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About Hughes

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Elham, Kent, UK
  • Occupation
    I have a small-holding
  • Favorite Composers
    Vivaldi, Beethoven, Sibelius, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Olivier Messiaen, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Peter Maxwell-Davis, Arvo Part, John Adams, Philip Glass
  • My Compositional Styles
    Too new to composition to know: I am trying out everything. especially Interested in jazz, folk-song, minimalist music, and electronic music.
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
  • Instruments Played
    Ukulele, guitar.

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  1. jumbalo I have now listened to your piece more than half a dozen times. Broadly, I find it enjoyable, emotionally upbeat, and if the title of the piece is anything to go by, fits well the category of 'corporate' music. I don't experience it as silly at all, and I am wondering what makes you think that it is. I am not sure what you mean by "indirect". I like the range of instruments you have used, and they sound as though they fit the category. I like the use short notes (pointillism), which also fits the category. I like the fact that you bring in longer notes towards the end of the piece, giving some sense of progression. I like the quieter way you start the piece, and build up its richness. I like the fact that you have subtle variations constantly being introduced throughout. I am fairly sure that I understand what you were attempting with the 'middle section', and I like it a lot. It introduces interest without departing completely from the 'loop'. Personally, I think you rush through the middle section. I would want to expand it, and introduce the ideas in the counter-rhythms a little more gradually so you take the listener with you. The only thing that started to irritate me was the heaviness of the two drumbeats. (The more gentle, single drumbeat during the introduction was absolutely fine.) The image I have is of being presented with a nicely cooked meal, and then someone smothering it in tomato ketchup. I found that I was having to mentally block out the heavy drumbeats in order to listen to what else was going on. Looping as a technique is something that interests me, not least because I very much enjoy the music of Philip Glass and John Adams. My sense is that, if you can work out how to move forward your ideas using looping techniques, your piece, and others like it that you may yet write, have a lot of potential. Good luck.
  2. Rabbival507 Sorry that I am coming to this posting late. (I had not previously looked in this forum.) The fragment is delightful, and there are many aspects of it that I like very much. In particular, I like the path taken by successive notes: it is not a well-worn path, and sounds wonderful. I guess that this is due to the Miyako-Bushi scale (of which I had not previously heard, but have since read about online). However, in my almost completely untutored opinion, I associate the piece more with 1960s jazzy flute music (which I like) than with traditional Chinese or Japanese music that I have listened to (and which, if I am honest, I have found rather demanding). I think that my opinion is coloured both by your use of a piano, which gives the piece a richness (that I like), and by the rhythms of the piece, which are attractive. The 'ending' resolution sounds very western to my ear. A Japanese aesthetic would have it as feeling more melancholy and less resolved. Here are two YouTube uploads that are unalloyed Japanese music: Whilst the lyrical flute does evoke the wind, the trilled flute sounds like birdsong. (I might use that idea myself, as I have a longstanding interest in birdsong.) At least on the equipment I am using, the sound of the cello is not clearly distinguished from that of the piano. My humble opinion would be that if you want some of your music to sound more Far Eastern, then you may need to write for appropriate instruments, such as the shakuhachi and koto. On the other hand, I like what you are doing with this fragment, and I should very happy to listen to more.
  3. Hughes


    Unusual, to my ear. Interesting. There is much that I do not understand. For example, what is the purpose / meaning of the spoken words? Why are the spoken words first in English, and then at the end in German? Maybe the questions are the point. I did have a sense that the spoken German brought the piece (even if actually only a fragment) to a close.
  4. Hughes

    The Prodigy

    Gregory Carnage, thank you for uploading this composition. I enjoyed listening to it. It is lively and fun, and I suspect that a badly-behaved Mozart would have approved.
  5. Hughes

    Again Again

    epii, as a ukulele player myself, I was, at least in spirit, playing along with you while listening to the piece. I loved the run-downs, and wondered what they (the chords) were. I am envious of you getting to play your ukulele with musicians using other instruments: I am limited either to massed ukuleles (who refuse to consider the inclusion of other instruments), or playing at home accompanied by my wife on her flute. The arrangement on here of your piece is post-rebalancing and so sounds perfect. One question: why did you choose an even strum pattern, rather than choose a strum pattern (or patterns) to bring out some of the off-beats?
  6. Hughes

