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Quinn

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Quinn last won the day on March 22

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About Quinn

Profile Information

  • Gender
    NA
  • Location
    UK
  • Interests
    Model making, Zumba, Electronics (design), playing music, small investor in the financial markets.
  • Favorite Composers
    Bruckner, Elisabeth Lutyens, Searle, Peter Mennin, Villa-Lobos - but I'm hugely influenced by the late works of the poet Stephane Mallarmé
  • My Compositional Styles
    Eclectic - mainly impressionist and/or atonal, sometimes light (tonal) music, will put my hand to anything that might be paid for or mentions on credits.
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Paper, 4b pencils, eraser.
  • Instruments Played
    (Adequate) Piano, Viola; (inadequate) oboe, horn.

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  1. Most of the topics leave people vulnerable to derisive comment from some members. It would have been nice to include something impersonal. Plus throwing judgement open to all members by vote.
  2. This evokes another point that I've pondered on. Is composing about process or result? (Again the same could be said of all art forms.) If a work is aimed at an audience the result is important. However there's plenty of evidence around that some composers derive much pleasure from the process of composing itself, then try the result on listeners and shrug at an indifferent reception, suggesting that process is more important to them. I'd listen to the BBC's "Hear and Now" broadcasts of a Saturday night - avant garde contemporary. My reactions varied but I wonder how many of those composers really knew what they'd composed. Had their work been commissioned by the BBC through contacts in academia? Did someone at the BBC sightread the score or tried it out on a piano if that was possible? The fact that errors in performance didn't matter finally dimmed my interest. Alas, too many were premières as well as dernières on the same night. I'm reminded of Pierre Boulez claiming that Messiaen's Liturgies were like "brothel music". WHAT.....? What kind of brothels did Boulez go to to find that out? I also remember he wrote a piece "Le Marteau sans Mâitre" roughly translated as "a hammer out of control". The music sounds like that too. Who of the music listening public remembers any of Boulez' music?
  3. This is true and the labels have purposes such as I suggested. They can help a public having a broad range of experience of the art but, as you say, rarely amuse the creators of the art. Any art form tended to develop upon tradition, evolve perhaps, until the turn of the 20th century when the old order was binned and attempts were made to lay new foundations. Unfortunately most artists/composers failed to realise that their wares are media for communication. If the recipient, the viewer or listener has no knowledge of the symbols being used then no communication can occur, like listening to or trying to read an unfamiliar language. Cage was right in declaring that people must just listen without expectation (or view). Fine, but unless the listener/viewer is accomplished at that, takes pleasure from it, it won't work. Traditional audiences are happier when art gives them some kind of pleasure, awakens emotions, moods, etc., that depends on several factors, predominantly their experience with conventions. .
  4. Perhaps a sign that I shouldn't be on a composer forum, a charlatan perhaps, but these labels seem to serve two purposes; - broad classifications to help music lovers out on an adventure to find new stuff (of a genre they like or a completely new one), like in olden times one went to a music shop and would know what browser to head for. - to give a living to all the hangers-on and groupies of the music world something to talk about. Those other than composers, performers and accountants who have to make sure their halls or distribution outfits stay in profit. My text book ranks people/jobs in descending importance to music: Impresarios, agents national broadcasters recording companies conductors virtuosos run-of-the-mill musicians critics and historians composers although it 'secretly' admits that composers are really the most important. I suppose it says the rest are musical eunuchs with critics being the real cancer feeding off the host. A term like 'post-modern' has me looking at my bull-ometer - the needle usually flicking into the red near the end-stop when I see/hear it. From what's been said here it seems like an amorphous mass that probably reverts to ante-modernism times (whatever that is) perhaps to a mix of earlier styles. All styles available? The rest convey nothing except possibly 'classical' which I take to mean Haydn and Mozart and their clones. I compose. I'm fairly eclectic so I haven't a clue what label's attached to me. Apropos the opening post I doubt it adds anything to the culture except to historians, perhaps critics, the music having to find a following if it can. Great when it can be sold as a fashion.
