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Monarcheon

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Monarcheon last won the day on June 18

Monarcheon had the most liked content!

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About Monarcheon

  • Rank
    Elite Composer
  • Birthday June 16

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  • Biography
    My job as a theorist and reviewer is not to force changes or ideologies into your music, but to make you question your decisions and beliefs in the process. Being able to defend your ideas not only makes you a better musician but a better-equipped human being, and ultimately, it's our job to be both, even while only exercising one at any given time.
  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    USA
  • Occupation
    Composer, Conductor, Arranger, Administrative Assistant
  • Interests
    Cooking, Music, Drama
  • Favorite Composers
    Gershwin, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Reich
  • My Compositional Styles
    Big Band Fusion, Freely Atonal, Maximalist
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Finale 25, Logic Pro X
  • Instruments Played
    Cello, Guitar (classical), Piano, Violin, Percussion, Conductor

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  1. A brutally honest review you'll get: Before that, though, there will be a couple of placeholders I will refer to in my measure by measure analysis that are repeated, so I'll describe them here: If I put the word BEAM, that means you need to restructure the way your notes are beamed. In 4/4 time, and really any common time signature, you have to beam the notes as it is split. For example, in 6/8, you MUST beam things in terms of the dotted half, since it is duple meter time (there are exceptions, but you need to know the rule first). Therefore, you cannot have a measure with a half note and a quarter note in 6/8. You would have have to have: dotted quarter tied over to an eighth + quarter. You will need to know this for the very first measure. In 4/4, the beat is split in terms of the quarter, because of its designation as simple quadruple time. The beaming of your notes must be around the half note. So instead of the way the melody in the right hand is written in the first measure, it would HAVE to be: 8th + 8th+ 8th + 8th tied to another 8th + 8th + 8th +8th. You do it correctly in the left hand at measure 3, so why it isn't consistent I have no idea. If I put the word PLAY, it means there's something hard or simply not playable, and I will define it in the measure. I also want to say that I don't particularly agree with @Rabbival507's claim that block chords in the left hand are inherently bad. At much lower registers, I agree they can be quite murky, but at this level/register, it's very common in classical music. There are other problems with them, but we'll get to them as we go. Here we go: m. 1 - BEAM + Starting on the iv chord is dangerous, especially with both the suspended 2nd and the minor third being used at different times (one is even held!). This is problematic because it makes your tonality not just ambiguous, but wrong-sounding, because the suspension is not handled using the proper formula (Prep -> Sus -> Res). Leaping to the suspended 9th in the right hand is fine, but the block chord with the held suspension at that register sounds clashy. Why do you have an accent on the left hand chord? Since the performer has to carry this pattern on for a while, there's really nothing to compare it to, especially since the right hand melody doesn't have any. You also don't need mp in both hands. If they were different, that'd be one story, but they're not. Get rid of the bottom one. m. 2 - BEAM + This sounds extremely cartoony because of the use of the 6th scale degree in your VII chord (which the audience still has no idea what it's leading to or from, especially since a iv, VII, VI chord progression makes the tonic seem faulty). This would be the G in the right hand. This strikes me as a decently serious piece so having that there is bizarre and doesn't immediately sets up a false sense of the tone of your piece. Again with the accent in the left hand chord; I really don't think it's necessary. There are better ways to describe what you want there. Use your words. It never hurts to be specific, especially with modern scores. The long pause here cuts off any sense of motion we have from the first measure's syncopation. You can set up a counter-rhythm with your left hand to keep up the motion. But the way it's written now, it sounds quite dead. m. 3 - BEAM (right hand only) + 3rd inversion major seventh chords are very dangerous. You do it nicely here, with it acting as a suspension to the iv chord's tonic, but that half step between the 7th and the tonic is generally a very scary place to be in. What's weird in the left hand is the absence of a 4th tone in the second chord. It takes away a lot of the color of the chord, especially with the 9th in the right hand, to just have a triadic chord being utilized. m. 4 - BEAM (don't use double dotted halves in 4/4) + The minor 9th suspension is a curious idea, if the harmonic rhythm was more active. It's currently not. The main sin of this measure is resolving to a G5 chord... no third present, so it doesn't sound like there's tension. It simply sounds like it's resolving to an empty 5th, which isn't inherently bad, but the way you do it makes it makes a consonant interval sound extremely dissonant. It could potentially be because of the inversion of the G5 chord, with the interval of the 4th on the bottom relative to the bass. Add a third, or a seventh, or something in here that doesn't stop the piece dead in its tracks. If this emptiness is what you want, then there better ways to voice lead the melody into an open fifth. m. 5 - BEAM + Fourth interval in the bass is not good. It implies a second inversion chord, when it's actually basically the main introduction of your tonic chord. m. 6 - BEAM + The first three notes of this measure are in parallel fifths, which sounds like an extremely modern technique thrown into a relatively tonal piece up to this point. The left hand continues on in a way that doesn't really complement the chord in the right hand. It sounds like you want to do another VII reference with the added 2nd or 9th, but the G in your bass makes the C sound like a suspended 4th, which would then be improperly resolved (refer to the suspension formula above). Don't end this measure with the minor second interval eighth note because... m. 7 - You repeat one of the two tones in the very next measure, which loses all the weight that minor second interval could have had. It could a suspension like before, against the Eb, but certainly not a suspended tone in and of itself. You open this measure with another open interval (fourth on the bottom again, a dissonant interval). m. 8 - I'm not sure if this was intentional, but you have a clever thing in theory here where the suspended tone becomes the consonant tone as the bass, which created the suspension, actually resolves itself. In baroque theory, this would be wrong, but