    You And I

    Bryla, this piece sounds so totally authentic that I wanted it to be from a movie of which I could buy the DVD. Nothing sounds out of place or superfluous. It is as though you know this kind of music inside out - and from the fact that you say that you wrote it in a couple of hours, I guess that you really do know the genre very well indeed. I enjoyed it a lot. Well done.
  7. Hughes

    Never In A Million Years

    epii, I enjoyed listening to this instrumental song. It does have something of a Beatles ambience, and I was actually reminded of one or two tracks on Revolver (if you know it). Like some of the other comments above, I thought that the bass side was a little heavy. I should also have preferred the flute to have felt a little more nimble. I particularly enjoyed some of the lovely chord sequences and transitions (which is something at which the Beatles excelled). More, please. By the way, I had no problem with Box.com: an online client loaded and I was able to play the piece without further ado.
  8. Hughes

    Fire (Fire Fire)

    JBegly, what a fantastic song! In my view it is an obvious candidate for the opening credits music for the next Bond movie. If I had not encountered your song on this website, I should have been trying to work out which Bond movie I haven't yet watched. Well done.
  9. Hughes

    The Coastal Zone

    Mark, your piece (and its score) demonstrate very clearly that you are considerably more accomplished at composition than I am. Therefore, any feedback I can offer you is purely subjective and should not be generalised. I very much like not only the melody but also the ambience of this piece. It sounds like music that has no wish flamboyantly and ostentatiously to flounce around calling unwarranted attention to itself, and I admire that greatly. I aspire to being able to achieve that. I was puzzled about why you kept swapping instruments. Some of the time, I heard wonderful separation of high, mid-range and low registers, that obviously requires different instruments. Some of the time I heard different textures and timbres, also requiring different instruments (it sounded like there was a Hammond organ in there, albeit fleetingly). Some of the time I was unable to work out why you added some instruments and removed others. My temptation, admittedly out of near total ignorance, would be to limit the range of instruments a little in any one movement, and to divide the piece into several discrete movements. I've probably missed the point of what you were attempting to achieve, in which case ignore what I have written.
  10. Hughes

    The Last One

    The piece is wonderful. The fourth movement is utterly amazing. Your creativity is breathtaking. Please keep composing. Regarding your national armed service: stay safe, and mazel tov.
  11. Hughes

    Valley Blues

    Luis Hernandez, I am grateful that you have taken the time to listen to the piece. Thank you kindly for your comments. It is only from feedback and constructive criticism that I can learn - and I wish to learn. In what I am about to write, my intention is to be exploratory, not defensive. If what I write here sounds defensive, please accept my apologies. I think you are absolutely right: the piece does sound rather mechanical. I have tried to replicate the sense of some of the live jazz/blues music that I have listened to, which, to my ear, sounds more than a little mechanical. Part of my intention was to write a piece that fits into its genre. What I am unable to do is assess whether what I have written does indeed fit into the genre, and sounds mechanical because of that, or if it sounds mechanical because I am not yet capable of composing in this genre in a more interesting way. The double bass is indeed in 'walking mode' throughout (with the odd 'hop'). This is because when I have listened to this kind of music, the drum beat is relentless. As I chose to use the double bass as the source of the beat, I did not see that I had much choice. I know that a plucked double bass is unable to produce meaningful sound when played too fast, so short notes are out. The other possibility for variation in timing was to leave out some notes, but I thought that this would disturb the source of the beat (for a live band). I also realise that in using the term 'walking mode', you may be referring to the fact that the double bass never carries the melody. In my previous piece (Latin Jazz), there were sections in which the double bass did carry the melody. I am wondering if you think that doing so (in Latin Jazz) was more successful than not doing so in Valley Blues. The idea of the brushed drums was based on what I have listened to live. However, I varied the rhythm, so that no stanza has an identical drum rhythm. Part of my rationale was to offer variety (more interesting), but at the same time, by using quieter percussion, not disturb 'the source of the beat'. From what you have written, I guess that you consider it would have been better to emphasise a rhythmic drumbeat and allow the double bass to be more melodic. You are absolutely correct that, in some places, I have provided no breathing pauses for the clarinet. I had a sense that something was wrong, but I was unable to identify it. My bad! Thank you for identifying it for me. Regarding syncopation, I did two things. First, I had been actively encouraged to establish norms first, from which to depart later. It may be that I have been (far) too thorough in establishing the beat, and given insufficient time for what is more interesting. Second, there are places in the piece, once those norms have been established, where I have used the piano left hand (bass clef stave) to find different off-beats. (Of all aspects of the piece, this is the aspect with which I was most satisfied.) I am guessing, therefore, that in mentioning syncopation, you are thinking of more-fully developed counter-rhythms, and not simply off-beats. Have I been successful in not being defensive? One other point. I realise that I have been totally stupid. I have posted this piece (Valley Blues) and my previous piece (Latin Jazz) in the Chamber Music Forum (which is where I posted my first piece (May Melody)). I never thought to check to see whether there is a Jazz Forum - which there is. Do you know whether it is possible to move my two later pieces/postings into the Jazz Forum? If so, do you think that it would be sensible for me to request that they are moved? I am sincerely grateful for all your comments, and will do my best to act on them.
  12. Hughes