  5. Just an aside: A lot of people miss the point about Cage's 4'33". To me Cage was foremost a philosopher. What he wanted to show was that there's no such thing as silence. 4'33" does just that. His "Indeterminacy - New Aspects of Form in Instrumental and Electronic Music" could be brought into question alongside. What is it? 90 stories? Or a demonstration of indeterminacy in music? On first encountering these I was looking in parallel at Mallarmé's later work, Le Livre and Un Coup de Des so I was at the stage of just listening, reading, watching. We have to give these people the credit for being experimenters in the middle of that fashionable era. Hardly different from big band jazz fans facing those amazing works by Graettinger - This Modern World and The City of Glass - performed by Stan Kenton. Many such experiments just led up blind alleys. (I feel this about Webern.) Some persisted. Your second paragraph highlights the problems with live performance of avant garde works (to distinguish from post-whatever). Do composers know what they've composed? Do performance errors matter if they can't be noticed by an audience member not 100% familiar with the score? It marks the fact that the only reliable repeat performance can be via a recording. During such education as I had, I attended try-outs of student composers' works. Too often the conductor would play the piece then ask how the composer felt. Often the composer would say that it sounded fine, only to be picked to pieces by the conductor about missing or wrong entries, flawed timing, wrong notes and whatever, suggesting the composer didn't know their own work. They'd obviously spattered symbols on paper without any thought of what it musically meant. However, would that matter to an audience of those aficionados of this music. It would seem that the prime demand of a listener is to listen, not to expect or anticipate. Hence the issue that it communicates nothing other than the phenomenon itself: sound, sight. It hasn't the propensity to develop mood or emotion which the bulk of listeners seek out in music, i.e something at least metaphorically related to language and semiotics. .
  6. ^^^ Impossible to disagree with most of what you've said. Should your views be thought cynical that's because they're realistic and (at risk of using the term) "truthful". What you've said is how it really is. "Modern Art" - well as I said, it's all about money. If you can get enough art experts to push your wares you're in, all swathed in intellectual-sounding claptrap. Technology hasn't helped. Anyone can now fiddle around with a daw or notation software and a few samples and claim to be a composer. The sample market is loaded with superlatives - buy our product and you'll be the greatest composer born to this world. So even Vienna has come up with oven-ready orchestration - its Big Bang orchestra and the series that has spawned. Many others are at it. Join a few chunks in a sequencer, press the button and there's your instant film score.....except for 999 ‰ it'll get nowhere. But they do sell their stuff. Pre-made, just add water. Lego. Call that music? Well, technically it is but composing?
  7. Well...pretty good. The harmony at the outset was bold, not just the louder opening but the quieter bit up to 0'56". G major? What? It didn't stay in that for too long did it!? lol. Great stuff. But then..... The tune and accompaniment following were fine in themselves if a bit winter movie scene but didn't match how the piece started. However.....it all depends how you progress from here. The second idea might be just right as a contrasting subject. As the material stands I was expecting something even more outrageous after 0'65" ! Super harmonic progressions and that applies to the latter part too, if not quite as adventurous.
  8. Likewise. I can't just hand out my email until I know what it's about. I used to visit UE's shop in Gt Marlborough Street. Is it still there?
  9. To me these questions are among philosophical questions for which I can’t find an answer. The same could be asked about fiction, poetry, dance, contemporary film, spectator sports - perhaps even fine art. Basically there’s a human need to self-express or to exercise the imagination – part of a need to assert individuality maybe? Or there was. Film has stolen many people’s ability to visualise and imagine. For those lacking the creative spirit they’ll be entertained - perhaps a result of society constraining people’s lives so it helps take their minds off how vacuous their lives really are: work, rest, eat, sleep, etc. Does contemporary music have purpose? Do these empty lives have purpose? Culture or not, it’s to do with money. My text book “Bluff your way in Music” states very early, “music has long been officially recognised and installed as an Art. And anything that is an art is no longer a simple pleasure. Arts are a by-product of that general symptom of human decline called civilisation. Enjoyable pastimes become arts once money is involved.” Nice piece of cynicism, that – but like all such, it raises an unfortunate truth. So I suppose contemporary music is an enjoyable pastime. It has its following albeit a minor one. It enjoyed a burst of activity (maybe even fashion) during the 20th century – probably from around Schonberg until approx 1980 then reverted to minor interest. It was never a money-spinner, in Europe supported mostly by national broadcasters and philanthropists who financed specialised festivals. Its basic problem is semiotic or linguistic which is why it never reaches mainstream. It survives in academia because universities make it a money-spinner. People take degree courses believing they can learn to compose and these days it’s about contemporary sound organisation to make it seem at the cutting edge. Some graddies go on to compose but usually support themselves in a different trade/profession. Some just don’t bother. And some, like myself, react against the creative immorality – that creativity can be taught at all and try to find their own way to an enjoyable pastime. So…as it lives on donation, it’s only marginally relevant to whatever we assume our culture to be.
  10. It's the kind of music I'm happy to listen to - expecting nothing so fragments of tune and timbre are ok. All good. The only problem I had was I couldn't tell if it had been rendered with notation software which is notorious poor at giving what the composer wants. I tended to accept the work "as is" but have to wonder if the strings would be more prominent if played live.