it's well done here. I don't, however, know why you chose to end the melody on a major second interval that doesn't add anything to the next measure except for a little bit of confusion as to why the suspended tone is used again in the melody (opposite problem of m. 7). This is also the case with the bass voices... it should feel like a transition into the next section, and because of all your common tones, it ends up sounding like a static cut paste gone wrong into the next repeated section. This can work, but you've set up something of a half cadence in this measure with the implied dominant (G), so you should use that to your advantage. m. 9 - BEAM (both hands) + The last two eighth notes of this measure are parallel dissonances that aren't perceived as parallel minor seventh chords. This is due to the awkward syncopation in your measure where the right and left hands play the same altered rhythm, leaving nothing for the audience to latch onto as the rhythm being subverted. Again, you don't need the double dynamic markings. The left hand line is also awkward with the double jump in the first beat. It would function better as a straight run up to Bb, since it functions as a chord tone in Eb major, against the dyad in the right hand. It's second inversion, yes, but you also plan to immediately change that harmony. m. 10 - This measure's mostly fine, except for the double suspended tone in the first beat in the right hand. It might function better if the note was tied over from the the last C minor dyad, to avoid the clash that resolves to another dissonance (the C in the bass). m. 11 - PLAY - This Ab∆7 chord here is nice but it just either needs to be rolled or spaced with some of the notes in the treble voice. Just can't be played. Rhythmic units 5 and 6 (beat 3) form a double dissonance in your run with the 4th and the 2nd. Just sounds awkward when one dissonance leads into another. This is a rule carried over from the Renaissance period. In modern times, anything can be justified, it just seems harder to do with this measure. m. 12 - BEAM - This measure's mostly nice. The half diminished uncertainty after the Ab∆7 is cool, and the space feels warranted here because of all the extra color you've added in the past couple measures. Be careful of the free standing tritones on the last eight note. Add another tone to make it a seventh chord to lead into the III chord in the next measure; maybe in parallel 6th's against the soprano voice. m. 13-14 - BEAM + Fine until the and of beat 3. Minor 9th leap to dissonance takes away the serenity of the closely related chord. A similar problem occurs in measure 14 but because of the oblique motion in the left hand instead of the similar motion. It just sounds like you're taking away the tonal motion in both cases. Also, the lack of rhythmic is painfully obvious here, and really prevents this from sounding anything like a transition point. m. 15-16 - BEAM + Fine tonally, but boring rhythmically. I like the parallelism between the measures, but it's just boring without any variation, especially since this syncopation is the main rhythm we've heard a billion times already. m. 17 - BEAM + The 9th/2nd in this measure is nice, but it's such a full chord and you waste it by using the same rhythmic scheme. This seems like a new section, so why wouldn't you want to change this up. The left hand shouldn't do the repeated note thing again, since you have the tonic laid out already. You're getting into the register where using thirds can get murky and it starts to here. Be careful. m. 18 - BEAM + It's rhythmically varied, I'll give you that, but deficient in every other way. Dbm7b5 with a G on the bass is weird and is not needed to transition smoothly into C minor in the next measure. The second half of the measure makes this dissonance painful with the major seventh formed between the dominant and the flattened 5th scale degree of the actually chord. This is pretty customary in jazz, but is not well executed here. m. 19 - BEAM + You do the same thing as the first measure with the whole suspended note and also the resolution note being played at the same time. I know you want to establish your tonality as early as possible, but this is not the way to do it. Resolve right away instead, or use a seventh. You also break up the cooler rhythmic scheme from before to go back to the older one, and end on the fourth interval, which is not a suspension. m. 20 - BEAM + PLAY + Way too spread out here. It's technically possible with rewriting, but not practical at all. You can't add many more bass tones in that register, so you need to get rid of a few. Also, note that your left hand chord is invading your right hand chord. Shouldn't use the major 9th chord in this way rhythmically either. This isn't a choir; the pitches sustain unless you replay the piano. m. 21 - BEAM + Why aren't your left and right hand motifs the same... why did you go and add a major seventh to the left hand and make it sound like it's making a leap downward a tenth instead of expanding to a more colorful place after the parallel octaves? Your syncopation here needs more clear cut juxtaposition. It's just not audible here or even visible in the score. Just sounds like a bunch of tones bouncing off from each other. m. 22 - PLAY - awkward to play in the left hand because you using sixteenths to jump a rather significant interval. That second chord on beat 3 is also almost impossible to play because it doesn't spread nicely in either hand. It's extremely boring to have the rhythm return to a beat one and beat three pulse after what you've set up. Two sets of major seconds should not be layered on each other if the effect is not for color; it's done as a suspension here. It sounds wrong because one suspension resolves while the other doesn't. It just sounds technically awkward. m. 23 - My same issue with the rhythm applies to this measure. There's no drop in dynamics so it's not a low point to grow back from. I would change up the right hand too. It's an interesting effect you have going with the cross relation in the final beat, but it's not written as though that was the intent. You can make the return of the A section a lot more impactful with a flowing rhythm or more interesting colors to fill the chord out. mm. 24 - 25: Same issues as mm. 5 - 6 since they're almost identical. Since you clearly want to go on from there, I'll stop there. Remember, and this is important: anything in here that you like regardless of what I said (apart from some of the rhythmic rules) and that you can defend is fine by me. I'm just here to make you question your decisions and make sure you like them based on what I've seen in the past. Very rarely is a piece worth dumping, and this isn't one of them, by any means. I have a clear sense of the ideas you want, but your unfamiliarity with the piano restricts you. It's a great exercise you've started and I hope you don't give up!
  2. Do you have a preference to one style (control) over another (loose)? In what way? Sorry if I'm pressing, I just feel like there's a lot to learn from you and you're a bit of a rarer participant nowadays.
  3. Monarcheon

