twinkle of the gems! Orchestration: 18/20 Very good throughout. There was a concerning spot at bar 65 onward where everyone is more or less in unison. Having both Marimbas play in octaves is a waste of resources. It would be far easier for them to play just one octave with the two mallets and then have each marimba take a different octave. Like I said above, I would have liked a bit more percussion. Some more use of the low range of the piano would have been nice too but that’s not a biggie. Creativity: 8/10 Your ensemble led to your creative use of the instruments. Likewise, your idea of varying one unified theme as a different colored gem was a good idea. You could have done more with the pianos and marimbas, I think. More creative uses of the instruments such as four mallets or big chordal sections etc., something to break up the texture. Musicality: 17/20 The musicality suffered from a weak structure. Well, really the structure wasn’t weak in and of itself, but for what you were trying to convey. Musically, alone, the piece actually builds quite nicely and develops into an adequate climax, though I would have preferred a more controlled release than just letting things stop. The ending could also use some work. Overall: 83/100 ================================================================================================== muhmuhmuhmusic: Create/Destroy http://www.youngcomp...tedestroy-july/ Source Material: 20/30 It was a smart move to directly include the quote as spoken text. This left no doubt as to what the music was trying to say. Musically you could have done a lot more to focus on the “creation” and “destruction” themes. Really the music is just painting an almost dystopian picture of which the quote just is added on top. So there was clearly inspiration from the original stuff here, but you could have gone further. Score Preparation: 7/10 Pretty good. Be sure to add brackets around the string section. The whole score could have been smaller so you can fit more staves on a page. The stage setup should definitely be on a different page than right under the title. Writing things like “4 mallets” or “2 mallets” in the Marimba part is unnecessary and even offensive to the player. When there’s a four note chord it is obvious that four mallets will be needed. Don’t be Captain Obvious. Instrumentation: 10/10 The most interesting ensemble yet! I really liked your mixing of different types of instruments and including the electric bass. It has a very symphonic-rock feel so this was appropriate. Orchestration: 13/20 Not bad but not great either. You didn’t do anything particularly interesting orchestration-wise other than adding the baritone and electric bass. But that’s been done before. I get that the style doesn’t call for extremes of range or timbre like some other pieces so I gave you some grace there, but you really could have made things more interesting color-wise, especially on the percussion side. Creativity: 8/10 Despite the lackluster execution and musicality (see below) this is actually a pretty creative concept. I like that you attempted to cross styles by adding weird instruments and the baritone. Also the narration was nice. It broke up the piece a bit by turning the monotonous ostinatos into underscore where they’re more appropriate. Musicality: 5/20 This was the big problem. The musicality of the piece has a lot to be desired. For one, you used the same four chords throughout the entire piece, over and over again. This got tiring on the ear pretty quickly. I think a lot of your ideas in the first section, for some reason, didn’t work well on their own, but once I got to the third section after the narration, the first section’s themes came back and they magically worked well. So kudos on that. I don’t know if that was a happy accident or clever planning. The first section was just a bit boring and the constant 8/8 accents got rhythmically boring quickly. This piece really just needs to change things up, and often, because that’s what makes things interesting for the listener. One could even pass this off as a minimalist piece, I suppose, but nothing really changed over time, which is the whole point in minimalism. The baritone I don’t think was necessary. It was an interesting tone color to change things up a bit, but the actually “alleluia” didn’t add much. In fact, I was confused it was in there at all; there was no mention of God or spirituality in the quote, why include a spiritual incantation? (“Alleluia”, the Latinized form of “Hallelujah” translates to “Praise the LORD” in Hebrew.) The ending was also abrupt and really didn’t conclude anything. A nice release from a climax would have been nice, but it kind of just stops. This made it feel very unsatisfying as a listener. Overall: 63/100 ================================================================================================== ad hoc: Song of the Statue http://www.youngcomp...-of-the-statue/ Source Material: 29/30 Like, woah! You captured the essence of the painting very well! I could clearly hear the cavernous space reverberating between the columns. The copious amounts of minor 7th chords really helped emphasize a modal and calm atmosphere. My only issue was the use of so much tuned percussion brought to my mind the ocean and underwater. This may just be my cultural upbringing on this: Score Preparation: 8/10 Very good except for a few dynamics being misaligned or missing here and there. Also, don’t combine Violins I and II. Ever. Instrumentation: 8/10 Nice ensemble! The percussion and strings thing seemed to be popular in this contest, can’t say that I blame people. I would have added more percussion though, at least more varied things like crotales or triangles. Orchestration: 17/20 Fine throughout except for the strings. You treated Violin as the soprano part and the Viola as the alto which is not how the section should be laid out. Traditionally the Violin I part is Soprano, Violin II is Alto, Viola is Tenor, Cello is bass and double basses double the Cello at the octave. This setup would provide a much lusher texture than your currently top-heavy orchestration. The octaves in the bass can really add to that warm feeling which is what I think you were going for. Creativity: 8/10 The clear influence of the French impressionist school notwithstanding, this is a lovely work