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SSC last won the day on August 26

SSC had the most liked content!

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About SSC

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    LOL Dispencer

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    Attack on Alpha Base! Captain Starr's Last Stand!!
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    The Threat of the inviso-vampires from Jupiter XII!!
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    Amazing! The First Voyage of the S.S. Proton!
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    Peril in the Caves of Planet X!
  • My Compositional Styles

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  1. SSC

    "Split personality" in music

    So, let me unpack this cuz that's a pretty long novel you wrote there. Why would you want to say either of those things? Is something or someone pressuring you to do so? It's OK to not define everything perfectly, specially since many things can't be defined. Maybe you have moments where one is true, and moments where the other is true instead. There is no way to think of a right perspective that works 100% of the time here because you can change as well and they change with you. I graduated from a conservatory in Germany but my teacher's approach to composition classes was, in a nutshell, "Are you being as effective as possible in writing what you think is best?" (trick question, only I could answer this and it's a tough question to answer!) This is agnostic to the type of music as sometimes I would show up with techno tracks I Was writing for a game project, or some music-concrete thing, or what have you. The first thing I learned was that "language is irrelevant," in the context of our lessons. Otherwise, this is like saying only the good painters use the color red, so everyone who wants to be good should paint stuff in red. I'm sorry that you had such a bad and distorted view of composition during your studies and I know you're not the only one, it's just that you can't "teach" composition and many teachers don't realize this. You can teach work ethics, you can teach patience, you can teach musicology and all that other stuff, but at the end of the day you are the boss of what you write and nobody can take that away from you. They can and will judge you, but that's part of being a musician so let's not be surprised nor hindered by this. My teacher, if anything, encouraged me to bring EVERYTHING I wrote to him, because it was all composition and it was all work. I never had to write anything in secret or feel I was being looked down upon if what I wrote was in a style or language he didn't like. His job wasn't to tell me what to write, it was to make sure I was conscious of what I was writing and to basically be someone I could talk to about stuff related to the process. This proved invaluable to me. and So, I'll tell you a little story from this very forum almost a decade ago. I ran a contest for who could write the worst possible composition. Literally, that was the thread. To participate, you just had to write something you hated, you thought was terrible and horrible and send it my way. You know what happened? That's the thread. It turns out, that it's very hard to write something you "hate" and keep hating it after you wrote it. It's weird right? It's as if, once you go through the trouble of putting it into paper and so on, composing it, you kind of start to see it in a different light. Stuff you hated, well, may not be that bad after all, maybe? I mean it IS your baby, terribly deformed and evil as it may be, it still is your baby. What you describe is really what happens. People's perspectives change, as you say, the way they listen to things is different and it depends greatly on many things that have nothing to do with the music. Sometimes people go to concerts expecting to hate something, and it colors their view of it. Sometimes they are surprised, but in the end all this affects what music does to you in quite a substantial way. I'm afraid in these matters there are no "answers," but rather you slowly grow to understand people (psycho-acoustics, cognitive science, psychology,) and can come up with a better understanding of how things work. It doesn't actually change anything, but it did help me come up with fun exercises that really did change people's minds on things they never thought they would. All they had to do was, you know, give it a shot. But I guess nobody teaches that, huh?
  2. Just open up your music notation software (or take a blank staff page and a pencil if you're ol'skool) and start writing. Just start writing. Don't stop composing, don't think you have "a block." No, maybe the ideas you immediately put to paper are trash (or maybe not,) but give it a few minutes! Keep working, and work hard. Even if you don't produce super masterpieces, the actual work doesn't go wasted as you may run into stuff you DO like that you wouldn't have written if you just sat around and asked these questions on internet forums, right? Composing is 90% sweat and 10% creativity. Work and work hard!
  3. SSC

    How to "practice" composition?

    This is a good question because it comes down how serious you are about actually "getting better." The key thing is to remember that "practice" when composing means a lot more than doing exercises or copying things, it means actually pushing yourself constantly out of your comfort zone. For that, you need to first find out where your limitations are and that's when exercises can be useful. Let's say, for example, that I give you an exercise as follows: Compose a bridge between piece A by famous composer to piece B by another famous composer. Let's say you do some Beethoven Sonata to some small piece by Satie. You have 20 measures to do it (and you can't cut or add measures) and the rest is up to you. This kind of exercise is a way to check your skills in many different areas and to see where you are lacking. Maybe your analysis technique is lacking, maybe you can't keep your ideas within a set limit, maybe your ideas are too short, and so on. Once you do this kind of exercise 4 or 5 times, bridging different kinds of pieces, you'll be much better equipped to see what you need to work on.
  4. SSC

    Prelude in E for piano

    I think you're in the wrong subforum!
  5. You misunderstood. I mean the actual performance itself. If I write something like a minuet in G major (19th century style), it's unlikely anyone will consider it experimental since the result is going to be very similar to other minuets written in a similar style. Now if I write a piece where it just says "Play this note for as long as possible," the actual performance has quite a few unknown elements to them. The latter would classify as experimental while the former would not, imo. I should also add that not because something has some predictable elements it takes away from the experimental nature of a piece. After all, if you wrote something for dog whistle, it's unlikely you could actually hear it, but it doesn't make the piece any less experimental since there are other (unforeseen) things that can happen because of this.
  6. SSC

