Jump to content
Young Composers Music Forum


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


markstyles last won the day on July 14 2016

markstyles had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

15 Good


About markstyles

  • Rank
    Intermediate Composer
  • Birthday 11/24/1948

Profile Information

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

Recent Profile Visitors

2,246 profile views
  1. Island Dreams

    Here's a piece I just finished (I hope).. Called Island Dreams, I hoped to catch the feeling of lightheartedness, and happiness. It started with more of a Reggae beat, But I modified it back to only a hint of Reggae (organ, flutes part) Island Dreams - Island Dreams Score - https://app.box.com/s/rr9sxhn4v9ccx1xhr2gkbzvnkv1g318z
  2. Meaning of instrumental music

    It's a fact, humans perceive the world, the way they "think" it should be.. So when they are confronted with something totally new, they try to find a box to put it into.. Yes, many composers have written things with very specific subjects, feelings, emotions. However the listener will 'color' the music into something he can (or cannot relate too).. Some one might write something trying to emote, loneliness.. A listener might get dis-satisfaction, emptiness, meanlessnes, hopelessness, or even think it is implying an actual physical event took place. The beauty of music is that it can be interpreted many ways.. Some seasoned composers, are more adept, and controlling or steering the listener as to what to feel.. I've found a few pieces in my life, that will make me cry a few tears, or profoundly effect me in some way. (it is some magic combination of the right notes, harmonies, the resonances and selection of instruments to produce it) That to me is the pinnacle of composing when someone can directy steer the listener as to what to feel.. Yes, we all know the tricks of soaring strings, certain harmonies, modal scale, or pounding tympani's, are techniques used to move the people.. (we've been conditioned by so many pieces previously that use the same technique. My pet peeve now is all this video content for cable, web episodes.. and the use of bizarre Kontakt libraries.. and 'new composers' that are generally building orchestral sounding ''Leggo''music taking chunks of music data, riffs, themes etc, and stacking them together. They aren't really scores anymore, just musical wallpaper, extremely dirivitive of something previous. AND like anything else, this has become a field into itself, so it gains it's own validity.. (and who the hell am I to make such a judgement, other than a frustrated unknown composer, still trying to hold on to 'old school methods'. But then out of all that, someone makes a discovery, and the point of current popularity, shifts,
  3. Five Flashes

    deep stuff.. wow.. I get different feelings for each piece/section.. I'd love to hear each piece longer, cause then I'd have something to latch onto. took a few listens to not perceive it as one piece. However, I understand many of your pieces are explorations of a concept, emotion, technique. AND i can totally appreciate that. Your posts are more often 'food for thought for the rest of us here'.
  4. V.D. - Unclear Destiny