full of creative little ideas that are unique. The piece itself, on the whole, isn’t that creative but it is those little moments that really make the piece work well. While tons of pieces start soft and slowly blossom, yours did it in a way that was subtly different than others, so you get a high score in this category. Musicality: 17/20 I liked the buildup and cool down arch structure that you made. And, for once, this piece had a decent ending, even if it was nothing more than a quasi-fade out. I was concerned about the lack of harmonic variety but, unlike some other pieces, this was not a copy and paste fest where the same chords were played over and over. This was more of a slowly shifting modal center around C minor which was very nicely executed. Still, I was barely on the brink of modal exhaustion by the end. I wish there was a B section where you went somewhere completely different and then came back to the A section mode with a fresh new light. Also, your melodies, while absolutely exquisite, were not very memorable because you didn’t state them enough. This isn’t necessarily a problem but a choice; you decided to focus on the texture and harmony instead, which were both good. Overall: 87/100 ================================================================================================== maestrowick: Joshua and Caleb http://www.youngcomp...shua-and-caleb/ If this had been just a double concerto with no programmatic intention I probably would have enjoyed it far more. But since you tried to overlay the Biblical story of Joshua and Caleb, I had to listen the piece with that filter in mind. Source Material: 15/30 I couldn't find Joshua in here without you telling me. That's the big problem with this piece. The first section actually was quite akin to the mood of Moses when he was able to see but not live in Israel. But after this lovely darkness I wanted to hear a dramatic Joshua leading the Israelites across the Jordan. Instead I got a silly double concerto with a hoe-down-esque theme. Is this truly you trying to place the Biblical story into the music or did you just add that later because it seemed to fit? (Seemed being the key word here.) I used to do that when I was younger and often got laughed out of the room. No matter how much you try and hide it, inauthentic origins of a piece are easy to spot. I suspect so with this piece. Score Preparation: 5/10 This is average. You did fine with the basic elements. The biggest issue is every instrument is separated onto their own stave when there's no reason for it. Combine all your like instruments together. Likewise, don't do the 1,3; 2,4 thing with the horns. You really have no reason to do it in this piece other than laziness. When writing for solo strings, you don't show the part when they are not playing anything unless this is a concerto-style piece where they have their own separate part and are not considered part of the string section. If they are part of the string section then hide the empty stave and clearly indicate when the section leader should join the group. Your bracket system is all wrong. There should be one large bracket for each section and that's it (except for a single bracket for the Timpani, a weird historical oddity). Likewise, the barlines should not be split between each group of instruments. This makes it far easier for the conductor to read. Often times when I was reading this score I kept mixing up whether I was looking at the bassoons or the horns because the barlines cue the eye as to where they start. You have WAY too many accents everywhere. If you start to put them on every note in a passage they lose meaning. It is far more helpful to write marcato since that's really what you mean. See 210 through 218 to see what I mean. Having so many accents means nothing to the player because an accent is supposed to show where a note that is unusually accented. Your instrument names are consistently incorrect. It should be like this with the full and short names: Piccolo; Picc.; Flutes 1, 2; Fl. 1, 2; Oboes 1, 2; Ob. 1, 2; English Horn; E.H. (or sometimes Eng. Hn.); Clarinets in Bb 1, 2; Cl. 1, 2; Bassoons 1, 2; Bsn. 1, 2; Horns in F 1, 2, 3, 4; Hn. 1, 2, 3, 4; Trumpets in Bb (or C) 1, 2, 3; Tpt. 1, 2, 3; Trombones 1, 2, 3; Trb. 1, 2, 3; Tuba; Tba.; Timpani; Timp.; Percussion; Perc.; Harp; Hp.; Violin I; Vln. I; Violin II; Vln. II; Viola; Vla.; Violoncello; Vlc.; Double Bass; D.B. (or Contrabass; Cb.) You need to specify the percussion instruments on each page, not just use the generic catch-all "percussion" and then let the conductor figure it out. Another maddening thing: Rehearsal marks belong at the BEGINNING of a bar, not the middle! Bar numbers should not be above every clef. Ideally they should be under every bar underneath the bass part. "pizz." and "arco" should be technique text and non-italics. Bar 226 in the harp, the "armonici" is not necessary and the correct symbol is a circle over the notes. Instrumentation: 9/10 Great job writing for orchestra. I would have liked more varied percussion, though. It seemed a bit conservative on that point. Orchestration: 14/20 In your recording you amped up certain instruments to cause an artificial balance. In real life, some of the balance in this piece would be totally askew and the orchestration suffered as a result. First off, your solo violin won't be heard at 20. There are several spots where the brass would be much louder by the score compared to your recording. The most egregious is the entire passage starting at 198. The trumpets and would dominate this texture that the other counterpoint lines wouldn't be heard, which is a shame because there are some good things there. At Bar 126 the violins will probably get covered up depending on how forceful the horns and trombones take to their parts. Also having the bass so overly doubled will make it quite heavy. At bar 171 I'm perplexed why you doubled the bass in the tuba. This will make that line heavy and plodding which isn't the texture here. If you wanted quasi pizz, then just use the real thing by doubling the basses with the cellos pizzicato. That gives body but keeps it light enough not to interfere with the soloist. Bar 226 in the harp, the lower octave descends into an area that is not practical for harmonics. Usually G2 is the lowest harmonics can be produced