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pateceramics last won the day on August 7 2019

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. Remember that it took more than a year for the Spanish Flu to kill all those people. It was first detected in March of 1918, and finally tapering off over the summer of 1919. It went around the world in three successive waves, riding along with troop movements from WWI. The current virus is still spreading. We haven't hit the peak yet. I REALLY hope it won't be like the Spanish Flu, but that depends a lot on the action we take now, to be sure that no one area's health resources are overwhelmed with a sudden spike in cases. It's no good having a hundred years of new medical technology to use if we don't have enough doctors and nurses to administer it, or enough hospital beds and equipment. A slow spread of cases means everyone who needs care can get care in a timely manner and recovery rates will be as good as we can get them. A quick spike in cases means some people who need care are stuck waiting in line for it. When you need a ventilator, you need it now. Not tomorrow. So wash your hands, stay home if you're sick, and keep an ear on the news so you know if your area is recommending you limit unnecessary travel or large gatherings of people. That's not panic. That's practical public health strategy. Today, so many people can work from home, and communicate with friends and family using video chat and other tools. We don't have to all be in the same room to keep connected like we used to. Do have dinner with the neighbors as long as you aren't quarantined, do take a walk, to take the dog to the park, but also, do stay home and watch Netflix instead of going to the movie theatre, and do have that meeting over video instead of flying everyone in the department out to the company's other office.
  2. This effect plays out with other instruments as well. The choice of key is going to put a given part of the scale in a more ringing part of the range for some instruments, and a more strained, or quiet, or rich, or whatever... part of the range for others. That's going to effect which voices you choose to give certain lines to, or what octave they make an entrance on, and affect the emotional timber of the piece. And the inverse is true as well. When you have a line that is clearly a trumpet entrance in character, so you assign it to the trumpets, the effect will be a more strident clarion call in some keys than others. All those little decisions can add up to an overall character to a key that is common from piece to piece and composer to composer. If you want "mysterioso," there may be a sweet spot to put that in. If you want bold, tense, screaming rage, there's a sweet spot for that too.
  3. If you're having trouble hearing what you want (like a word that's on the tip of your tongue), try rolling some chords. Sometimes it's easier to hear what you want if you build one note at a time. So play a few notes of melody slowly, then when you get to where you feel a new chord should be, slowly roll a chord and hold it, then play the next few notes of melody. Hearing it that way can make it easier to decide that, say, the bottom note in the chord IS what you want, but the middle note ISN'T. Having isolated the problem, you can try a few other options. Good luck!
  4. Interesting, thanks!
  5. Quite nice! It develops with very satisfying intensity as it progresses. If it was mine, I would have strung out the ending with a few more bars of ferocity after that soft closing, and then ended for real, but the whole piece is lovely.
  6. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. It's interesting that you hear the chromatic run at 15 as comical. I hear it as more... intensity? That's not really the word I want, but something in that neck of the woods.
  7. Is this something particular to the word "mío," the Spanish language in general, or that word in particular at the end of a phrase? English and French both also can use a rising inflection to indicate a question, but every declarative statement doesn't end on a downward inflection as a result, nor does every question automatically go up in pitch. It depends on what else you want to convey with your tone. What's the rule for Spanish? In this instance, it feels pretty natural to me to have that phrase up since it is a restatement of the text. Had it been the first time first time the phrase appeared, it would feel more awkward. Thanks for your help!
  8. pateceramics


    The text is the Spanish language version of the quote that starts Toni Morrison's "Beloved." Since she died this August, I was thinking about her books. Llamaré al que no era mi pueblo, pueblo mío; y a la no amada, amada. I will call the one who was not my people, my people; and the unloved, beloved.
  9. Very nice! I wonder if a variation in the texture (throw in some ornaments to the steady left hand oompa, oompa perhaps), could polish it up a bit?
  10. They are sometimes divas, but that's also right at the limit of feasibility, so getting a good sound up there becomes a risk. Anybody with a cold is likely to lose that note, and balancing tone and dynamics becomes a challenge even when healthy.
  11. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen, Luis. I'm afraid I can't find the spot you mentioned. Are you sure it was measure 21?
  12. I agree with Gustav about the number of instructions in the score. Trust that your musicians are musicians and will know what to do with your piece. You shouldn't need to explain too much unless you are looking for an effect that is very counter-intuitive and for which modern music notation doesn't already have a system. I worry that the ranges you have included in this piece may limit the number of groups who feel confident in their ability to perform it. Particularly because it is a long a cappella work, and the pitch of the group may drift slightly over the course of the piece without an instrument to keep them in key. High A's for the sopranos really are high. Anyone who has a cold, or has had a busy rehearsal schedule with more than one ensemble that week, is going to have problems both rehearsing and performing this piece. High E's for the basses are similar. And because you also have some very low notes in the piece, a director can't decide to just perform it down a half step. That's not to say that the piece can't be sung, but it becomes a riskier bet for a director, and they may choose to program someone else's work over yours as a result. On the other hand, I see what you were doing when you chose to work at the extreme ends of the range. It's very dramatic! And highlights the text well as a result! Good luck!
  13. 1. Do you currently have $200? 2. If you didn't spend $200 on this, is there anything else you could spend it on instead that would be more helpful to your growth as a musician at this particular moment? Textbooks, lessons, concert tickets that let you network with other local composers at intermission, a masterclass... 3. Do you need a live recording of a piece to apply for things and move forward at this stage of your composition education? 4. Is there any way to get more bang for your $200 buck? Would other local composers also like to be involved and you could pool your money to put together an entire concert program at a nice venue, do some advertising, invite the local arts reporter, and pay for a good sound engineer to record the "new music" concert? 5. If it sounds awful, is that going to crush your dreams? This is going to be a learning experience. That's the point. Be prepared for things to go wrong, be gracious and collaborative with your quartet. Hearing your work performed can teach you a lot about composing for future works. All the things composition teachers pick on suddenly make sense when you hear a group of musicians play Mozart beautifully, and then awkwardly struggle to play your piece because of range issues, balance issues, or whatever. That's why composing programs at good schools have regular opportunities for students to play each others' work. Do it if you can afford it!
  14. Your composition teacher is a person you trust, so their opinion matters to you. But remember that they were talking about one single other student's experience, not many students, and not their own experience. And that student had a different diagnosis than you do. Your case is your case and your education is your education. If you want to pursue music, and you left your conservatory program on a temporary basis, keep the school aware of how your treatment is progressing, keep them aware of your intention to return after a medical leave of absence, and then go back. You may need to take more time off than you originally intended, and that is fine. Your health is important. Finding the resources and treatments that work best for you may take a while. There is no reason this needs to be the end of your musical journey, unless you happen to find another path that you like better. Take your time. Get well. And then decide on the path that feels right to you. Be gentle with yourself.
  15. You used the capabilities of both instruments very well. Are you playing on this recording? I loved the sweeping piano lines. It definitely had a dark fairy tale forest feeling. I'm only sorry it ended so abruptly. You could definitely stretch this out a little more. Lovely!
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