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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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  1. pateceramics

    Indicating bowing for string instruments

    I mean, if your prof wants you to mark the heck out of something so that you can be asked to defend your decisions and be graded accordingly, then do as you are told, but I've been in a lot of rehearsals where the conductor will lean over to the concert master and ask what decision they came to about measure 25, because there was discussion of changing what was marked, or it was a fairly bare score where things were left up to the players' experience. Try watching some good groups playing pieces you are familiar with on youtube and air-bowing along with the string sections. See if it feels intuitive. If you know where the music is going next, then where to turn your arm around should feel fairly natural, particularly once you see them all doing it. And then go back and look at scores again and see if where things are marked makes sense with that in mind. You'll notice that when the bow just goes up down up down in a fairly mechanical section, it's usually not marked, because the pattern is obvious. But when the line is expressive, it may be, to help the performer interpret the character the composer wants. In addition to studying crisp, new scores, you might want to borrow on that's been written all over by generations of violin students at your school and see what they've added as notes to self that the composer/publisher didn't put in there to start with.
  2. pateceramics

    Indicating bowing for string instruments

    Down bows are naturally stronger and up bows are naturally lighter, so if you have a pattern of quarter notes in a 4/4 section with nothing unusual accent-wise, it's best to have down on 1 and 3 and come back up on 2 and 4, to follow the natural accents of the phrase. For a strongly accented passage where there is time between notes, you might want a series of down bows. The player will have time to make a bow circle in the time between notes to reset the bow to play the next note as a down bow. But any time you change bow direction, be it up bow or down, there is also a slight feeling of accent compared to two notes slurred together. Slurred notes give a feeling of smoothness and phrasing. In a particularly smooth line, you'll probably want some slurring, but think about where you would choose to breathe if you were whistling the line. The bow should definitely change direction there at a minimum. Think about where there are natural accents in the line. Those are good places for the bow to change direction. Think about grouping notes according to a repeated pattern to preserve a sense of orderly smoothness: each measure is slurred, or every four eighth notes, or whatever makes sense. Think about how fast or slow a bow can move to play the dynamic you want. Eventually the player will run out of bow and need to turn around, but that will naturally happen faster at a forte than at a piano. Think of the bow arm as dancing. How does the arm want to dance, given the character of the music in a given phrase? Where would you want to kick out a leg or an arm if you were dancing? And don't worry too much about dictating every little thing. String sections generally make their own decisions about how to phrase a line. Sometimes a conductor will dictate how he would like them to slur something to change the accents and improve the balance between the different orchestra sections. They all do this for a living. Trust them. Marking every bowing is like marking which fingers to use in a piano score. It's done for beginning students and it's done in the occasional really tricky passage where it's not intuitive, other than that you can mark your slurs and mainly trust the player to find the best solution for up vs. down.
  3. pateceramics

    May Melody

    PS The "help" section within Musescore is hard to navigate, but there are useful forums for Musescore online. Just google "how to combine rests in Musescore" or whatever else you are looking for and you should find multiple pages where other people have asked the same or a similar question and gotten a response. Good luck!
  4. pateceramics

    May Melody

    If you are familiar with the board game "Go" that is popular in China and Korea, there is an expression: "Lose your first 100 games quickly." If this is your first composition it's a great first effort, but don't have any expectations of success for your work at such an early stage. Just write, and you will learn from the writing. You're going to lose the first 100 games no matter what you do. You don't know the right things to think about yet that would help you win. So don't take too much time to think for now. Play. Enjoy yourself. And the knowledge will start to seep in from the experimentation. I could definitely recognize the bird songs in your piece and enjoyed them. To combine rests in musescore, click on the first of the rests to be combined, and then select a higher note value from the palette at the top of the page. The program will automatically combine the next few rests to make up that note value. For the tempo markings, you can specify them exactly as you did, so the playback will sound precisely the way you want it to, but then "hide" them, so that they will not show up on the pdf of the score, or when a paper copy is printed. Use the dropdown menu to open the "inspector." Click on the tempo marking you want to hide to select it, and click the checkbox that says "visible" to make it hide or reappear. It will still be visible in the score while you are working with it, so you can make changes later if you need to, it just won't print or show up on a pdf that you export.
  5. pateceramics

    May Melody

    Your labels for each section are cracking me up! "BBC The Archers." 😄 I just listened to an old Victor Borge routine where he summarized Mozart in about 30 seconds with about 2 bars for each theme and this has a similar humorous appeal: a whole day squashed into a short piece. Rabbival may be onto something that shorter is better for something containing so many little snippets.
  6. pateceramics

    For Victory!