successfully. I would recommend getting rid of the lower octave completely. At bar 90 the solo violin goes below its range. Mistake? At bar 17, those high Bs in the Horns are going to stick out like a sore thumb. That's just the nature of that tessitura up there. Bar 26 just doesn't make sense. It's not an effective transition and the trombones aren't a great choice for that being so exposed. Bar 52: Vibraslap? Really? Creativity: 7/10 The piece wasn't groundbreaking but I liked how you tried to incorporate the violin and cello as a quasi-double concerto. I wouldn't have expected that for this story, even if it didn't work out so well. It was a clever idea nonetheless. Musicality: 18/20 Truly this piece's saving grace is the craftsmanship you demonstrated musically, harmonically, melodically, and contrapuntally. As a pure piece of music this is actually quite a fun ditty to enjoy. The opening dramatic slow section doesn't make much sense in the "fun ditty" regard but let's just chalk it up to an "Adagio and Allegro" and you're good to go! The hokey hoe-down-esque theme was a bit distracting but I got used to it after a while. I suppose it could be perfectly legitimate if I wasn't thinking of Joshua and his army the whole time. The biggest drawback musically was the ending. You built up to a great climax and then just stopped and went into a slow section. The final orchestral hit seemed out of place too, not really acting like the "button" that it should have. I would have ended loud if that was what you really wanted. A good effort, just not very Joshua and Caleb-y. Overall: 68/100 ================================================================================================== ImperialFlute: Noah and the Ark http://www.youngcomp...-external-link/ I’ll put this as politely as I can. You need to go back to the drawing board and learn the craft of composition. There are technical issues everywhere and musical problems that will haunt you later if you don’t correct them now while you’re young. Source Material: 5/30 I didn’t hear Noah. All I heard was a generic piece of quasi-game music. This story is a very dramatic and daunting one to depict in music; next time pick something more abstract and less program-oriented because you’re not able to produce dramatic music; someday you may be able to (everyone was a beginner once), but right now you don’t have that capability. Score Preparation: 1/10 Noteflight can’t make a proper score. Next time make sure your program can do this. Instrumentation: 3/10 While I applaud your ambition to write for orchestra, you’re not ready for this yet. Orchestras have a long tradition of specific instrumentations that have become standardized; you didn’t follow this, rather you just added what came to your fancy, I’m assuming. You can’t do this if you expect the work to be taken seriously. Orchestration: 10/20 I’m glad you put an effort into it at least! Like above, you need to go back to the drawing board and learn about orchestration before trying to write for orchestra. I made the same mistake when I was younger, writing for orchestra when I wasn’t ready for it, and those early orchestra pieces really sucked! But, after long and hard study, and working with players, Creativity: 4/10 Nothing is here that hasn’t been heard before in a million game scores. It is clear that is where you get your inspiration and that’s not all bad, but you must diversify your listening and broaden your musical acumen in order to become a solid composer. Musicality: 8/20 Same problems elsewhere. The harmony is unchanging and the themes aren’t that well-crafted. However I give you points for trying to change up the key. That was a good move because it made the piece feel like it was going somewhere, even if only artificially. Overall: 31/100 ================================================================================================== Overall Scores, in order of total points: Austenite: 90/100 ad hoc: 87/100 MaqamDjinn: 83/100 John Pax: 81/100 ChristianPerrotta: 79/100 Bachian: 74/100 maestrowick: 68/100 muhmuhmuhmusic: 63/100 theviolinist7: 50/100 joshm222: 41/100 NathanHathawayAdams: 38/100 ImperialFlute: 31/100 ================================================== TOTAL FOR EACH PERSON (out of 300 points): 1. Austenite: 265.2 2. John Pax: 256.7 3. maestrowick: 242.3 MaqamDjinn: 240.5 ad hoc: 240.3 ChristianPerrotta: 227.2 Bachian: 208 muhmuhmuhmusic: 191.1 theviolinist7: 162.9 johnm222: 156 NathanHathawayAdams: 145.2 ImperialFlute: Disqualified. PM is coming for official reasoning behind this. YAY for Austenite FINALLY winning! :D
  28. 5 points
    Orchestral string sections will almost always assume divisi unless explicitly stated otherwise. There are several reasons why, chief amongst them tuning, as a pro band will aim to have every instrument on exactly the same pitch. This is particularly true of harmonics, and they are more difficult to balance in a chord with an open string too. One would only write this as a triple stop in a solo part, and then not expect the player to sustain all three pitches equally, especially at this very quiet dynamic which would not be achievable were this asked for tutti. The reason why the orchestrator wrote for both violin sections to divide by three is to avoid an overbalence of one note (otherwise only one section is divided and the other all play the same pitch) and it is easier to do this than expect two sections to suddenly organise themselves into three in the middle of the music. So you can see it is not worth the negligible difference in tone quality to risk bad tuning, imbalance and lack of control in the section, when a much more balenced tone which is easier to play can be achieved. If an orchestrator doesn't have at least a reasonable knowledge of how to write for strings and how players will perform things they won't be very good at their job. John Williams does his own orchestrations (usually) and historically many film composers such as Korngold, Hermann and Walton too. Also 'writing 80 minutes of music in 6 weeks, and it being decent' should be weighed against the speed at which Mozart and Handel wrote operas, and Shostakovich completing his Fifth Symphony in under two months. These examples are not even accompaniment background music either, but highly original works that have to stand up on their own.
