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Tónskáld

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Tónskáld last won the day on July 18

Tónskáld had the most liked content!

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About Tónskáld

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Iceland/United States
  • Occupation
    Something non-musical
  • Interests
    Writing music, playing piano, being outdoors, traveling
  • Favorite Composers
    Bach, Gerswhin, Grieg, Sibelius
  • My Compositional Styles
    Neo-Romantic, Northern European/Scandinavian
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius, Spitfire Labs (VSL)
  • Instruments Played
    Piano, viola, clarinet, flute, French horn

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  1. I loved this piece... very impressionistic and Scandinavian in sound! Your orchestration was gentle and restrained, slowly building and slowly falling. It drew me in; I couldn't stop listening! Keep up the great work, and I hope to hear more of your stuff in the future!
  2. I agree with Luis; it's a little too lyrical to be considered impressionism. It is, however, a really nice listen! I especially enjoyed the stepwise chromatic passages in the middle. About the scoring, just a couple of notes (no pun intended). Starting at measure 18, you give the first beat an accent AND a marcato marking. I would just do one or the other. By definition, a marcato will be accented enough, so no need to clutter up the score with extraneous markings. You also have some "sixth runs" in the right hand, which are hard enough at decent speeds but well nigh impossible at the breakneck tempo of this piece. I would simplify any passages with sixteenth notes to just one note, or at least only two notes every other beat. Overall, great job! Looking forward to hearing more of your stuff!
  3. We're all too familiar with Ionian and Aeolian modes, so I'll skip those in this post. The Mixolydian mode isn't too difficult to hear in the home key, and there are plenty of examples of this mode. A lot of blues songs and even traditional Irish music use it. The 'Fellowship Theme' from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack by Howard Shore is in Mixolydian mode. A lot of flamenco (what our ears perceive as 'Spanish' music) is in Phrygian mode. It sounds pretty exotic and exciting, though it 'feels' like a song in the relative minor. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTXa6FFnPI0) This song isn't purely in Phrygian mode, but you can hear the exoticism when it happens. C Dorian also sounds like C minor, but the raised sixth gives it an "ancient" feel. The traditional English song, "The Cuckoo" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPIC9-hGptw is in Dorian mode.) Rather beautiful, in my opinion. Lydian mode is less common although you can hear bits of it in this mazurka by Chopin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK07kKSMQC0. Although this piece is a modified Lydian mode, pure Lydian mode doesn't have a minor feel to it. (The Polish mazurka is traditionally in Lydian mode.) That leaves Locrian mode, the strangest and least-used of all modes. Nobody really employed it until the 20th century, because... well, it's built on a dissonant tonal chord. To human ears, there's no finality to the 'tonic' Locrian chord so writing a song in this mode served no purpose until the "anything goes" mindset of modern music. So, I can't answer your question about whether this modal perception comes about because of our dependence on the circle of fifths. But maybe this will help—the 'major-sounding' modes are Ionian (of course), Mixolydian and Lydian. The 'minor-sounding' modes are Aeolian (of course), Phrygian, and Dorian. And then there's Locrian, which sounds like straight dissonance. I hope this all made sense... let me know if you have further questions!
  4. Is there a score for this??? I want to see if I can play it on piano. Sounds rather difficult from the recording, but ya never know...
  5. Beautiful piece, very emotional and delicate! I like how the deep rumblings contrast with the tinkling high notes, as if foreboding something ominous (like winter, perhaps). The piece is aptly named, good job! Musically, however, it's a little confusing. I'm not entirely sure if we're in A-flat major or F minor, since you rely heavily on non-tonic notes throughout. (If that was your intent, then I congratulate you!) There were also some chromatics that jarred my ear a little, as if they didn't belong (the trill in measure 15 and the C-flat in the following measure are examples). These are just my personal preferences and don't necessarily reflect on poor composition skills. You're obviously very talented at creating emotional piano pieces, and I love hearing your stuff on this site! Keep up the good work!
  6. Saw someone else embed their SoundCloud file, and it sounded (lol) like a good idea... get song listens and feedback at the same time! Please note: this is not a live recording; even though the instruments may sound real, they're not. I realize this is a rather long piece, but any feedback is helpful. My thoughts for each movement are as follows: The first movement is meant to be stark and rather ambient, with the calls and responses from the different instruments representing the echoes of a vast, bleak landscape. You'll notice the viola rarely fights with the orchestra—this is intended to portray a single voice playing alone in the vastness. The second movement is quite melancholic, full of yearning for things that will never be. It's like the neverending cycle of winter and spring; you'll notice some "warm" passages against the "cold." There are large swaths of the music where the solo viola doesn't play—this was on purpose, as I'm giving the violist as much rest as I can before the ferocious finale. The finale has a much freer tempo than the previous two movements, and you may also notice the viola struggles fiercely with the orchestra here. This movement is fast and furious, with lots of spiccato digs and triple stops. The music ebbs and flows a little until the buildup to the end where the surprising switch to a major key brings the orchestra to its loudest moments in the entire work. Then there's an even faster coda that rounds out the piece with crashing cymbals, blasting brass, soaring strings, and whistling woodwinds. The final four notes hearken back to the opening notes of the movement. Thanks in advance for your helpful input! (I attached the score to this post, too, for ease of reference... it was originally buried in one of the earlier posts in this thread.) Even if you don't feel like you have anything "musical" to say about it, I always love hearing how the piece made you feel! Yfirsést - Full Score.pdf
