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Young Composers Music Forum


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markstyles last won the day on October 29

markstyles had the most liked content!

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21 Excellent


About markstyles

  • Rank
    Intermediate Composer
  • Birthday 11/24/1948

Profile Information

  • Biography
    Been playing music since the age of 10, writing music since 12.. I took 'church music' lessons for a couple of years, then studied privately for 6 years. But most of my knowledge is self taught, reading, studying, on my own.. My greatest teachers were 16 track recorders from the 70's on. Then jumped on the DAW bandwagon, as soon as they came out. Worked for a few of those software companies.. I took Berklee online music courses. (concise, modular, and expensive). Songwriting, arranging, techniques for various popular styles.

    My experience had always been 3 minute pop tunes, In the last several years, I've aimed at larger ensembles, (using a lot of Virtual instrument synths, Kontakt, and UVI libraries). I inject a fair amount of synth instruments, which don't necessary have any organic instrument equivalent. The Beatles, and Brian Wilson have inspired me a lot. And as I've aged and with the internet, I've searched a wide variety of musical styles, learning what I can from various genres.
  • Gender
  • Location
    New York, NY
  • Occupation
  • Interests
    photography, art
  • Favorite Composers
    Lennon-McCartney, Brian Wilson. Bach
  • My Compositional Styles
    easy listening, quasi pop
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Logic Pro
  • Instruments Played
    kbds, computer

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  1. irises - electric guitar baroque trio

    Some excellent guitar work, choice of chords. almost like 'modern baroque'. Starts/stops - great.. Yes I LIKE this.
  2. Maja (Bowed Guitar Solo)

    I agree with Monarcheon. but I really admire you using alternate tuning, and a bow.. This certainly deserves more exploration.. There have been some guitarists who use different guitar string tunings, (and then have to modify their playing techniques), but it can create something unique.. There was a device in the 60's or 70's called the 'Ebow'.. It was this small thing the guitarist held in their hand (not sure if it was a spinning wheel or what).. But it would give you a bowling technique, great for the guitarist to make these kind of atmospheric pads.. But the bow, never ran out, The string/strings would continuously resonate, as you moved it over the strings. Great avenue to pursue..
  3. New sound: Delicious Grace

    I really liked the guitar solo work..and the ending, Out of tuneness, is one the issues the human ear is least tolerant of.. Sometimes, altering the mix in the singers headphones can help.. When I have run into a singer with intonation problems, I have them sing softer.. (some untrained singers go flat when they try to sing louder). I will then have them try to make the words as staccato as possible (don't hold vowels out too long).. Some songs can work, others not so much.. When I get into session with a singer, and limited time, or knowing they can't come back, (or just won't get it right).. I rewrite the lyrics and melody on the spot. When writing a song, you want to bring out the best of each musician, if you know the particularities of each person's playing, what they're strong at, what they weak at, build up the strong, lesson the weak. If the singer can't get it into tune, I try to end the session, not hurting their feelings, and replacing them.. Of course if he is a member of your band, or co-writer you have a real problem.. But flat singing kills the song.. You could go the autotune or melodyne route, but I hate the artificially, and I think it would also hurt the quality of what you have written, because the auto tune would be so apparent. One of the greatest teachers you can have, is your own recording set-up.. Be it just a laptop. Recording something, and playing it back, at a moderate volume, can really make you realize what is going on. I often buy my DAW into record, loop, mute track, record new track, and do as many takes as I need.. I listen later, when I'm more objective. Because when you are creating something you are usually subjective.. You don't want to destroy the creative flow.. You can comp together very decent performances by taking sections from different takes. If music is what you are really into, (and you wouldn't be here otherwise), you have to get the rudiments of a lot of things down.. Proper recording technique, engineering, performance, etc, etc. Of course each of these areas can be a full-time occupation.. But just keep doing it, and you learn.. The guitar work, and piano playing are very good.. The section of guitar and piano interplay DOES REALLY stand out quite excellent. Perhaps if you started out with some of that, and then went into the fuller playing. .. you might try to up play that more. Also if the drummer played a little more like later like Ringo Star's work.. more fills, less full on rock drumming; it would let the excellent piano and guitar shine thru.. You do have some very good ideas here. I realize you said this is old, and limited time etc. so maybe I'm overanalyzing it. Waiting to hear some more music.
  4. Here is a treatment of The Long and Winding Road by the Beatles. I took some liberties with Paul's Riffs, just to make the song build more. I extended with some solos. Tried Ringo like drum fills, most of the time, just a kick drum going. Making the drums sparser, leaves so much more room for other parts to get some attention. I listened to the original quite a few times, I wanted to get the ideas, feel and phrases of original, but modify them so as not to be so literal to the original version.. This version has a slight classical and jazz feeling I guess.
  5. Waves