  29. 5 points
    Hi Kahlia, welcome aboard. And lovely name, by the way. Your question is definitely among the more frequently asked ones, so run a search and have a look for some answers that have cropped up over the years, but since I work in media composition for a living I'll offer you some bullet points of my own too so you know what you're getting into. I wrote this as a blog post some time ago, but I'll include it here for you: Learn your tools. Mas­ter them so they’re never in your way, learn their tricks, per­son­al­it­ies, and best practices. Learn to work fast. Then learn to work faster. Make an excel­lent demo reel show­cas­ing a vari­ety of styles. Make an excel­lent web pres­ence to host that demo reel and inform­a­tion about your­self. Make it easy for people to Google you and find your music. Make it easy to listen to and share. Send out 10 emails per day to young dir­ect­ors whose work you admire on You­Tube, to game design­ers whose work you admire, to folks you’ve read about in art­icles, to people you’ve found on for­ums ded­ic­ated to film mak­ing, gam­ing etc. Ten per day. And don’t stop until you start get­ting answers. For every 50 emails you send, you’ll likely get between 5 – 10 responses, of which 3 will be a polite no, one of which will be a “we’ll keep you on file”, and the other which might be a “maybe, let’s talk about it.” While you’re writ­ing so many emails, learn to write well. Be con­cise, affable, pro­fes­sional, and cour­teous. The bet­ter your emails, the more responses you’ll get. Respect your work; just because you’re new doesn’t mean you’re not worth money. You may not be worth $500/minute yet, but you sure are worth some­thing. Find a num­ber and try to get paid for your work, even if only an hon­or­arium. If you teach people that you think your work is worth noth­ing, then don’t be sur­prised when they keep com­ing back expect­ing you to work for free even when they get big­ger budgets. Watch a lot of films, study a lot of film scores, and learn about the pro­cess of mak­ing films. Not your part, theirs. Find out about cine­ma­to­graphy, learn to recog­nize good edit­ing, refine your eye for good dir­ec­tion and good writ­ing. If you can hold a con­ver­sa­tion on their pas­sion with them, you’re already a more attract­ive pro­spect than the ignor­ant com­poser too caught up in his work to real­ize that other people exist and con­trib­ute to a film. Learn to under­stand the con­text within which you’ll be work­ing, in other words. Learn about audio from other per­spect­ives: learn the phys­ics, learn the psy­cho­logy of musical influ­ence, learn the biases of cul­tural iden­tity. Learn about audio formats, about com­pres­sion, about deliv­ery formats, and about the pro­cess of imple­ment­ing music in a project. Learn to man­age your time well. Fig­ure out how many pro­jects you can have on the go at once (if it’s just one then you’re in the wrong line of work), fig­ure out how many minutes of music you can con­sist­ently write per day in vari­ous styles (again, if it’s just one then you’re not going to be par­tic­u­larly com­pet­it­ive), and be dili­gent about stick­ing within the zone of com­fort that allows you to max­im­ize the qual­ity of your work on each pro­ject. But don’t stag­nate: let that com­fort zone expand as you get more experienced. Now, to your education question I give a more direct answer: be careful. A certain sense of self-awareness is necessary to make a good decision here. While others have differing opinions, in my experience of working in the industry, I've never once been asked about my education nor had it brought up as a point of interest for any of my employers. Not a single time. And my degree is not in music, by the way. That doesn't mean you shouldn't spend those three years studying music, but it does mean that if you are a very capable independent learner then you could possibly spend the time better by studying something that will give you more generally applicable skills, or spend it seeking and finding work experience in the industry while polishing your musical chops independently. How you decide to proceed is your call, but be aware that you — like the rest of us — are always behind the game. There's always someone faster, better, more talented, cheaper, etc. so in order to be competitive you really do need to jump into the game as early as you possibly can and work hard. Unless those 3 years are very tangibly benefiting the goal of making you more directly competitive (no one cares if you can analyze harmony in a piece) then you're wasting your time and squandering what potential for success you have. Which is very little, by the way. It's a cut-throat and unsupportive environment where you really do have to be brilliant to make your way; at music, at business, at working with technology, at networking especially... The usual caveats apply here: I'm not trying to discourage you at all, I'm simply saving you some of the coddling bullshit that you may have heard from others; anyone who's told you that writing for film is easier than "real" concert music, anyone who's told you that talent and musical skills are all that matter, etc. My recommendation to you is to find a local course that will welcome you into the very complex world of digital music production (working in a DAW, using sample libraries, synthesizers, etc.) and going from there — the technology side, in other words. THAT is the kind of stuff that can be very daunting to learn without some guidance. If there's nothing local, look into reputable online courses (Berklee, etc.) which offer quality instruction for a good price on your own time, which leaves you open to pursue work in the meantime. Do your best to find yourself an opportunity to actually score a film. It's the fastest way to find out if it's what you expect and really want to do.
  30. 5 points
    I've been given a gift from God. I use it for his Glory.