    Like a beginner in a second language

    It's definitely short, because I was trying to write a longer piece in strict serialism, but I got so painfully bored of the process that I just cut it off there, haha. Definitely isn't for me.
  4. Monarcheon

    Short piece for my girlfriend

    Right. Just make sure it's in there. Oh, the melody in the right hand wasn't my issue. I just thought the relative lack of a sound world from such a short section in just the left hand was a little abrupt. Nothing much to say there. I definitely see how it works canonically, the leading makes it sound a little less related than it is. I didn't listen to the video. It'd be the relative mediant of the original key, so G. The F chord on the end was nice, it was more just mm. 40-41. That E in G major especially with the subdominant tone in the measure right after.
  5. It's very loose counterpoint. With a distinct lack of episodes or layering lines past the beginning, it's more just an imitative piece than any set polyphonic style.
  6. Monarcheon

    Short piece for my girlfriend

    Generally a really good use of tonality. Couple things to point out: m. 4 - that quarter needs to be a half. mm. 11-13 - I get it's supposed to a in reference to m. 4 with an inverted direction, but this seem like a weaker moment in the piece since nothing was supporting it. m. 16 - take a look at the level of your chord extensions. Tonic played with the 3rd and 9th together is fine, but you have a perfect fifth with the restatement of the 9th and the 13th, tagging on the 7th and 11th at the end. It's just a bit of awkward voice leading which makes the chord feel unstable. m. 19 - wasn't a huge fan of this cadence. What comes after, with the reference to the beginning is nice (maybe a little cliched but it's fine), but the cadence itself was off for me. mm. 40-end - The reharmonization of the melody to the relative mediant doesn't sound particularly right to me, especially since the E functions as the new subdominant, which you leap away from (generally bad in reharmonized counterpoint). It's a nice little project overall, though.
  7. It's been a long time since I've worked with serialism and only really got this far before I remembered why I abandoned it for so long.
  8. T H E E N D O F T H E W O R L D YC SUMMER COMPETITION: 2018 Welcome, everybody to the Young Composer Forum's Summer 2018 composition competition! Be it the apocalypse, the rapture, or nuclear annihilation, people throughout the years have always had concerns over the world ending in some way or another. It's exciting, and awesome, and terrifying, yet nobody knows exactly how it will come about. In particular, composers throughout the years have tried to emulate the afterlife, or this process of death (Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, and Holst's Ode to Death, etc.) and now I'm asking you to put the fate of the entire world into your hands: how's it all going to go down? GOAL: Write a piece of any instrumentation under the theme of "the end of the world". Note that this is not a piece just about death, however you may follow one person/group of people through their experience of a dying world. You may call upon any context, inspiration, or story to make this happen (i.e. anything from the rapture to alien invasion). ELIGIBILITY: *You must be a member of the Young Composers forum in order to enter. Membership is free and found in the top right corner of the page. Sign ups for the competition will be in the comments below. Simply note that you are interested in judging or participating. *There will again be no limits to instrumentation. Extra points will not be given for smaller or larger ensembles. *The minimum length for this competition is reduced to 3 minutes, but keep in mind you'll have a lot to write about. The maximum is also reduced to 20 minutes. *You must have some sort of audio rendition accompanying your work, otherwise your entry will be disqualified. *A score is required, but is not as heavy a focus as previous competitions. If you want to enter and are not proficient at engraving, message @Monarcheon. *If you volunteer to be a judge, you may not enter as a contest participant. *Entrants should have an intermediate understanding of engraving and orchestration. *Entrants may only submit one work. SCORING: 1. Submit a piece that properly depicts the end of the world in any context. This piece should progress like a story, of sorts, not just simply the event that causes the world to perish. The relation to the source material should be clear in your music in one way or another. Since it is difficult to convey things through sound, your job is simply to convince the judges that you've thought about how to make it work. (/40) 2. The more technically based compositional aspects are judged here. These aspects include score quality (/15), audio file quality (/15), and orchestration (/15) 3. Submit a writing component explaining the context in which the world is being destroyed and explaining how your instrumentation and compositional sections depict your writing. This should include what techniques you used to demonstrate certain aspects of each, keys, styles, or anything else you feel is prudent. (/15) TOTAL: /100 Mark your entry interest by: August 1st Pieces must be submitted by (in another topic that will be posted later, not this thread): August 7th Judges must be finished grading by: August 14th PRIZES: All entrants receive detailed feedback on their works. The winner’s piece will be placed in the YC Competition Hall of Fame. It is possible that winners receive a full year’s subscription compensation to Sibelius, but we are still working on that (THIS FINAL PRIZE IS NOT GUARANTEED).
  9. Monarcheon