    Hi Vadrif: I can certainly appreciate the amount of work you put into this.. As always Monarcheon, hits the nail squarely on the head.. What I'm gonna propose here, may sound off the wall on first reading. but bear with me. A while I composed an extensively long piece call 'Treatise On the Walls'. It is posted on this site This was based on Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In the Wall'.. then I just kept expanding on it. It really is a challenge to write a long piece, have it interesting, cover a lot of territory, but have some continuity. Part of the process I used in composing, but more so refining after the original writing sessions was 'binge watching' some great TV series on Amazon Prime I watched several shows consisting of 3 - 5 seasons.. The eye opener for me, was a miniseries on 'The Unabomber'. The guy who was mailing bombs in the 90's.. The FBI had recently started using a 'behavioral analysis unit'.. This is the science of figuring out the 'back history' of someone, by the evidence. Of getting psychologic with it. They totally developed the science of studying linguistics (how a person wrote or spoke).. to determine the exact geography and age of the Unabomber.. They made 'profiles' based on the bombers activities. I then watched 5 seasons of 'The Wire'.. One of or perhaps the best piece of TV writing ever made.. What intrigued me was the ability to carry a premise and situation thru 5 long years of TV.. Their success depended on extremely great writing, great actors, great casting. I looked to find analogies in long piece of music.. So this is a method I developed. I somewhat embarrassed to admit here, I know practically nil about classical music, especially symphonies. I'm sure there is a good deal of 'methodology' used. Watching the TV shows - I boiled it down to: 1. There are characters (which would be the different instruments used in your piece) 2. The casting is the choice of instruments used to generate the melodic, harmonic parts. 3. The script - is when you introduce new situations, and know when to circle back to a basic premise, for continuity and stability (Know when to bring the main, auxilary motifs again. When to plainly restate it, when to mutate it a bit. So I generated some musical parts. then I stepped back and did 'behavioral analysis' on the different parts, motifs, sounds etc I had so far created, and then worked on enlarging and lengthening the piece So I would very carefully select a 'sound palette' (choice of instruments to be used). I deal with a lot of esoteric sound libraries, and I look for the emotional qualities of the patch, or instrument itself. I then craft the musical statements it will sound, depending on the emotion quality of the sound itself. I began to see, the different parts of the piece, served a specific function, I could repeat that, or modify it (changing to keep interest and motivation) A big part of my process was too listen to what I had done - INCESSANTLY.. Put the music on loop, with a notebook and pen.. keep taking notes. I would play it all nite, while sleeping. wake up in the morning with a mental list of issues to address. Believe you hit the point on the 100th listen where a certain part 'has got to go'.. It's may be striking at first. but it doesn't 't hold up.. Good music to me, holds up to countless repeated listenings. I love many artists, and still listen to their work 50 years later, because it has 'staying power'. (I'm old) Your pieces have strong emotional content, which I like very much.. I like some of your other pieces. I did get the work behind what you put into this piece I know what I'm proposing here may sound off the wall to some, but in a certain way, music is an analogy of an aspect of life.. Hope this gives you something to think about.... Mark
  5. Celestial

    Nice work, DeL... Monarcheon's comments are very astute.. You might give some thought to some measures of 5/4, 6/4, etc. Since the music is beatless, the occasional odd time signature, would not be readily apparent, yet will also add to 'floating' quality of the music greatly.. I occasionally do pieces in this style. I have found that if you add additional parts in other time signatures. (parts of bass part is written in 6/4 phrases, chords mostly 4/4 with occasional 5/4, 6/4. little riffs, 12/8. you get this wonderful floating quality, For lack of a better term, the piece sort of goes, in/out of focus, when the different time signatures, all hit beat 1 at the proper cycles.. It's subtle, but 'opens' the piece up..
  6. Chopsticks

    Quite lovely.. a little bit more variation in right hand 1/8th notes.. A melody would be nice, but then you couldn't perform it the way it is now, without changing up the right hand.. Really sets a comforting feeling, like the desending line..
  7. I think it's worth developing.. The great thing about computers, is you can add/change/cut/modify.. and always go back to something previous.. When I work, I constantly save versions, and make a fast 2 track reference mix.. I try various ideas.. some are good, some sound like garbage the next day.. Often I find one instrument from version 10 and a 2nd instrument,from version 15.. should be added together, and i cut something else out.. Sometimes I just work on an idea and shelve it, for awhile and come back to it later, and inspiration strikes as to what I should do to get it into shape.
  8. Complete or improvise?

    Piece starts out great.. You should definitely develop it more.. You've got a lot of low end, sounds a bit muddy.. You build the piece up.. and then it stays there and then ends too quickly. I suggest you might try fading the tom sound back down.. letting the fuzz guitar ring out for a bit.. and then you can start with something new/different coming it.. also go back to that opening riff you got going..
  9. RPG Village Theme

    Very nice... the picture is perfect with the music.. a sense of Xmas too.. I'd say you did an excellent job of filling the criteria..
  10. The Choice