  31. 5 points
    Oh come on... get real you guys (and gals...). This IS an interesting thread, only that it never came to a conclusion due to silly bickering amongst members... So... a conclusion perhaps, if I may (though others may continue as they please): 1. There IS some good music today, but appear to be: a. Buried underneath loads of garbage floating around today b. Be ignored because it's too good for the audience (and the audience is stupid?!?!?!) c. It missing out because the composer(s) are not doing enough promotion themselves (or their publishers?) 2. There also seems to be a consensus on what needs be done. We should train/educate the audience. We, the composers, or others more fitting than us (but who, I repeat the question which only two replied). 3. There is a disagreement on why we compose music, or rather who we compose music for. There seems to be two camps here: a. We compose music for ourselves, we remain true to ourselves and we do not sell out for the shake of anyone (the audience, the publisher, money, or other). b. We compose to please others and take into account the general publics' opinion!
  32. 5 points
    I like Schumann because of the personal, intimate, and emotional nature of his music. I don't like frogslegs because he's snobbish, arrogant, and an idiot.
  33. 5 points
    I've found that if you dump a viola player just before the premiere of your quartet, you get a very altered mood indeed... I call it relational inversion and I've written a paper about it, if anyone's interested.
  34. 5 points
    Well this is sadly what passes for discussion lately. Why don't others participate and we can get different opinions? Anything is better than the same 4 people going in circles. That'd also be nice, otherwise might as well not even have this section of the site.
  35. 5 points
    ATTENTION: Huge post coming. Close your eyes if you can't take it! I find it interesting that serialism still seems such a hot topic for those "new to it", even though contemporary serialist music is n rare thing. Much of that may have to do with the common misconception Nikolas just cleared up, that "atonal" (or at least not traditionally tonal) music is serial by nature. No doubt though, serialism is an important thing to be aware of even today, for the influence it had on the ("academic") music of the 20th century - and also because many serialist composers were also rather clever minds who wrote things about music that hadn't really been voiced until then and which, IMHO, are still important for a composer to be aware of. First of all, the term serialism: We need to establish what exactly we mean by it, since there are mainly two confliction definitions thereof. In english usage (I'm not sure whether it's generally english or just American) it often refers to all dodecaphonic composition, i.e. music composed with Schönberg's twelve-tone technique or derivations thereof. I'm also not sure if in the english usage of the term it also encompasses other original approaches to 12-tone composition, such as Hauer's method. I believe in french it's used similarly than in english, although I'm not entirely sure. In the german usage of the term (and some other languages which I'm not sure about), "Serialismus" is used strictly to describe methods of composition where "all" parameters of a composition are organised in tone rows, while Schönberg's technique is simply called 12-tone composition or dodecaphony. (By putting "all" in quotation marks I mean that in truth there is no such thing as a fixed "parameter list" in music - you can call whatever you want a "musical parameter", so there's no such thing as "all musical parameters" in an objective sense. But certain things like pitch, rhythm, dynamics etc. are at least very broadly seen as "musical parameters", so that's what I'm talking about here.) This method was mostly developed by certain pupils of Messiaen (who himself had with one work laid out the foundation of this kind of composition), notably Boulez, Stockhausen, to some degree Nono and others. This was in the early 1950s and lasted only rather shortly, in this strict form. (I.e. those same composers already had distanced themselves from this quite a lot by the end of the 1950s, while keeping certain elements of it.) Why am I placing such an importance of the distinction between those usages? Because I've often seen english-speaking people using the term in the english way (i.e. thinking of Schönberg's method), but associating the "control-fetishism", the number-games and the "academic dominance" of the german definition with it, which would be quite a mistake. "Serialism" in the sense of 12-tone composition is a method, which describes certain techniques of controlling certain specific aspects of your piece in a limited way. It is not a fixed aesthetic however and neither describes how the music is going to sound, nor does it postulate a specific musical mindset as a whole. "Serialism" as in the 1950s serialism on the other hand is not a fixed method at all. There is no manifesto that describes a certain technique (well, there's Messiaen's introduction to his "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités", but that's more a "proto-manifesto" that was taking as a common starting point for other composers). In fact, every serialist composer of this form of serialism pretty much invented a new technique with every new piece he or she wrote. It is however much more a general musical mindset: The desire to control all aspects of a composition systematically, and the desire of treating all aspects of the composition by the same principles (i.e. using the same processes for the rhythms as for the pitches etc.), seeing Schönberg's method as faulty in its sole focus on one musical parameter. It is this fundamental idea of a structurally unified music that this form of serialism establishes. In any discussion about serialism, it should be made quite clear about what exactly we're talking about here. Now, as to the questions themselves. The question of purpose is of course, because of the reasons Plutokat mentioned, very hard to answer. But of course there are reasons why Schönberg invented his technique and there are reasons Messiaen's pupils went for their own "doctrine". The latter, I already answered to some degree: The desire to bring all musical parameters together under one single governing idea. Historically speaking, this might be seen as a logical continuation of the Beethoven-Brahms line of motivic treatment, where the composers tried to derive all musical material in a piece from the same motivic core in order to create more unity. 