    My Lead/Rhythm Guitar Tracks

    You seem to generally fall into a harmonic rut of outlining the same kinds of voicings throughout the song. You're not only building a melody, but creating a relationship with the harmony/rhythm section. If a lead guitar player doesn't add any color to the harmony (stays within the key center too often) then it feels like the part loses potential. Listen to this song to see what I mean. The guitar always takes on the role as the adder of color, or stays behind and lets the vocals come out.
  10. Monarcheon

    Sound of Queanbeyan Part 2

    It's not exciting to listen to. Could be just the soundfonts getting in the way, but there's essentially two things going on: 1) the pointalistic harmonic changes, and 2) the classical parts where everything climaxes from the section. It's all done in G major or a closely related key. No dramatic arc, as far as I can hear, and the formula gets tiresome easily.
  11. Monarcheon

    New Oldschool french hip hop song

    It's incredibly static. Not only from a mixing standpoint (your dynamics processing seems to be doing too good a job), but harmonically and stylistically as well. There are no changes for the "chorus", the flute/glock ostinato never is layered or expanded upon in any way, and the chords always remain on i and ivm7-5. There's no sense of drama, and maybe it's just because I don't speak French, but there's no dynamic or dramatic arc, as far as I can tell. Don't forget the track is just as important, if not more important, than the actual words you're saying.
  12. Monarcheon

    Nocturne in E major

    m. 5, Bb should probably be A#, as it's a lead to the dominant as the next note of the melody. In the beginning the parallel octaves in between both hands is harmonically dry. m. 20 - no reason for the left hand part to be so empty. I get the effect you're going for, but the register of the left hand prevents it. I agree with Luis about the ending being long for the same reasons. Feels like an A' section and not an ending per se. I was mostly a fan of all your chord progressions. The rhythm of the melody didn't have to be so standard, I feel. It's a bit to beat-magnetized... like it overemphasizes the beat, which is okay in some situations, but this functions less like a waltz and more like flowing ambiguity, which your melodic rhythm prevents occasionally.
  13. Monarcheon

    largo ostinato

    The entire second section with the cello ostinato isn't very rewarding to listen to. It's super long just like the ostinato and doesn't add very much color. The audience doesn't hear the alto line as an elaboration of the ostinato, just an extension. The Fb at 1:10 and all times like it is a little bizarre. Playing with the major and minor modes is one thing but altered tonics is a bit strange. The first melody has a lot of crossed voices issues which doesn't sound very good especially with the close timbre of the two acting instruments. The piano section was pretty nice. The overlayed section doesn't quite have the impact you want it to, since there's not any development before hand that makes this feel like an elaborated home space. I also didn't find the ostinato particularly convincing, as you change the harmonies above it, but never with it.
  14. After listening to all of Time Control, there's a clear difference from the Metheny Group stuff I can't quite place.
  15. It looks unplayable because the score is so poorly exported, but it's actually not super hard for any good player. Unnecessary piano unisons with bad cross voicing and glissandi notation make it look a lot harder than it actually is. Measure 25 is the only measure I immediately see as problematic objectively. Fix the score, and I'm sure it'll look a lot more doable.
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