    Hi GiantsGiants I agree with Gustav.... Certainly length and make a smoother outro.. It could use some further melodic development.. When working on a song, especially if a different genre than I usually do.. I use one of the most valuable internet tools.. YouTube.. Search out other music, similar to what you are doing or what you want to do.. I write out very detailed analysis.. I use graph paper for each instrument, and have developed a kind of 'shorthand notation for it.. often using different colored felt tip pens, to notate, differences.. symbols, squiggly lines.. I draw each track out (as best as I can determine from listening.. how/when each instrument comes in, does it loop around?. are there variations in the loop. This will give you a guide line for your own work.. You can use the outline you made from the studied piece, and substitute your own musical motifs, etc.. Take note of the different kinds of sounds used, how many are there.. analyze different pieces.. how long does it keep your interest.. There can be ambient music, which is quite fulfilling, then there can be what I call 'audio wall paper'.. and for some situations, 'audio wall paper does the job.. It is there, fulfills a certain need, but does not draw your attention away from other things. (visuals happening, a narrator, etc).. AND you are off to a decent start... Start to be aware of 'patterns' in music.. rhythmical, sound families, certain types of pad sounds, percussion. gentle orchestral percussion, can add a lot.. cymbal rolls, small exotic instruments, 4 bars on/off of a maraca, or seed gourd type instrument.. The possibilities are endless. Happy hunting, and composing..
  11. Immunity to Dissonance

    Yes, I totally agree with you Luis. Also brief dissonances are important to create the opportunity for 'resolution'.. very satisfying., The dissonances kind of fall into the background and instead we are presented with an emotional mood, (perfect to set a film scene) Here I imagine a half eaten meal on a perfectly set table.. some one knocked the wind glass over, it makes a small concise stream across the table cloth, and down the side.. The place of food is cracked and slightly separated.. a small amount of food has been knocked off the plate... and the front door is open.. That is the scene I see in my mind.. Becoming immune to dissonance does seem to be an occurrence our brain adjusts too.. I quite like adding a dissonant note an octave or two above.. I also vary the duration, and velocity of the dissonant note. or advance it forward in time so it becomes a 'smudge'. I think our brain 'automatically' smooths some of these things out. I had an accomplished jazz pianist, who liked to do this, he called them 'artifacts' of the music.. Very good example of your premise...
  12. The October Sky

