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Young Composers Music Forum


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markstyles last won the day on July 14 2016

markstyles had the most liked content!

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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

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  1. The song is vey good.. strong melody. As a piano/voice version it stands.. Monarcheon's comments about some different piano, could make it stronger. I know musical's (music) is judged differently from other fuller arranged material.. I think fleshed out with some other instrument/parts would really take it over the talk.. (but I understand the budget's of musicals), the scope they can afford to be.. Still, it is well written, melody, lyrics, chords..
  2. Soaring the Winds/Working on guitar solos

    You cover a lot of good ground in the improvisation.. very nice.. Lately when I put a solo on something.. I auto record/mute/create new track/loop Do a handful of passes, sometimes the whole length of song, even if using in a particular section.. I've never really quite got where one's brain goes (or at least mine) when soloing..
  3. Me And My Baby

    Here's a song I did wth a singer, Seven Moshod. It's RnB, pop, soul I guess you'd call it.. Unlike me, Seven ad-libs constantly, never sings something the same way twice.. I used to be like that, now I feel so constrained, and controlling in creating music.. This I did more ad-libbing, more like my early days of creating music, or when being in a band.. Sometimes the idea of 4 or 5 other guys, just going where they wanted frustrated me (yes, I am a control freak).. But in looking back, it's great to hear music where all the notes came from one mind.. That shows work, attention, inspiration, and discipline. But the other side of the coin is there is NOTHING like 4 or 5 minds focused, in tune with each other emotionally and creating something in real time. where another player picks up on an idea instantly and falls in line with it, or builds something to support that idea. The great thing with the singer Seven, was his constant changing, inspired me to do the same.. So this is more 'live', and not practiced in a way.. I puposely played the piano solo, envisioning the kbd player with a cigarette hanging out of his lips, so once or twice, he loses focus, when concentrating on the fire stick hanging out of his mouth. Sorry, no score.
  4. V.D. - Voyager's Tale

    Your music displays some strong energies. My first emotional reaction to it is, unleashing some strong feelings, some rage - starting to be tempered and focused (well it is is focused). The sound is a bit muddy.. (might be your monitoring set-up, low frequency standing waves floating around your studio, forcing you to EQ differently.. The harpsichord cloud sound coming in at 25 seconds could be louder.. Or just lower the kick at beginning. After a few listenings, (it takes me that to adjust to the intenseness) I quite like what you're doing, and the way this and other pieces sound when you write.. Very dark,, I could almost hear some death metal singing. (where you suck in air thru your mouth when you sing/shout).. I especially like your description of what you are doing.. because it makes the piece make more sense.. KEEP IT UP.. Although you like dark intense sounds, perhaps see if you can find more definition in the in the different sounds. So there is a bit of variation. That is my take on it.. It's your choice however to define your sound..
  5. Learning Violin in order to improve composition?

    There is a whole generation of composers now, who don't play instruments.. I certainly think study of the families of instruments, knowing what the average, above average string player can do is good.. So is learning to play the instrument.. I do pop music.. When I was a teenager. (1960'sI learnt bass guitar, guitar, kids, drums, even a few other assorted instruments. I learned each instrument, well enough to play the part I needed (or at least to make a decent 'sketch' to show the band.. With the advancement in samples, libraries, building block libraries with riffs included. There are many paths to take.. A lot of libraries won't play parts that real instruments can't do.. (out of range, to fast for a slow attack instrument, etc.) There are places where you can research if a part you write is actually playable.. (sorry forget the site). Certainly some here can answer that.. I had a cello player friend.. and I would often play him things, I'd done with cello or string libraries, and he would comment what could and couldn't be done.. Obviously one does not have the time to be a 'Master' of all things related to music.. Each aspect is in itself a full time job.. If you can afford and like the string lessons, go for it.. It will give you a better understanding, and you might have fun and get a lot of satisfaction.
  6. I am not a 'musical analyst, I know little about classical music.. I brave it out in the 'pop section. Yet I venture into other forums, and when I have something to say. I point it out. It lies more along the technical aspect, or mix/arrangement of piece. or the emotion it evokes in me.. Whether these are a help to the author, I don't know.. although occasionally I get a nod. Other pieces of music are certainly not my cup of tea.. So I find it hard to comment.. I did go to Art School for several years, and learnt the 'art of critique'.. That is basically to NEVER attack the person, for lack of skills, or questionable taste.. But to point out something that really worked for you, and then point out a section, or idea, with 'did you consider'.. or IMHO. It would be helpful for all of us to get more comments.. But I can hardly comment on compositional structure, when the composer has obviously spend several years studying this.. And most of my knowledge is 'self taught or self learned'. Still the beauty of music, is that it can be approached and created a number of different ways.. Also there is the unwritten rule, concsistanly comment on some ones contributions, and hopefully they will comment on yours.. I have found that to be the case.. I love this site, because it is adult, and people there are serious about their work.. It does not have a bunch of 'boys with toys', hitting the demo buttons on their keyboards, modifying one sound and calling it theirs.. There are some folks here obviously new to this, but they are coming to it with a somewhat different approach.. I truly applaud that.. And I also totally appreciate someone who has a working understanding of harmony, melody, counterpoint, etc. One doesn't have to give a long, 'intelligent' summary of something.. just saying what they got out of it, is a help.. If you can p point to something specific all the better..
  7. Compose longer pieces