    I like this a lot. It definitely feels victorious. I wonder if a slight relax in the tempo in a few spots or adjusting the dynamic balance between instruments would clarify some of the transitions? (It's a really small thing. I can absolutely tell what's going on). But victory is all about relaxing, confidently after your accomplishments after all, so the victorious never rush. Nice use of the whole ensemble! There was a lot of variety and interest, but the piece still had a unified feel.
  7. pateceramics

    Soup (Lentil Veggie)

    Thanks! I figured if we all learned the "Fif-ty, Nif-ty, U-ni-ted States" song and the periodic table song, why not something for adults that would be a useful way to remember a skill?
  8. pateceramics

    Arpeggia in A minor

    I could see a pianist with good stage presence getting a roar of approval from the audience at the end from this one. Very fun!
  9. pateceramics

    Soup (Lentil Veggie)

    Hi all! Home Economics doesn't exist anymore and The Food Network makes it look like you can't fry an egg without granite countertops, truffle oil, and a degree from culinary school. I thought I would take a basic recipe and turn it into an ear-worm. With any luck, the members of any choir that sings this and a good number of the people in the audience will remember how to make lentil soup forever. The pianist has to deal with accidentals and an irritating key signature, but the choral parts should sit comfortably for everyone, be easy to read, and it repeats, which should be user-friendly for high school chorus or amateur choral groups. How does this look? Thanks for taking a look!
  10. If it's only a three-minute piece and you've written things that length before, I'd do it in whatever order you usually do it. Don't let yourself get intimidated. The only thing that changes here is you are adding some depth to your orchestration experience. Form, melody, and chord structure work the same way they always did, so as long as you haven't had any problems with the way you usually do it, do it the usual way. Have fun! They call it "playing" music for a reason. This is an opportunity to play. With a whole orchestra! If it's less intimidating, or easier to read at a glance, you could do your initial planning as a piano score with little notes to self about instruments when they occur to you, and then go back and orchestrate it and make a proper full score.
  11. pateceramics

    Spiritus Domini

    Love the run in the bass line at the second measure of B, and the contrasting style between the various section! Nice!
  12. pateceramics

    Sicut Cervus

    Nice job! You might want to take the time to write a piano reduction (labeled "for rehearsal only") underneath the choral parts. This is certainly a very simple piece for a pianist to read as it is, but anything that makes the director's life a little easier makes your piece more likely to be performed, or performed well. Here are my two favorite settings of this text... Herbert Howells, in English, which includes several more lines of the psalm, in a nice resonant space: https://youtu.be/-IUtkFRDX6M Palestrina, in Latin, with beautiful straight tone. I know there have been some threads about wanting less vibrato lately. It would be completely stylistically inappropriate to sing this piece with big vibrato, so it isn't. 🙂 : https://youtu.be/0yd5EE0hAB8
  13. pateceramics


    A slightly more complicated option is: 1. Figure out what key your melody is in. 2. Write all the triads that each melody and bass note pair could possibly be part of above them on the score, assuming you stick strictly to the key (don't add sharps and flats outside of the key signature, at least to start with). Ex: if you are in A minor, and you have an A and a C as a melody note and a bass note, you'll either end up filling out the chord to be ACE or FAC, but not F#AC, because F# is not in the key signature for A minor. 3. Go back and eliminate triad options using a chord progression chart to decide which of those options is best to use. What makes something the "best" triad? It connects smoothly to one of the triad options for the next note in the melody. You'll want most of your triads to be in root position, with some in first or second inversion. Some places, you may have a non-chord tone, a seventh chord, a raised leading tone, or something else that makes sense or adds interest, but doing it by process of elimination like this will get you a structure to start with that lays out the most obvious possibilities, and then you can narrow down and refine from there, or decide that you want to do something funky to spice things up. You'll want to end on a nice cadence, so work from the end, backwards towards the beginning, as well as from the beginning forwards toward the end, and eventually you'll find you've met in the middle. As with a sudoku puzzle, write in ALL the good options first so you can see what you're working with and feel organized, then start eliminating by striking through, not erasing, so you can still see where you came from in case you decide, on second thought, to change directions. When you feel pretty sure of things, write a clean copy.
  14. I do like the 5/4. Are you worried at all about balance in the second one, with only the 2nd violin providing harmony against everyone else?