    Klaviam - this is EXCELLENT.. So you've been writing songs for a year, how long have you been playing? The composition, arrangement, production are all spot on.. Very impressive
  6. Are These Feelings Even Real?

    Quite nice. I'm not familiar with Nubaje's music.. I might suggest a longer chord progression, or a second set of chords to go to. But what you have here is very nice. and you do capture a 'chill' feeling very well.
  7. I wish you were mine

    Hi. agree with Sepharite. When I work on a certain type of composition, Youtube is my main research tool. I listen to a lot of material, take some notes, on various factors of the pieces that I might get inspiration, and save the link for reference as I work on the piece. Yeah, definitely some different sections. Then when I think I'm finished, I play it an almost infinite number of times, with a notepad.. I write down notes and ideas, Prince had a technique which I follow too.. Since it is only you, performing the tracks. you have to get out of your guitar player's mentality, to play the drums. etc.. Prince would lay down some basic tracks, then go back, and re-do the keyboard, which meant re-doing the keyboards, and then the bass, and drums, then he'd circle around again and re-do the guitar, etc. After multiple re-doing of tracks, the piece was sometimes significantly different, and better. I had a manager once, and his advice to me, was to write, record the piece, then through away the weakest 90%, and then do that two times more.. I didn't always go that far. But it certainly made the song grow and evolve.. Like you have a few sections where the guitar stands out, You could adjust the drumming and rhythm to make that stand out. The lead guitar is good. I'm guessing it's a drum loop.. If you can get one of the virtual drum programs, Superior Drums, EZ drums, etc. They consist of a lot of one, bar phrases. variations, rolls, fills, etc. You can stack these together in the program itself or drag the one bar phrases into your DAW.. It's a bit tedious at first. But it really gives a great drum track.
  8. Celesta Jazz

    I like the use of celeste instead of vibes, (which one would have expected). The interaction of celeste and bass is very interesting in some places.. Nice work.
  9. Rain & Trees

    Yes, this is very nice. I LOVE how you incorporated sound design with the music.. I notice that happening on some of the new exciting TV shows.. It's also something I have been experimenting.. All sound, can be considered a 'musical instrument'.. A forest is almost a symphony in itself.. By using sound design, you are able to get the listener to experience emotional states, not possible with musical instruments.
  10. Blue Dot - Film Experiment

    Yes different people have 'noises' in their speaking.. some make 'clicking' noises, others suck in air too loudly, or more disturbing.. use pitch too often in their words, that becomes distracting in itself. You can try stripping the breathing out, sometimes, automating the volume to lower, but not completely, seems more natural.. Carl, is so consistent in his sucking in air before he starts a sentence, it become too noticeable and somewhat irritating.. When using previously recorded speech you are at the mercy of the recording, although there is some software, good at cleaning up vocal tracks.. The music works well with the narration..
  11. Charlie Chaplin Speech from 'The Dictator"