    Valley Blues

    Another month, another composition. This time a 16 bar blues. Why? One reason is that I wanted evoke the spirit of the kind of music in British new wave ('kitchen sink') movies. That gave me a brief, and therefore required a discipline that has been absent until now. Much though I might enjoy being a free-spirit at play, maybe it is important to learn something of the discipline of a well-established structure - and then play around with it. I have been encouraged by contributors to this forum to make use of structure and to be more disciplined, so here is a piece in which I have tried to do that. I began with the 16 bar chord sequence (from which I did not deviate) on the treble clef stave of the piano. I added the double bass, using this as my almost unwavering timing. I could have used drums, but that seemed too run-of-the-mill. However, I still wanted a percussive contrast to the double bass both in timbre, and to find off-beats, which is where the brushed cymbal came in. To provide a centre of attention I required an instrument that would reach into the upper registers, and whilst a tenor saxophone would have been the obvious, more lyrical choice, a B flat clarinet seemed less ostentatious, and fitted better with the kitchen sink movie idea. The line I wrote last was that on the bass clef stave for the piano. These last two parts (clarinet and bass hand on the piano) were undoubtedly the most demanding and most interesting: bending the beat and trying to challenge the chords. These are where my interest currently lies, and about which I have most to learn. Is this the type of thinking in which other people engage when starting on a new composition? I made the conscious choice to repeat the 16 bars using each of the different chord inversions for the F7 chord, trying to 'bring out' something distinctive about that inversion. Do you consider that the idea worked? If not, what would you have done differently? One of the things about which I am unsure is whether it worked where I used the clarinet almost as a percussive instrument. I like the sound of it, but I am worried that it sounds silly. Was I right to use the double bass, instead of drums, as the steady pulse throughout the piece? (I learned from my previous piece (Latin Jazz) that double basses do neither really short notes nor fine precision rests.) I greatly value constructive feedback as it may be the only way I can become more skilled at composition.
  13. Hughes

    Two pieces for Harp

    Both pieces are superb, in my opinion. The first piece is easier to listen to. The second piece reminded me a little of some of the piano pieces of Erik Satie. Both pieces bring about a mood that is somewhat lonely and detached from the enforced extroversion of our modern world. I suppose what I am saying is that the two pieces open up a window into a different world. Well done.
  14. Hughes


    The piece is very attractive and easy to listen to. As a previous commenter wrote, the balance between the piano and 'cello is excellent. I did not experience the (9 minute) piece as too long, at least partly because it kept moving. I should have preferred were the piece to have had more tension which could then have been resolved. It also seemed to be at only one tempo (although I might be incorrect about that), whereas some greater variation in tempo might have introduced some fresh interest. I was left wondering if you have received commissions for movie scores, and if not, why not?
  15. Regarding the nocturne, I enjoyed this greatly. I could hear all sorts of things happening in it, but I do not have the vocabulary to express what I heard. I liked the chords being pushed a long way into dissonance, making it all the sweeter when the dissonance was resolved. Mostly I heard the dissonance on the piano, but also occasionally between the viola and the 'cello. The piece is richly romantic, and I shall listen to it again on future occasions. Regarding the romance, it sounded less complex than the nocturne. Very satisfying. Would I be way off the mark if I mentioned the name of Sergei Rachmaninoff as an influence? (Please don't take offence.)