1950s serialism simply takes this to a more abstract level, not using a concrete motivic core as the center of the piece, but a structural idea, from which everything is derived. The idea itself may never be actually audible, but everything -is- related by its childhood to this idea, which should, in theory, lead to an audible sense of unity and structure. (Of course Boulez would kill me if I called this a direct continuation of the Beethoven-Brahms line, hehe.) Another aspect is the distrust in the "composer's intuition". It was a time shortly after WWII and people wanted to make a new start, socially, politically and culturally. Indirectly, it may also have had to do with how the Nazis instrumentalised tonal-traditional music of their time, while banning those who diverged from it. In any case, those 50s composers realized that there was no way of breaking with the past as long as the composers allowed themselves to simply "write intuitively" - as all our intuition is based on what we know, what we've heard, and thus musical tradition. So they thought to get away with that by stepping back to a more abstract level as a composer, a level where the composer would only devise general rules and let them then enfold themselves unhindered according to a certain algorithm. This allows a composer somewhat more to "leave his prejudices behind" and delve into directions where he might never have ended up if he had composed every note "as he saw fit at the moment", allowing them to experience things they would never have experienced otherwise. (Of course it's clear that even this approach was far from being absolutely set apart from musical tradition: Most of this music still uses traditional instruments and instrumental groups, still uses the same forms of notation, and of course the structural rules themselves are still dependent on the composer's "intuition" and thus coloured by tradition.) Schönberg's form of serialism on the other hand came out of necessity after having written freely atonal music for some time. He had realized that without any fixed tonality it was very hard to compose longer pieces without getting lost in musical details, since there was no unifying architecture to cling to. That's why he had in the meantime composed either short pieces, or pieces with texts (songs), where the text helped him to create larger forms. That's why he wanted to systematise his form of composition and ended up with his 12-tone-technique. Now, what exact properties did he want this technique to have? It is true that to some degree the rules of this technique served the purpose of avoiding certain tonal implications. It's not that he didn't like tonality (anyone who has ever listened to -any- Schönberg piece will see that this is clearly not the case), but much more that he was aware of the immense power that tonal implications have for a listener used to classical music, which automatically make the music heard in a very specific context, while making it almost impossible to hear the music outside of this context, making it impossible to hear the sounds merely as sounds, all with their own "colour", equal to each other in importance. That's why his rules lead to an approximately even distribution of pitches etc. - simply to avoid an implied functional context and let the individual sounds of the notes and note-constellations truly come out. In the end, these rules are similar than many classical rules, such as the avoidance of parallel fifths: Those were especially avoided because of their very specific power that makes them stand out in a way that rivals the aspects of music that were supposed to be the actual focus, i.e. in this case polyphony (next to the property of parallel fifths/octaves reducing the audibility of the individual voices, of course). Maybe most musical rules ever devised and broadly used had the purpose of reducing the influence of certain powerful effects that might otherwise "steal the show" so to speak, and distract from the actual musical intentions. As to your second question: The question whether I or others enjoy "listening to serial music" is similar to asking whether people enjoy "looking at photographs": It's simply much too broad to be answered generally. In short: It depends on the person and it depends on the specific piece in question. I do, in any case, enjoy listening to a lot of serial pieces, encompassing both classical 12-tone pieces as well as pieces composed in the 50s vein of serialism. Do I personally write serial music? No, and I've never done so and I quite possibly never will. But I have been heavily influenced by it and learned a lot from it. I do, for instance, sympatise with the idea of the 1950s serialism of basing an entire composition on one core idea (although for me those ideas can be much more "philosophical" and less technical than they used to be in the 50s serialism), and I also sympatise with creating structures that allow me to "leave myself behind" to some degree, i.e. working out processes that lead me to venture into things that are foreign to me, that let me experience things I wouldn't come up with by simply writing note after note without any plan, just following my intuition. I do also sympatise with a generally very planned approach, where I think a lot of what I want with a composition before writing the first note. But I clearly diverge from this form of serialism in a lot of other ways: I have no intention of leaving any traditions behind - actually, consciously playing with such traditions can be a major part of my compositions. I also have no intention of treating every musical parameter according to the same technical processes and frankly, I believe it to be a mistake to believe this is even possible. Dynamics simply are a fundamentally different thing than pitches, and treating them the same does neither of them justice. I also disagree with clearly splitting up the music into a clear set of parameters in the first place. Harmony can turn into timbre, rhythm into pitch, and so on - there are no clear borders there. (Of course I'm not saying the serialist composers weren't aware of that. Stockhausen even wrote a major text about the relationships of pitch and duration. But the core of 1950s serialism still relies on such clear separations.) Last but not least: I do not tend to follow through one single technical algorithm for a whole piece without concessions. I may have some rather firm "rules" and planned structures, but I consciously leave myself the possibility of certain spontaneous decisions, of intuition, etc. (This too was of course done by many of said serialist composers in the late 50s and later, but is a clear contrast to the "original 50s serialism".) "Are the melodies supposed to be so rigid"? It depends on the composer whether there is even supposed to be a melody of some sort. It also depends on the composer whether the music is intended to be "beautiful"/sensual or has an entirely different aim. Schönberg definitely intended his music to be "enjoyed" in a similar way as people tend to listen to Schubert or Debussy. And I have no problem listening to it in the very same manner. For other composers (especially of the later brand of serialism), this is vastly different again - Boulez's "Structures" is certainly supposed to be "rigid" in a way - there aren't supposed to be "nice melodies" in there at all. Pleasure is not the main goal here, although "enjoyment" in a different sense may still very well be. Those different froms of "pleasure", "enjoyment" etc. are very hard to pin down though, since so many things can be meant by them. I'd rather not venture into that as well.
