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Gustav Johnson

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Gustav Johnson last won the day on September 12

Gustav Johnson had the most liked content!

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33 Excellent

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About Gustav Johnson

  • Rank
    Intermediate Composer

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    https://transcendaudio.weebly.com/ https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio
  • Yahoo

Profile Information

  • Biography
    I teach 5-12 grade band in El Paso-Gridley school district in Central Illinois. I've been "composing" on and off since my first music theory class in college (Illinois State University!). I enjoy writing in many genres and for many ensemble types, and have even been recognized as the winner of the Urbana Pops Orchestra composition contest in 2010. I'm on this forum to help myself improve, as teaching takes the bulk of my time and I have little left to take lessons or courses in composition.
    Please visit my website or soundcloud to see my recent work, and feel free to message me!
  • Gender
  • Location
    Minonk, IL
  • Occupation
    Band Teacher
  • Interests
    hiking, fishing, teaching, church band, drawing, reading, composing (obviously!)
  • Favorite Composers
    Most modern film composers, and anybody from the dawn of time to present day.
  • My Compositional Styles
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius 7, Ableton Live 9 Lite
  • Instruments Played
    Bass Clarinet & Woodwind guru, although I'm well versed in all concert band & jazz band instruments for teaching purposes

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  1. Gustav Johnson

    Bella Ciao Variations

    Definitely made me smile. Whimsical and well executed, loved it. There were a couple of harmonic moments where the dissonance was a little funky to me, but it resolved quickly enough that I wasn't really bothered by it as much as a little confused haha. Good stuff! Gustav
  2. Gustav Johnson

    Limit, epic orchestral piece

    Welcome back, I know I always miss my time away from here. I like the chimes, think they could have been used more often to make more "moments". Percussion entrance could have been clearer - if you're into mixing, turn down the frequencies that are covered by other instruments and turn up the frequencies not covered by other instruments. The theme you've made is a good one, and interesting in its own right. One contrasting element or drastic change to the theme would really have made this work pop. The build and orchestration is particularly nice. Cool impact sound at 1:15 🙂 Nice! Gustav
  3. Gustav Johnson

    Soliloquy for Violin No. 31

    Nice to hear a post from you again! This has more movement than is typical from you, I like it. The octave displacement in measure 21 (and maybe 22? haven't decided yet...) feels somewhat odd to my ear - I expected to hear it down an octave after all the good work you'd done establishing that pattern. I'm not violinist, but some of the double stops may be tricky. Liked listening to it, thanks for sharing! Gustav
  4. Gustav Johnson

    New Song Idea (Just Walk Away)

    Good recording quality for your instruments, makes for a nice sound. Some notes slightly out of tune, be aware of that. (Things like that don't bother me, I think that the live sound is worth the imperfections.) Try to find spots to alter the riffs to help the phrasing (i.e. riff1, riff1, riff1 altered, riff1 with finishing feeling), rather than just repeating them verbatim each time. Adding vocals would help, to be sure, it's hard to imagine melodically/stylistically what those would sound like without actually being able to hear them. Good recording, good writing, think of phrasing! Gustav
  5. Gustav Johnson

    Sketch No. 1 for classical guitar

    Thanks for the tips, all! I've done a couple more, it's an interesting concept I think can bear fruit if I stick with it - I got the idea from modern "top 40 hits music" which isn't necessarily crafted to be high quality, but is crafted to get stuck in your head. I think I need to start by making each part more distinct and then, as suggested, make sure it works for the instrument itself.
  6. Gustav Johnson

    Sketch No. 1 for classical guitar

    My work for an afternoon quick sketch. I liked the idea that occurs at 9, so I played around with an idea: how much does it really matter what I compose in the "middle" if I always bring it back to a common idea the listener can grasp hold of? I'm going to try a few more in this vein, we'll see if it pans out for me. Comments welcome - especially if I did something wrong in my writing for guitar. Thanks, Gustav
  7. Gustav Johnson

    Four short stories for piano (full suite)

    I'm not a great pianist, but as a listener I love it. Wasn't expecting something as low and serious for the Lost Weasel, but it's a good composition even so. Thanks for sharing! Gustav
  8. Gustav Johnson

    Pulse - Piano/Drum Composition

    Cool! To my ears, the drums sounded busy. Could be that they were overall a little too loud compared to the keys, or could be that individual instruments within the drum track needed to be given different volume levels (they all sounded equally loud to me), or could be that there were "too many notes". Good phrase building, though, and the piece definitely felt organic and had a direction. Good work! Gustav
  9. Gustav Johnson