    Here's a piece I did 3 years ago.. Exploring EZ listening, trying to sooth ravaged nervous system, which seems to be so common, as we age, and still try to take the world seriously. I built a sound palette using 'comfort food' sounds.. This way the song was already half way there. I've been interested in the psychological impact of the sound of particular instruments.. I started with the premise there were several instruments in the conversation, each with a similar attitude, but slightly different point to add (specific motifs for each).. Like an accordion, can sound corny, but it also can sound very comforting, remind you of your ethnic background (if that fits, being 1/2 Italian yes).. It will also automatically draw up feelings of nostalgia, if the right melody, and modal scales are used.. The epiano, along with its chords, draws in a relaxed atmosphere.. (some Mike McDonald, Dooby Brothers easy pieces).. I threw in some jazz electric guitar soloing, to make is sound 'sophisticated?'.. The flute of course always conjures up a certain frame of mind.. The mellow sax, furthers the relaxed state of mind.. There is a fair amount of dialog between the different instruments, almost makes it feel like a 'town meeting', between instruments, regionality of instruments home land.. The sax and jazz guitar double at the end, letting the listener know the instruments are in complete agreement in their conversation.. The mellow brass, and simple high strings, set the framework for the whole conversation. During this period (and still to the present), I most often start with a chord progression, experimenting a fair amount, with substitutions, sine waving with simple to complex chords, coming back down, Playing with pacing of chord changes, to further vary the dialog.. Then I often just 'jam' with different instrument sounds, till I get an instrument actually making some kind of statement. When I start to get a couple of musical instrument statements, I begin the process of actually having them 'dialog' with each other.. I know some here don't appreciate the large number of instruments/sounds I sometimes use.. But it seems an area of exploration, I must work my way thru.. I do truly admire those who get a point across with a minimum of instruments.. but I feel obliged to experiment in the area. As piece comes together, I sometimes have to go back and delicately alter chord progression, because of new chords implied by specific notes of a melodic motif.. So for me, the process of composing is much like having a woman's complex dress (with many different panels and colors) sitting on a dress form.. I am constantly going here, letting something out, tucking in another area.. taking one panel out, and replacing with two different colored panels, filling the same shape. Another way of looking at it, is 'creating' a cross-word puzzle'. You start with a couple of nice big complex words, then you have to fill in the rest of the puzzle with words, that will fit. I have recently been 'binge watching' video on Amazon Prime.. I recently finished two series, 'The Wire' and 'Falling Skies'.. Each one was five seasons long.. They both gave me insight into how they could continue a story line, over such a long period.. In both series, both shows, killed off some actors, introduced new ones, in each succeeding season.. A pattern I clearly see in my life at the age of 68 now.. Life is a series of chapters, (like the seasons of a TV show). Each season, or chapter in our lives, has a central focus.. Some issues get resolved, others carry on for part, some or all of our narration. Some characters, carry through several or most chapters.. In one's one life, if we are lucky we get to have a significant person, (mate, best friend) be there for the whole show.. Other people are involved for a certain amount of time.. This works perfectly with a long piece of music. I am intrigued by the possibllities of certain instruments, being particularly actors, carrying the story line forward, the plot twists and turns, to keep interest alive.. but fundamental issues, carry through the whole story. In both series, and from what I've noticed in the patterns of life, some characters, resolve their conflicts, yet others still remain almost the same, in spite of everything that has happened to them.. Some get the lesson, and adapt, others do not, and are doomed to repeat the same cycle.
  13. The Dying Ode of Ragnar Lothbrok

    I quit playing in bands when 30,, and did most music parts myself.. But it is always great to find other instrument players, singers, because it greatly adds to the music.. I constantly put it out there. Check out bulletin boards in music colleges, have a card with links to music.. It is possible to find singers who have some knowledge and want to improve their skills.. I offer to give them valuable insight into recording voice (pretty different than singing live).. I have come across some great players, who I bartered services with.. I did demos for them in return for them singing on my pieces.. And the truth is, with each musician/vocalist, you can learn a lot too... The beauty of music is that it can be approached from so many dirrections, with people of varying degrees of knowledge.. I've met some incredible musicians totally self taught.. But also a good working knowledge of music is very helpful at being efficient in creating music.. Creating music is a great way to socialize.. good luck in your endeavors
  14. The Dying Ode of Ragnar Lothbrok

    Nice work.. The human voice is perhaps ...the most complex musical instrument in existence. A really well trained singer, can introduce color in/out at will.. fade vibratos in/out, and control the speed of the vibrato (most singers only have one speed of vibrato.. This level of control, can greatly enhance your composition.. Of course singers of that calibre, are going to want a fair amount of $$$ to sing for you.. Never cared much for vocal libraries, way too static.. but it's what most of us must defer do, because of recording cost, accommodation of several singers. I had one excellent untrained singer,, I often had to rewrite lyrics/melody to get the best performance out of him.. That is an important aspect a composer must take into account.. You obviously want to make the singer sound the best he can be.. Yes, learning all you can about the human voice as an instrument, can only benefit your compositional process. Years ago, I had a singer friend, who was singing in Bernstein's 'Mass".. He was having vocal node problems, and was going to resign, cause he couldn't perform his part the way it was written.. Leonard Bernstein, was gracious enough to rewrite his part, so that he could sing it, and stay in the company.. Now thats the sign of a great composer.. Keep up the good work
  15. Through the window

    I think it's more than a 'little piano piece'.. It is quite heartfelt, and has ' a soul' in it's performance.. Love your use of tempo changes.. Ending on one note, very smart.. Excellent.. we want to hear more.. very inspired..