  36. 4 points
    The number of pieces that I have composed after I got my current software (Sibelius 6), i.e in late 2011, a number which coincides with my opus number (since I had started numbering pieces from that time), currently stands at 267. However, before that I used to compose with another software. I have composed somewhere around 50 pieces with that software. There are also various other pieces from an even earlier time, maybe early 1990s, before I had a computer when I used to write by pen and paper, with the help of a keyboard. To be sure, the latter are very simple pieces, often with no instrument in mind (the most abstract you can get in composition). Even the ones of the pre-2011 period generally fall below the quality of the post-2011, i.e. the time when I started to use the new software; a more professional software that I believe succeeded to revive my compositional activity, giving it a new lease of life such that in a little less that 5 years I have composed 267 numbered pieces. However, this big number should not perhaps be given a lot of significance because most of my pieces do not pass the 1 minute mark. And I agree with KJ's advice which I here quote because he put it in the best possible way: "Everyone seems to go at a pace that suits their abilities and composition habits. I don't think you should worry about trying to churn out music at a tightly regulated pace like a factory ... when you've got an entire lifetime to keep working and perfecting your music." It is not about composing regularly or about the number of pieces that one composes. The numbering, like the opus number just helps for organizational purposes as well as letting the audience know where in one's compositional output a given piece is situated. It also provides a way to distinguish a piece from the other pieces in one's output. However, what matters more than the number of pieces is that one's pieces be the outcome of inspiration. I am not an advocate for composing for the sake of composing. And I think that everyone's threshold of perfection differs. Some, perhaps like KJ, are more concerned with improving and perfecting older pieces. Other's like me, are more concerned with composing new pieces. Neither is right or wrong. It just depends on the composer's temperament and their approach to composition, what they compose for, what they seek out of composition, and what they intend to give/achieve through composition.
  37. 4 points
    Right now if you can figure out how to look at all of one member's music though their profile, it is listed in chronological order. If they have been a member for several years, their cruddy first compositions show up first, and their newer, better, more polished submissions are relegated to page two or three. To me, it makes more sense to list everything in reverse chronological order, so that the newest composition is first. I'm not researching Bach's development, I'm checking to see if Thatguy has any new work that I haven't seen, so I want to see the newest pieces first. Just a thought.
  38. 4 points
    I've addressed this problem, but please note that there are two ways to view music. One way is through the directory. Works are ordered by latest upload, then by latest review. Works can also be managed on your user profile (Click on your username at the top right, then "Main Profile"). I've added a date, and sorted works by latest submission.
  39. 4 points
    So, I got to publish some of my works here. There are still much more yet to be published, and there's also a possibility that the local music university publish it. Anyway, they are available here: 1) Sonatinas (three sonatines for solo piano) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1400549306061 2) Prelúdio e Fugas & Tocata-fantasia (preludes and fugues, toccata-fantasy for solo piano) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1400550043092 3) Álbum para oboé (album for the oboe: 6 solos, 2 duets and 1 trio in three movements) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1394210275884 4) Peças e Bagatelas (6 pieces and 6 bagatels for solo piano) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1394209357084 5) Rapsódia Oriental (oriental rhapsody in 2 movements for chamber -group) http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1391725247012 6) Seis Suítes (Six suites for recorder duet) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1389977922761 7) Pequena Suíte Romântica (Little romantic suite for solo piano) - http://www.perse.com.br/novoprojetoperse/WF2_BookDetails.aspx?filesFolder=N1385394481367 I know it's unlikely for you guys to buy it (because it would have to come from Brazil, because the website is in portuguese, because hey! I can see many of these scores here for free!!), but I would like to share this with you all. It is a good step for me, as some people are getting to recognize me as a composer here in my city.^^
  40. 4 points
    Also, the bare-boned review post system (when compared with the forum post system), the broken composer profile link problem and the website's weird multiple-personality disorder of having essentially two main pages (Home and Forum.)
  41. 4 points
    As I have checked these works, I think Austenite's Serenade should be selected, unless it's too difficult for the orchestra. ;) Some of the works should not have been sent, they are not yet even on basic level of quality, though.
  42. 4 points
    I can see what you mean, but i too would advise using the chamber music section. The reason why there is a sub-section for solo keyboard music is that due to its polylinear abilities, the majority of music written for keyboard instruments is unaccompanied. Works for monophonic instruments tend to feature a keyboard accompaniment which it would seem most appropriate to describe as forming a chamber ensemble. Coupled with the fact that, unlike the solo piano, in the concert performance tradition it is rare for a recital not to contain at least some duo repertoire, it would therefore seem appropriate to include unaccompanied works for these instruments in the same chamber music category.