    While I don’t compose classical type music.. I too was working at longer pieces, without endless repetitions, and mindless, variations and transposes. I took a subscription out to Amazon Prime.. They have a very large video content.. Series that are 3 - 7 seasons long.. I’ve seen a few that are quite excellent. Then the analogy of long pieces of music to long video, mini-series.. etc.. hit me.. The successful TV series had a number of factors that made them work. You have a plot, an arc of the story line, which itself grows and rises over several seasons. Sub-plots which would get resolved in an issue, or span several episodes or even a whole season. You primary cast of characters, which carried the plot forward Re-occuring roles, to bring familiarity and grounding to the story line. One off characters, good for a certain experience, and then gone.. episodes, of humor, tragedy, resolvement, suspense cliff hanging.. ominous activity that takes a time too surface. For instance 'The Wire', called by some as one of the greatest example to TV writing, employs quite a few powerful, obvious, and not so obvious devices. One was Changing locations from season to season and points of view for that season. This allowed it to go on for 5 spellbinding seasons, without endless repetition. The analogy for music … So another section of music could consist of your main hero’s sound,, but supporting instruments might be more varied.. More brass in one section.. The point of course is you want some kind of continuity and stability but don’t want to bore the listener with too much of the same.. My approach was to compose one or two pieces.. spread them out, build in material between. Sometimes I had to stretch or cut times to get back to a certain style or motif. As this slowly took shape, I began to see, where I had to have the main instrument, and motif come back in at certain points. Other times a variation of the them, with different instruments.. You kind of have to step back from your first vision, (piece of music).. and see how it can grow and evolve, and ‘revisit itself also’.. Now sad to say, I am not familiar with classic composition, so this may seem like nonsense to some, or not ‘valid’. But it has given me a framework.. Also don’t be afraid to try to different pieces of music, with the proper transition between the two. It is the brains funciion (and it does an excellent job most of the time) to take the existing data in the world, ands find ‘meaning’ in it.. I’ve often juxtaposed two different ideas, and then marveled at how the brain, made sense of and gave meaning to it.. Sometimes you have to try that.. and then do some fine touching up to make the transition from one motif to another more natural sounding.. Of course several peoples suggestion of listening to successful long pieces is a very good first step. I have taken several long ‘rock pieces’ Stairway to Heaven, The Who’s Tommy’ (not so much).. Pink Floyd. and done ‘behavioral character analysis on it’.. IE. Oboe plays a funny role early in piece, a sadder one later. and then a kind of ‘reflective quality at the end. This can be likened to the ‘character development of one of the roles in long movies, or even a human over his lifetime.. Reading some books on the psychology of music might not hurt either.. I took a free course at Coursera.org. on ‘Biology as Music’.. The Human body is the greatest creation to create, listen, and enjoy music. In one aspect,
  8. The Fool On The Hill

    The chords and harmonic content are very true to McCartney's version. I slowed it down. When the song came out, it was quite striking, because of his pitch shift. Not sure if a pop song had ever done that before .. After analyzing the piece more closely, I altered, his flute section, (really a variation of original).. Cause I felt I couldn't pull off what he did.. I sincerely re-arranged it, like it would have been an alternative like something he might have done. It is one of my favorite Beatle songs (then again, about 1/2 of their material, are my favorite songs).. McCartney/Lennon, and Brian Wilson have inspired me greatly.. As I've aged, my palette has widened a lot. I've learned to appreciate types of music and processes, that I didn't when i first started playing music.. I have noticed, that after the Beatles Split-up, George Harrison's pieces would often be the most 'Beatle like'.. It's like he had a better overview of what made a Beatle's song sound the way it did..
  9. New to this forum!!