  7. Oh, so you can write for woodwinds. Where was this guy in the Sea Symphony? This piece... phenomenal! So much movement, so much emotion, so much Mendelssohn. Either you've listened to a lot of his music, or he has been reborn as you. Either way, this was some fantastic orchestral writing right here. I do have a couple of suggestions. You might have a look at some orchestral scores to get a better feel for how the woodwinds are typically scored. Most orchestras have two or three wind players to each instrument (the same goes for brass), and they'll often write divisi passages for them, or notate them as a2 if both parts are playing in unison. Nothing a little research can't fix! Also, transpose. That trumpet is playing some awfully high notes... not sure if playing a high C# (B natural untransposed) is feasible with such soft dynamics during the menuet section. Also, the arco/pizz fiasco strikes again. You know what to do. 😉 But overall I was overwhelmed. I loved how you brought back the menuet passage and used the other theme (or its variation) as counterpoint. You seem to have a good mind for hearing how things will sound with the different voices of the orchestra—and that is a rare gift, indeed. I find your music quite refreshing. Please, keep making more!
  8. Well, I love your attitude and wish you the best of luck!
  9. So after listening to your Sea Symphony, I decided to see if you'd posted any other music here... looks like you've been busy! You apparently are moved by the same musical "spirit" that moves me; your pieces resonate with me. Like, a lot. This one was no exception. I loved this! The harmonies and chords were unexpected but not distasteful—they followed the natural course of the human ear. There were a couple of passages where an arco was followed immediately by a pizz... that won't be playable... maybe give a slight rest at the end before that final pizz. Stupid humans only have two hands. Why must we consider their physical limitations when the spirit moves us? Again, fantastic job with thematic development! There are many budding composers out there (and seasoned, as well) that cause me to wonder if maybe their music has taken a wrong turn, but yours has a clear destination in mind and lots of gorgeous scenery on the way. Keep up the great work!
  10. To be honest, I don't normally listen to pieces longer than 2 or 3 minutes posted on here, but I had to listen to yours the entire way through! You didn't rely heavily on key and time signature changes to drive your piece (a common practice among modern composers, it seems), and for that I congratulate you heartily! The thematic development was handled expertly, and I loved the way you repeated the motifs with the various timbres of the orchestra. Through the crashing waves and pulsing currents, I caught some echoes of Mendelssohn—perhaps an influence of yours? If you're up for some advice... please read on. The woodwinds. For whatever reason, new-to-the-scene orchestral composers don't seem to know what to do with them. (Trust me, I'm right there with you.) Or it's probably more accurate to say that we know better what to do with the string and brass sections, which largely carried the melodies/harmonies in your piece. I noticed that when you did use winds, they almost always doubled what was happening in the string/brass section. Forgive the pun, but that will drown them out. While I'm composing, I have to stop after each phrase to see if I've "left out the woodwinds again." You might find that practice useful, as well. So how do you use woodwinds? Remember that they're very versatile and they have a wide range of beautiful timbres the other sections can only dream of having. A solo passage with any of the main winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon) can be a very effective way of developing your themes—and sending chills down your listeners' spines. During tutti passages (where leaving the woodwinds out just seems inconsiderate) you might think about having the woodwind section play alternate rhythms from the rest of the orchestra. For example, if the tutti passage is mostly half or quarter notes, have the woodwinds play some counterpoint in eight or sixteenth notes. Nothing too "out there," or you'll ruin the effect, but I think you'll find it really thickens the passage. If you do choose to keep the woodwinds in the same rhythm structure, at least minimize how much doubling they'll be doing. Give them cool harmonies of their own! Don't forget to post a transposed score on here. It's a simple button click with Sibelius, and I'm sure was just an oversight on your part. The horn and trumpet parts were pushing the limits of their upper registers, but still seemed very playable. (I must say, as a violist, I would like to have see more viola-driven melodies—but, hey, we're used to being overlooked. 😂) Sorry for all the wordiness in my criticisms—makes it seem like I hated the piece. I actually really, really enjoyed it, and I think you show tons of promise as an orchestral writer. You're obviously very gifted at writing music that connects with the human soul (mine, at least). I look forward to watching your distinct musical voice develop and hearing more of what you've written!
  11. Outdated, schmoutdated! It's quite astounding, really, to think that composers of the mid-to-late 20th century declared that the milenniae of music before them was outmoded and primeval. Like with most postmodern movements, their school of thought conflicted with what we consider to be 'natural'—in this case, the tonal intervals perceived by the human ear. Twelve-tone music, serialism, atonality, whatever you want to call it—it's an interesting (and sometimes useful) construct, but it greatly diminishes the beauty of music, in my opinon. Rather than flow with my soul, it goes against its grain. I'm not saying it's bad music, I'm just saying it's not beautiful. To me. But, like you said, each to their own. I'm glad to see there are still composers out there who create music "the old-fashioned way."
  12. I remember listening to this gem on Soundcloud, Mark! Your command of the various timbres of the orchestra is nothing short of masterful. A breath of fresh air amid the cold, analytical serialist pieces of most modern composers. Great job! I look forward to hearing more of your work!
  13. Cool! Yeah, I printed out La Primavera and played the accompaniment on the piano to see how it felt. Some of the notes from bars 8-13 just aren't playable. I would suggest getting rid of those middle E's and adding some harmonies a sixth below the top notes. I've attached a PDF that might be useful—just added a little spice to the left hand and shortened the intervals in the right hand. The trick is figuring out what chord Vivaldi was writing and adding in those notes when needed. True, it may not be an exact representation of the orchestration, but where's the fun in copying and pasting? 😉 Seriously though, there is an art to this, so have fun with it! Hope this helps!
  14. This... was phenomenal! Very Holst-like in its harmonies and rhythms, but I definitely heard the schoolyard playfulness there. Superb job!!!
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