  43. 4 points
    I think some things in a composition can be attributed to a composer's personality. Haydn liked practical jokes and, sure enough, there are plenty of those in his output ranging from the obvious to the very subtle. Bach's religiousity is evident in several features of his compositions, as is Bruckner's and Messian's, manifested in different forms. Puccini's liking for fine living is reflected in the luscious orchestration and expressive vocal writing in his opera. Composers who are also expert performers will demonstrate a particular approach to writing based on their ideas as a soloist. We can't attribute everything to a certain personality trait, indeed there are many aspects of composers' techniques that often seem to contradict their personal characters, but neither can we ignore it. With regards to myself, I see several traits I am aware of in many of my compositions and in the process of writing them. A meticulous approach to some areas (orchestration, interpretative markings) is tempered by a tendancy to rush into an important moment too quickly and to have to go back and flesh out the approach to make it more effective. Another is my vital need for the parts to be interesting for everybody concerned. I can't stand anything cliched or predictable, and so I try never to write a boring, unimaginative, disposible or thoughtless passage for any of my performers. I think a certain intellectualism manifests itself in the amount of counterpoint I try and incorporate into a piece, and also that I like to end works quietly, so the listener is guided towards contemplation about what has been presented and not just made to acknowledge the end. This in turn is tempered by a need for drama and dramatic contrasts.
  44. 4 points
    I just checked, and, as it turns out, Tokke is correct: 59.25834935, not 60, is objectively the perfect tempo.
  45. 4 points
    Debussy described music as 'the imaginary country; that is to say, the one that can't be found on the map'. This comes close to the reason why I feel the need to write; namely to create something that is an object of fantasy, some kind of landscape that does not really exist in a tactile, material form. I believe that music should not ignore the real world, indeed it is sometimes the strongest way of addressing it, but it justifies its existance by being a means of accessing 'another place' which is otherwise hidden, and so to compose is to give others some experience of one's imagined world. There is an element of fantasy in most music, and this seems to be particularly prominant in many of my works along with a need for drama. I have to have the stimulation of some unpredictability, and so this is something I try to put into my music. Nearly as strong is the desire to leave an impression on others and for my listeners to be stimulated and transported by the music (also something I try to achieve in performance). I also believe that creative, useless acts are what makes us special. I suppose I could, more bluntly, say it's because I have an opinion of what music should sound like, and feel the need to express this in some recognisible form (which probably explains why I am drawn to arranging almost as much: I feel I can almost always 'improve' something existing). And I can't imagine not trying to write notes on the page.
  46. 4 points
    Okay, this is getting out and hand; and since all of you sheep are too afraid to step up and demand the unalienable rights this community has been mercilessly robbed of, I will do it. I am talking about the positive/negative post rating feature, which brought so much joy and prosperity for all the years it was allowed to stay. Remember that time when you could give a point to a post you liked, but also minus points to posts you didn't? That was nice wasn't it? Remember how during flame wars you could simply take away points from all posts arguing on the opposing side? I miss that. What am I supposed to do now? Make reasoned counterarguments? Ha. I think not. What about how we could shun useless imbeciles like froglegs? Posts like those discourage lurkers from joining. We have to show these lurkers that no, the community does not approve of such inane rubbish; just look at the accompanying negative points, It is red, the color of bad. Take a look at froglegs' profile. He has a positive reputation. A positive. Reputation. I literally punched my monitor, and I would be right to sue whoever removed this feature for damaging private property. In what kind of sick bizarro world does such a thing even happen? No. Just no.
  47. 4 points
    I dunno. Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, a great majority of composers once the 20th century started and tonality dissolved as a primary (and convenient) means of structural articulation and cohesion(though that arguably happened in the late 19th century but w/e.) Perhaps you've heard of some of them? They wrote some cool stuff.
  48. 4 points
    I have long considered writing some kind of manual suggesting exercises to practice composition. I think being exposed to, and trying out, as much as possible is key - far too many young composers simply imitate one or two favourite composers without bringing anything new, and as a result their work just sounds second-rate and derivative. In general you should try and do exercises that introduce ideas so far unfamiliar to you. For example, writing for untuned percussion forces you to think about using rhythm and timbre as the main variables, rather than harmony or melody. One thing my second-year composition teacher had us do was write pieces that were a maximum of ten seconds in length. This again forced us to focus on devising very small units of material and condensing ideas as far as possible. So, off the top of my head, I would reccomend: - Write for instruments you have little or no knowledge of. This will make you read up on their capabilities but also introduce new sounds. - Write exercises in which a certain parameter is fixed or removed (melody, timbre, note values, etc). This will make you more creative with the other variables. - As above, write very short pieces, maybe a few seconds in duration, for as many sizes of ensemble as possible. How can you use a full orchestra in ten seconds? - Experiment with following historical forms to the letter (serialism, sonata forms, rondo) then write something that deliberately subverts the rules of these forms. - Orchestrate music by others. This will not only help your learn about instruments but give you an intimate knowledge of the work being done. The purpose of these exercises is not to make your music into some kind of eclectic post-modernist grab-all that doesn't have any individualisty, quite the opposite. If you experiment with as many ideas as possible you can decide what you want to use and what to reject. And don't worry if anything you write sounds terrible, because it's just an exercise. No-one cares about student pieces or exercises, they care about the good work that eventually results from doing all of that.
  49. 4 points
    Arfus. First of all, stop creating duplicate threads. Secondly, don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do. Stop asking a bunch of random internet strangers if non-composition-related things are a good idea for you. You have a voice teacher over there. Ask HIM. -Peter
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