    Swashbuckler Showdown

    Good sounds, well constructed and certainly fits the genre. Trying to imagine how this would be developed to fit other scenes with similar plot/character ideas ... I begin to get the impression that the character of your sound certainly would work, while the melodic content may not be strong enough as it is to withstand that sort of development. This is good work, I'm being nit picky, there are always things to improve! Gustav
  10. @Noah Brode I actually have no idea how to use other sound libraries. I only use the Sibelius default sounds. Any help with where to find information about that kind of thing? Also, I'm continuing to refine the piece - especially the drum and piano (and guitar) parts, with what you said in mind because I agree! What a fun project 🙂 Gustav
  11. Gustav Johnson

    SUMMER 2018 Competition: Results

    Good job, Noah.... 😄 Go for it, @Monarcheon. Most of my stuff I don't mind if people use it for free and without recognition. I'll work on the write-up this weekend that explains a little better the connection between my music's characters and the story's characters and the techniques I used to describe each. Gustav
  12. Gustav Johnson

    SUMMER 2018 Competition: Results

    Ditto to all of the above. I meant what I said in that these are helping me so much as a composer, and I can't find a substitute for them anywhere else. Thanks all, and good job @Ken320! Until next time? 🙂 Gustav
  13. Gustav Johnson

    The Emissary

    I've read the story, and the piece makes much more sense now. Beautiful to listen to. Firstly, let me say that I would love to have observed you as you made the audio for the prologue and epilogue - I'm fascinated by the sounds you used and the way you used them together, and would love to know how to do that. Secondly, electric clarinet?!?!?! Does that actually exist?!?!?! There are a few places where instruments are doing impossible (or at least highly irregular!) things, like the trombones hitting B's and C's above the Treble staff! Mind you I'm looking at the condensed score, so maybe that's not actually the trombones, but if so I'm not sure how possible that is. Stuff like that, but I have the impression this isn't meant to be performed live, rather performed via keyboards/etc. and mixed into a final track. In that case, do whatever the heck you want because computers can do anything. Compositionally, I don't have much to say because it's very good. The instrumental lines worked together quite well, each waiting as another moved or else complementing it in some way. I don't feel a solid melody take me until the Electric Clarinet finishes its eighth notes. Then things started to feel more melodic. Good violin line soon after, nice to have something to hold onto. Now you're wrapping up the prologue in a very satisfying way. Enter the violin and others, I'll be interested to hear how the others become affected by the violin melody, as your story suggests. Interesting harmonies and harmonic rhythms. I hear some of the violin work in the woodwinds/brass, that's nice, especially with the fragmentation. The separation (in pitch range and in texture) between backgrounds and melodic content helps to clarify things as I listen. Now I'm at the lighter section, more staccato. Nice! A beautiful change in character, well executed. Not sure I understand what point in the story it aligns with, except the general hopefulness as people join the music. This section is probably my favorite as a listener - it has an EXCELLENT balance in rhythmic movement and sustained sounds. What's with the new themes at K and beyond? They're nice and well executed, but unrelated except in style to the previous ideas - at least to my ear. Maybe there's some music theory thing I'm missing that ties them into the previous ideas. Beautiful ending, perfect for the story. Your work has made me reconsider the sounds of the Apocalypse, thank you! Good job, sir! Gustav Johnson
  14. Gustav Johnson

    Cataclysm (Summer 2018 Competition)

    This is good work, Noah. I like the themes and the way you build it/etc., so points there. A really nice contrast with the lyrical section in the middle. Watch for unconventional orchestration things (i.e. the flute in the lower range would be way covered up by the rest of the instruments accompanying it). The chords in the third section are truly awesome - they have the right character for an ending. I think that really highlights one of the strengths of this piece: your harmonic ideas. The melodic motifs were developed in as much as they were passed around, but you might have strengthened the development by choosing a snip of the motif and altering it as you developed. For example: On the last notes of this theme in the viola solo, you added sixteenth notes as you passed it around. Try maybe altering the interval between the third-to-last pitch and the penultimate pitch? Or altering the interval to get to the lowest pitch? Or something similar. The rhythmic ideas and harmonic ideas are good, and you made good use of instrumental "gestures". Strengthen the melodies (at least at points, doesn't need to be all the time!) so the audience has something a little more obvious to follow. Honestly I struggle with these skills a lot, too, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt! Loved listening, thanks for submitting! Gustav
  15. Thanks @Luis Hernández!