    Yes, the music works very well with the narration. Sometimes instrumental music, benefits the human voice, whether singing or speaking.. It is a nice area to work in.. What a speech, amazing. Well done
  12. While I don't generally listen to experimental music.. I do occasionally, and write it every once in a great while.. To me, it's something I appreciate, to 'cleanse my palette. It is also fun, to ignore all the music rules, and conditioning most of us have been infused with.. It is also an area, where a composer can create his own rules.. If they continue this path, they create their own grammar and syntax to use.. Part of it's appeal is it is different, and the conception someone breaks the rules. something some composers and some listener can appreciate or go out of their way to discover. The first synthesizers, were collections of electronic circuits, used for scientific projects, LFO', VCO's, Sine waves, VCA's etc.. So some of the first electronic pieces, were more often done by engineers, a collection of sounds, and processes. Many of these men, were not musicians per say. (some were).. Commercial synths, MOOG, and ARP, put all these separate modules into a box, with a patching system to connect things.. Other than Walter/Wendy Carlos, (who made the first commercially successful record of synths playing Bach);. Electronic music was largely blips, and beeps.. very experimental.. weird, off-putting, and also 'enticing' to some. Also experimental music can sound 'chaotic', because it ignores most harmonic, and music process our ears have become conditioned to appreciate. It's something some can appreciate as our world seems to become more chaotic.. Frank Zappa, had a wide variety of musical influences as a child and young man.. Some well known (in their circles) experimental composers, as well as classical and jazz. Although his first music was more rock.. He advanced towards more experimental and chaotic compositions, once he acquired one of the first Synclaviers (a synthesizer or even 'workstation').. It made first class, out of this world sounds.. As his music became more experimental (and to me chaotic) his audience changed.
  13. Age of Wisdom

    Here is my latest piece. I used two drum tracks, trying to emulate Ringo's drumming, more fills, less steady rock drumming. I made the piece migrate into chaos at the end, I've felt like experimenting with more atonality lately, but not willing to totally jump into at the beginning.
  14. School assignment

    This forces you to create a piece in a manner different from your usual process. Great idea.. Like grammar school, creating an outline without actually putting the fine points in. I often write something musical with a lot of small parts, jams, ideas etc. Then step back, and try to organize it flesh it out into something that sounds like it makes sense.. Even in writing, I could never use an outline, it stopped all creativity.. Instead I wrote out individual sentences, cut them up, and then organized them into an intelligent order. Finding where I was repeating myself with idea, just slightly different words. Started to realize doing the same thing musically once I started using the orchestral scoring function in my DAW. I, like many others, start with a small musical seed, then build it up into something functional.. I met a famous choreographer, and asked him how he accomplished his pieces.. He started with an idea of what he wanted to convey, where he would start, and where he would end, Filled in a few stopping points. then the details to get from one point to the other. All of this before he even started to think of movements and combinations of movements. So the piece was complete (in a way) before he even chose the dancers. I've been drawing analogies to creating music by binge watching TV series on Amazon Prime.. The shows with long story arcs (that spread out over a whole season, or several episodes really interested me. Noticing how a concept is stretched out over time.. How certain characters carry the piece thru a 5 - 7 year stretch, how individual actors, are only in for one episode or have re-occuring roles, (once every 2 - 4 episodes). or in for 2 seasons, then gone. This brought in a feeling of familiarity, but also of freshness, because when they came in, had some kind of experience, and then were missing for a few episodes and came back.. I welcomed them.. Much like you might decide to use a certain motif here and there, repeated by a different instrument, in a different register, the same movement of notes (1-2-5-4 repeated but shifted up to the next harmony, or even the shape of notes up to 3-4-8-7). Because the notes are different, it might note register with the brain, but another part of the brain, realizes the same relationship of notes) You can cultivate your own version of this, even before you even write one riff, or melodic phrase.. Yes, it's rather hard (or seemingly impossible at first).. But this will force you to accomplish your goal (whole piece) faster, without having to waste time, exploring all your options. I'm quite the Beatles fan, and read everything I could about them. Lennon and McCartney were always under deadlines to write something, The song 'All You Need Is Love' was the first world live broadcast, reaching something like 75 million people world wide.. Lennon wrote it a few days before it was to be performed.. He was told, it was to be live, had to be positive, and simple so that people would 'get it immediately'.. "LOVE" had always been the message in many Beatles songs, so he stuck to that, made the chorus, simple, so that someone hearing it for the very first time, could start singing along with song, before halfway thru the first chorus.. I think the challenge you are presented with, is a great one.. Please keep this thread active, posting what you have done.. It will be interesting to follow.. I'm going to set this up as a challenge to myself to do. Good luck, I know you are going to come up with something good.
  15. Nocturno en Sol menor

    This is great. Loved the constant one bar chords, and thank you for writing the chords on top.. Once again you show depth, and knowledge, while the piece appears deceivingly less complex. Although the arpeggiated left hand does really keep things moving.. Tempo changes effective,