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pateceramics last won the day on June 12

pateceramics had the most liked content!

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About pateceramics

  • Rank
    Seasoned Composer

Profile Information

  • Biography
    I'm 33, and just got into composing over the last year or so, although, I was always the kid who made up an extra harmony part when singing along to the radio. When I was a very shy teenager, I'd sing a little harmony part when we sang at summer camp, and other people picked the part up until, suddenly we had two parts. And then I'd make up another part, and other people would pick it up too, and then there were three parts. It made me unbelievably happy.

    Since I'm mainly a singer, I've been writing for a cappella choir, but when I feel a little more sure of myself I'd like to learn to write a decent piano part if nothing else.

    Over the years I've had 5 violin teachers, 2 banjo teachers, a brief fling with penny whistle lessons, 3 voice teachers, and sung with 2 a cappella groups, 7 choirs, and a wee bit of musical theater which got me out of taking gym in high school. Thanks for the warm welcome to this community and your continued feedback. Can't get better without feedback!
  • Gender
  • Location
    Malden, MA, USA
  • Occupation
    contralto, potter
  • Favorite Composers
    Vivaldi, Brahms, Lauridsen, Thompson, Gillian Welch
  • My Compositional Styles
    Eh, you tell me.
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
  • Instruments Played
    alto, clawhammer banjo

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11,298 profile views
  1. pateceramics

    Ruining the Grass

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I still like to check in, in case there's an issue I haven't thought about. Published composers get editors assigned to them who haggle with them over the best ways to present their scores and act as an extra set of eyes for stupid mistakes. The rest of us have to hope to achieve a level of polish that will someday earn us an editor to debate with. More opinions are ALWAYS welcome. And it feels like we're more likely to give each other honest critiques here on the anonymous (sort of) internet than we would to musician friends we know in "real" life. It helps that the whole stated purpose of this website is to give and receive feedback. In the real world, people have other reasons that they know and spend time with you musically that may affect their ability to be be entirely honest and forthcoming even if you ask them directly for a critique.
  2. pateceramics

    Ruining the Grass

    Thanks for taking a look, Ken. I feel a strong ONE! on the first beat of measure 13 as it stands because the piano moves there, so I'd be more inclined to lop off the tied-over note in the choral parts, but the fact that they spill over the bar line doesn't bother me. You might be right about the syncopation, though. To me, it's easier to read as it is, because it's cleaner, and it's a fairly straightforward rhythm, but the beat is definitely obscured. Hmmm...
  3. pateceramics

    Ruining the Grass

    Ah, well. Thanks for taking the time to tell me exactly what didn't work for you. That's a help to me going forward to know what I can and can't get away with. You're right that I don't have an interest in writing strictly according to classical conventions, but the ultimate question is, does what I do instead still work for people. In a few places, I wrote myself into a corner with the vocal ranges and made some compromises as a result. I tried taking the whole thing down a bit so I'd have more room to play with the soprano line, but I really do like where it sits, for the most part, in A minor. It keeps everyone in the most ringing part of their ranges, so here we are. (I know sopranos can sing higher than I have them here, but doing it too often can really hurt someone, particularly for less experienced singers, and I wanted this piece to be accessible to a decent variety of groups.) I also wanted the choral parts to be tugging against the anchor of the piano part, so the piano is sometimes a fly in the ointment. It sounds like that particularly didn't work for you. I'll have to ponder better ways to achieve that going forward. Thanks for the catch of the G#/Ab. Right you are! And thanks again for taking the time to give me such a thorough review. It gives me a lot to work on!
  4. pateceramics

    Ruining the Grass

    Oh, my God. You're right. I forgot I had changed it, and then changed it back again. 😂 I'm very fond of melodic minor. Glad you enjoyed that too. As for the 2/4 vs. 4/4, I'm just concerned about what is most convenient for the conductor. It's not a big difference, but it's worth thinking about. The conductor is a player too, and the more you avoid unnecessary headaches for your players, the less rehearsal time is eaten up dealing with silly things, and the better performances go. And it's true. None of us stay forever. And that makes it so much more of a relief to know that someone is here now, as a constant in your life, when the times are so uncertain. The path worn in the lawn is between the back door and the shed where the mower and the garbage can are kept. The grass is worn there, but that very wear is evidence of a history of care, and with the history of time spent is an expectation of time spent in the future. It marks an intention. Love doesn't just spring out of nothingness. We nurture others, because we are responsible people, and a history of trying to anticipate the needs of others grows love in us for them. It's the time spent that does it. Along the way, the very act of caring wears us into new lines in places, and changes both parties. But if you aren't changed by the people you have known is some way, you didn't really know each other.
  5. pateceramics

    The Emissary

    I certainly can't fault you for wanting to wind it down, given the time limit on the competition!
  6. pateceramics

    A short study

    It sounds better than the sound options I have available for piano, at any rate. Mine are so bad, I tend to replace piano with harp or guitar for the sound file. You could take a little time to massage the tempo or add some accents, though, and it would add a lot to the impression of the playback. Did you have a pdf of the score for this that we can look at? It's easier to give specific feedback when we can cite measure numbers and see how everything relates to everything else.
  7. pateceramics

    The Emissary

    I love that you took the time to write an end of the world story as well as such a large scale piece of music by the deadline. You have been very busy! The sound libraries sound great. Particularly for the strings, which is important, given the story line. I feel like you could have developed some of your themes more completely. (I'm at about 12:30, where you introduce a nice little melody, and then it fades away. It could have hung in there for a little more growth.) Monumental take on the theme, but very peaceful!
  8. pateceramics