    Depicting things in music

    Write "As Art" in bold type letters on your music score. Expert musicians will immediately recognize this and throw the piece in the trash interpret it as the composer intended: quite full of art!
  7. I adopted the following definition: This has served me pretty well since. It also avoids the problem of "experimental music" sounding like anything specific. Instead, the idea is to focus on the concept that in an experiment you aren't sure of what the outcome will be. This of course should be seen as extending beyond simply saying all written music is experimental because the performance may contain errors thus it is impossible to be certain of the musical result. On the other hand, it does highlight just how fragile the idea of music being this monolithic concrete thing is. Even playback from a CD that has the music with "No errors," can have an infinite number of variations depending on the speakers used and room acoustics, etc.
  8. SSC

    Questions about the Pipe Organ

    Sure. Depends on what organ you are playing (writing for.) You cannot count that each organ will have those stops, nor have them in the same configuration and style. IF you write stops, write them as indications of the type of sound you want, rather than something concrete. Yes. Modern organs are built for this with lots of stop combination change buttons and so on. Unless you're writing for a historical organ which has the stops away from the organist, then this isn't a problem. Depends on the organ style and construction. Modern organs can couple everything with everything else, but a 18th century German baroque organ maybe can't. Also, coupling is best left to the discretion of the organist. Instead, write which stops you want and let them figure out how to play them together (or if possible at all.) No. You have two choices when it comes to dynamics. Either you use the swell box (Vierne was pretty fond of this effect) or you simply act out your dynamic in terms of stop changes. Remember: The organ's construction does not allow for keyboard-activated dynamics like in a piano. The other much much less common third option is to use an organ that can "half activate" stops. Some modern organs can do this, but also many older ones too. You need to check for yourself if this is possible where you're playing. I wouldn't count on it tho in writing, but you can write it anyway just in case someone can do it. If unsure, just write normal dynamic marks and let the organist deal with how to do them! That's probably what will end up happening anyway. I've seen this done in different ways, but often you can just stick that information above the staff. Name of the stop is enough, as you don't know which manual that stop can be at, or if the organist can couple it, or whatever other organ-specific thing may happen. Remember: Organs are annoying to write for because almost each instrument is unique. Don't give information that's too specific, such as which manual. It's much better to just write what your idea of dynamic/timbre should be like and let the organist deal with it. If you can write stops, that should be good enough. Yes. If you have further questions, I'd rather you went and looked at organ scores from Louis Vierne as he's pretty good at it, I'd say. He often writes what registers should be on what manual/pedal directly above the staff and then indicates inside the staff where the changes should happen.
  9. SSC

    Discussion of long composition

    Mr Stravinsky pointed out that: I tend to violently agree with him. As for the Sonata form and other forms, they are there as tools to make "filler" as to allow your ideas to breathe a little. That way you don't have to keep coming up with new motives and harmonies every two measures, but if you want to do that there's nothing stopping you either. It all depends on why you would fixate yourself on the length of the piece rather than its content, which I find much more important.
  10. SSC

    Drone music, thoughts and ideas?

    If I had to translate labels, I'd say electro-acoustic spectral music is a pretty much what you would end up classifying most "drone rock" music as. Consequently, you can look that kind of music up if you like drone rock and see a lot of similar-sounding music, just with a different name. A good place to start is with stuff like "Medium II" from Iancu Dumitrescu, which is for solo double bass. Another similar piece is "Music On A Long Thin Wire" by Alvin Lucier. There's a good deal of overlap in places that at first sight don't seem to be related at all. As for me, the only band I've actually listened to that qualifies is Sunn O))), but I didn't think much of it when I listened years ago. The whole "death monk" getup was cute tho, I have to say.
  11. SSC

    Young Women Composer Camp

    I should make my own "composers' camp" and make it so only blonde people can attend. Makes just as much sense as this nonsense, besides, what's with just dropping this here as advertisement? Come on now.
  12. So let me tell you how I got started. The first music I "wrote" was using noteworthy composer when I was, what, 16-17? I didn't know how to read sheet music so I basically just groped around to how the program worked and managed to write stuff. It's all absolute nonsense, but hey I was trying! When I was 19 I actually began playing piano and then actually had some real lessons, but 90% of my time went to actually analyzing music I liked now that I could actually read music. I had 0 music training before that and though I liked music I only listened to game music (lol.) It's one of those things, I was "composing" as soon as I got a hold of a means to actually do it. I eventually did end up moving to Europe to study music (cuz where I was it was actually impossible) and got a master's degree in composition, but that's only cuz at the start I didn't give a s.h.i.t. and kept pushing on despite not having the tools nor the knowledge. In fact, I never really understood music theory (the North/South American type,) until I was 22! Before then I mostly wrote stuff by analysis and copying the stuff I saw others do. Turns out that was actually much more meaningful in the long run than learning theory "from a book." The system that I eventually learned was Hugo Riemann's Funktionstheorie analysis model which, in my opinion, is the best thing ever. Even after all these years, the other systems seem real awkward to me in comparison. Oh btw why post this in this subforum??? This is not OFF TOPIC! Can someone move this to composer HQ?
  13. Well one way to get your music "out there" is to literally throw the scores out the window, which will instantly make you popular and attractive to hipsters as this can be disguised as some elaborate political statement on the nature of art and the human condition. or you can get fined for littering. Alternatively just do what everyone else does, talk to other people about it, post stuff to youtube and other popular websites and die alon---become a very famous composer!
  14. SSC

    The Future of Music

    My grand prediction is as follows: People will continue to do whatever they want in the future and this includes writing music you don't like.
  15. SSC


    A 10 year old thread! Oh wow! My favourite theory book is Harmonielehre from Diether de la Motte. I like the historical approach.