  11. Agree fully. You bring up several more points. It's one reason I'll remain happier composing (basically) as a hobby. No sense turning a wonderful hobby into a godawful profession. Having said that, commissions occasionally come up with a deadline which, if reasonable, it doesn't hurt (me) to work with a bit of pressure. If someone offers me money or even a dinner out or two I'll take it obviously. One recently came my way but has been scuppered by this virus thing. But as it also involves an amateur group it'll just get deferred until next year now. I also go along with your sentiment about composing for full orchestra. I play in an ensemble drawn mostly from our town orchestra. It's no big deal as an orchestra, mostly amateurs but with a few ex-pros - retired or redundant and determined to keep playing. So the pros and a couple of good students got together, a basic core of about 8 and I write for them. I'm the worst player but that's an aside. I suppose we've all got used to acoustic instruments played through loud speakers but I still enjoy live music. It's a lesson for people to have to prepare their works - coaxing the ensemble to get the sound you want (or admitting you got it wrong and changing things), get the balance right and things. Challenging at times especially if you have a mischief-maker among them. One has to know one's score. I'd encourage any new composer to learn to play an (orchestral) instrument to an adequate standard to start or join an ensemble. The admin can be a bit heavy and there are usually out-of-pocket expenses, but they're part of it. Not only are they promoting live music but able to have their works performed hopefully with public exposure.
  12. I had a look at the Horn parts myself and you'd be perfectly ok with a "period orchestra" that would have crooks in both Cs. It would be tiring for a player with an F/Bflat horn but it could be done with a triple horn: F/Bflat/high F, the sort that horn players specialising in Handel-type music use. It's useful to visualise (or on a separate piece of paper) what the transposition for an F horn would look like. It'll give you some idea of what you're expecting. Prolonged playing at or above high G (transposed) would be very tiring. But as I say, on a triple horn these things are possible.
  13. It's probable that most of us are dissatisfied with some of our work some of the time but we have to move forward. Most of us "get better" as we do unless we're stuck in a rut. It may not always seem that way but in small ways each new work is new experience building on what we've already done. It took Beethoven roughly 30 years to get from his first symphony to his ninth and we see massive development throughout. Who would have thought that Beethoven's last String Quartet (Op 135) came from the same composer as Für Elise? I still recommend you look for a daw. Have a look at Reaper. For small businesses and lone composers it's very reasonably priced and has an excellent midi editor....not so good at producing a notation view though. So...well, try to be positive. You have every reason to be. If you've decided you're going to hate all you compose you'll hit problems sooner or later, be discouraged from experimenting and developing your own voice. The good: you completed this movement; good: you've acquired much knowledge and skill. You can be optimistic about starting a new work and view any struggles as strengths as you overcome them. Most of us, I bet, get frustrated when things don't seem to go right. And I, for a start don't like about half the stuff in my 'catalogue'. I haven't thrown it in the musical recycle bin in case I ever have time to see if anything can be rescued from it. I've become a cut-and-paste, split-and-splice merchant to be sure. But then, there's always something about which I can feel some satisfaction - and that urges me on. I hope it's the same for you. .
  14. Interesting, because sample library houses capitalise on this weirdity - they all seem to claim with their syrupy seductive superlatives that THEIR product will make you the greatest cinematic composer that walked God's (or Whoever's) Earth. But I wonder why? At best film music is incidental. Unless they become very famous film composers are basically hacks destined to write to order. They relinquish artistic control. Very little of their works stand in their own right (say, as concert pieces) beyond "the OST album." And these days there's an unfortunate sameness about so many film scores. You find it here, young aspirants trying to emulate the formula. It differs from a non cinematic commission (e.g. a BBC commission) over which a composer has far more control: the composer chosen in their own right, usually not to produce incidental music. I personally hate film music to the extent I rarely watch films made in the past 20 years now. You get an action scene and you know what's going to happen. On comes the manic drumming usually with a big reverb; then the angry horns blazing away in their upper register; then the deep trombones....maybe some fiddlers fiddling away over the top...all to accompany gunfire, explosions, vehicle noises, people barking orders; hollywood smacks, aliens growling, the lot, a complete mash up of sound. My fervent wish is that the music could be put on a sub-channel so it can be turned off. Give me a film like Lone Survivor - musicless. I was in contact with a composer, Chris Willis, who was invited to work with Hans Zimmer. He trolled off to Hollywood and hated it. The pay and work conditions were poor and the system was Hans Zimmer or one of his accolytes produced a short score and handed it over to the orchestrators who presumably beavered away at their daws and sample sets. Same, a music teacher friend who worked on a game. Soul destroying he says. So while there are those who deify film composers (and perhaps the famous ones rightly deserve it) people in-the-know tend to look on it as a sweat shop. .
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