    Original Piano Composition

    The combination of the high fluttering notes and the colored light show makes me feel like I'm in a casino next to the slot machines. Going forward, you might want to think more about a definitive feeling of ending. This sort of just... ended. It was an unusual piece, so if that's what you wanted that's fine, but something to think about. 🙂
  9. pateceramics


    Definitely interesting. I felt like I was falling down a surreal rabbit hole in a dystopian movie. Soylent Green is people! You've managed to be strange, modern, and also tuneful. Nice job!
  10. pateceramics

    "The factory"

    I can open the PDF, so maybe it was a temporary glitch with the site. I'd suggest you replace some of the short notes followed by short rests with staccato notes. It will be easier for the players to read at speed and will come out the same. The piano part could also use a little attention as far as which notes are assigned to which hand. As it's written now, it will be hard for a pianist to actually play because their hands will keep getting in each other's way. You also might want to turn up piano track a little bit in relation to the other parts. Maybe it's just my headphones, but it's not coming through very clearly. (I have really terrible little ear buds, so it may just be me). This is definitely a busy, mechanical sounding environment. Did you consider adding percussion? That would certainly be evocative of a factory to my ear, but it does mean finding another good player for a performance. Nice job!
  11. pateceramics

    Ruining the Grass

    Please take a look at the score while you listen, so you can see how the text and the music interact, and thanks for listening! This is an ode to family and home in uncertain times. The tracing of many loved feet over the same path in the yard is a visible, physical reassurance that everyone is safe and accounted for in an age when many people can't count themselves so lucky. We start out with each voice part in a different phrygian mode, gather ourselves together into A minor, and only at the very end shift definitely to a more certain sounding and strong C major. The piano part isn't very pianistic, but it provides sort of a bell tolling to keep the pitch true at the beginning, and then a continuous heartbeat as a reminder of exactly what is at stake when you love another person. As long as the heart beats we live in the knowledge that some day it will stop. I tucked one hidden line in, just for the basses. Everyone says, "I love the little path your feet have made between the door and shed. It says you were here, and here you'll stay. And the grass loves summer light too much to mind a little wear." And the basses say, "Warm grass loves summer light as I love you." Caring for other people wears us away like footsteps ruin the lawn, and that's what makes us love them. They change us. The heat of summer turns the grass brown and brittle and it sings with a thousand summer songs and smells like home. If you have any input, I'd love to hear it. Particularly on the section with the 3/4 and 2/4 bars. I know I like the way the rhythms sit there, but I'm not sure if I expressed them in the easiest way for the conductor. I tried conducting my way through it and this was the best I could do to get the stressed beats of the text to line up with the strong beats of the measure, but maybe some of the 2/4s should be 4/4?
  12. pateceramics

    Deo Dicamus Gratias TTBB

    I worry that the chord before your grand pause at measure 29 sounds a little too final and the performance would be interrupted by a few tentative claps from the audience before the piece was actually finished. It might not be a problem in an actual performance, but if you find that it is, you could play with the way you handle rhythm or tempo there so that it was more apparent that there was more coming, change the chord progression to add a bit of tension, have one part hold their note with a fermata while the others cut out and then reentered... Many ways to keep the tension at that moment. You also might want to add a few accents to the score. The excitement here comes so much from the rhythm, accents would help clarify the stressed syllables a bit for the first sight-read through. Nice job!
  13. pateceramics

    How to "practice" composition?

    I think most good textbooks used for composition classes have exercises in them that can be practiced the same way pianists practice scales. If you aren't in a formal class, that doesn't mean you can't go buy a textbook and do the exercises on your own. What you need to practice most depends on your current musical skill set. That said, one option is to take the melody line or the bass line of an existing piece and re-harmonize it, without looking at the original. Give yourself whatever set of constraints you want, to practice a certain skill: adhere strictly to the rules of voice leading, only use the chords dictated by the chord progression chart for minor or major, only use root position chords and think about your doublings, write it in close position, practice using 7 chords, 9 chords, 1st inversion, rewrite the parts that cadence in the original piece using every different kind of cadence you can think of, etc. Whatever concept you are studying, make yourself some short, throw-away exercises to put that into practice. Option two is reading and ear-training homework. Photocopy a piece you already own, or something from the library, so that you can scribble all over it, or print a free score off the internet, and go through and label all the bits that you correspond to what you are currently studying. Circle all the non-chord tones, and label them as to type. Mark chords as I, iv, V, or as tonic, leading tone, dominant, or as Major, Minor, Sus, b7. Whatever it is that you are reading about in theory, find examples in scores of composers handling them in practice, and mark them. Then listen to recordings of the piece with your marked score in hand and see what the composer's treatment of them really feels like in context.
  14. pateceramics

    away, but never back (LIVE)

    What a dramatic piece! If this is a student group, either your writing was well-conceived to bring out the best in them, or they worked hard to do justice to it. It's really easy for emotional, atmospheric pieces like this to come off as hokey if either the writing doesn't quite work, or the players don't quite trust it enough to commit, and that DIDN'T happen here. Do you ever listen to RadioLab, and if so have you heard their live show with the dinosaur puppets and music about the end of their era? You'd enjoy it. You're right to be proud of what you've accomplished here and I'm glad you've got such a good performance recorded to add to the portfolio. Well done!
  15. pateceramics

    Deer Dance

    You said children's story, so I'm concerned you might be thinking about this for kids. If so, it definitely sits too high. Even if you are thinking of semi-pro, or professional adult sopranos and altos, it would make more sense to choose a lower key. You have plenty of room to move it down. Remember that the voice is the only instrument you can actually break just by playing. And you can break it permanently. So it's always important to pay careful attention to ranges. 🙂