    Welcome Fernando: I really like your piece.. Interesting arrangement.. All that variety with just a few instruments.. I'd like to hear a Bass guitar.. The rhythm guitar strums a bit louder.. BUT, your EXCELLENT voice works very well, with a simple sparse arrangement.. Keep exploring and creating.. It's good for you and good for the planet. Yes, composing music is a very special activity.. Through the years, I've come across some great musicians and composers, self-taught.. You find what works for you.. The vitality is to keep discovering new processes, techniques, theories, etc and putting them to use. Of course, knowledge is a very useful tool.. This is a great place to learn..
  10. Island Dreams

    Thank you Luis sand Monarcheon, that's a very good idea.. Often my compositions start as a kind of jam. Then as I get some ideas accumulated, it becomes apparent to me, what it is I was trying to state.. By this point I have several parts created.. I confess, I get lazy, cause I've already spent so much time, getting to where I already am. (chord wise, melodic, and # of tracks).. I don't want to 'start over'. That is where I should re-access the chord structure, and the melody, and rebuild from there (start from scratch). As a young man, I played in bands, and have seen videos, where bands, just 'jam' often for quite a while.. Tape it, and then later decide 'the good parts' (different chord structures they explored) and then assemble a song, from the good parts of their noodling.. It is harder to do that, when it is only one person playing.. Lately I spend a fair amount of time working out a chord progression, before laying anything down.. Then as I build something, it becomes harder to alter/add chord changes, cause I've already laid down a dozen tracks.. But you are exactly right.. Once I have gotten some decent parts together, I need to take the extra step of re-working, adding chords, then re-do my existing parts to accommodate. I've also been experimenting with longer pieces, And yes, after 3 - 4 minutes, more chordal variety, new section is often needed to sustain interest. My next approach should be to try out my chords and motifs, just sticking to perhaps just playing a piano patch, chords and melody, until I am sure of what it is I am exactly aiming for.
  11. La Florida Amelia

    7/8 time and 7 flats... you are not fooling around.. Actually very enjoyable.. and the time signature is great.. I had trouble counting it out myself.. (I need more practice.) Melodically - right on.. you never cease to surprise me, at your technical processes of your varied offerings.
  12. Eclipse

    an old trick is to import a mastered two track piece, into you DAW project, Solo the external piece with individual tracks of yours, Say your strings alone, with the commercial track.. Ignore key and timing clashes, just listen for the EQ aspect of it.. Same with different tracks. Often the solution with individual tracks, is to notch down bands, rather than boost them. Also play your piece on a couple of different systems, and headphones.. You want to strive for a mix that sounds the best it can on different set-ups.. So it becomes a bit of a compromise..
  13. On my Mac, with latest version of OSX and Safari.. the progress bar NEVER moves. Been that way for a while (since you updated mp3 player, it used to work).. I just live with it, or use Firefox.
  14. Cannot see MP3 or PDF

    Just a note in case of anyone unaware.. Be leery of any website, telling you that Flash needs to be updated, and then gives a link. The linked site may look very real, but this version of Flash, MAY have malware/tracking software in it. Instead, quit your browser, re-open, google Adobe Flash, and go to Adobe that way..
  15. Eclipse

    Musically this is TOTALLY EXCELLENT!!! Love everything, the outdo is great too. The only thing I could possibly suggest, is a bit of master EQ.. Consider a bit of a notch in the mids, the high violins in the center, as they carry the piece. low parts a bit louder.. Epiano maybe a bit louder, and have it walk across the stereo field. (just my personal taste.. Excellent composition, compositionally strong, very good transitions to new segments. Love it..