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stewboy last won the day on November 16 2017

stewboy had the most liked content!

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21 Excellent


About stewboy

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    Starving Musician
  • Birthday 06/27/1992

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  • Instruments Played
    Percussion, piano
  1. Willow

    I don't even know why I called it 'willow'. I wrote it and then I had to think of some sort of name for it, and the word 'willow' popped into my head. That's how I name most of my pieces to be honest. Thanks! I definitely tried to keep it interesting. I love exploring different avenues within tonality.
  2. Willow

    I decided to write something a few days ago, just for the sake of writing something. So, I sat down, and a couple hours later this is what resulted. It's a bit of an aimless piano piece, but it was fun to play around with the harmonies and chords. The score is a little untidy - I was more writing it for the sound of it, and to get sibeilus to play it correctly - but I might decide later to tidy it up into a more readable version.
  3. Leapfrog

    Over winter break, when I should have been working on my pieces I've started for my degree, I procrastinated and wrote this piano piece instead. It's a fun little thing which isn't too deep or meaningful I suppose, but that's the kind of stuff I like. I showed it to my mum to play (who is a piano teacher and a very good sightreader) and she said she quite liked it, but one suggestion she had was that around the last page and a half or so, the tempo should gradually increase slightly so that it wasn't just the same thing as the start all over again, although to me there's enough variation I put in already. She said as a teacher, she would probably suggest to her students to start speeding up at least near the end. I'll be showing this to my tutor once term starts up again for their opinion as well. My mum also said the piece could definitely be useful for school examinations here in Australia, where one of the pieces is required to be an Australian work composed within the last 25 years, and that she was willing to try it out on some of her students.
  4. Short Renaissance-y piece

    As I was writing that there was a little voice in my head saying to me 'well let's see you try then'. I really do like your opening and it inspired me to see if I could whip up a little something in 20 minutes, in this style, that I found interesting. I'm not particularly knowledgeable on specifically Renaissance music, but I'm aware of the 'rules' of harmony that everyone gets taught when you learn music theory, and I wanted to see what I could do if I really kept the rules in mind (even though I probably wasn't always entirely successful in doing that). So I have no idea if this is actually really in the proper style or not. But I like how it sounds. Listening back to it now the only bar I don't entirely like is bar 6 - I'm sure there's a better solution than the octave between the flute and clarinet. But that's the fun of composition, and it's probably why it was thought of as a craft - you're setting yourself a problem (eg 'I want to repeat the same idea, but down a tone, while staying in the same key) and then seeing what kind of solution you can come up with.
  5. Short Renaissance-y piece

    There's some nicely fluid writing here, but also a fair amount of writing that feels a little off to me. Here's a few select thoughts on the harmony! The first 6 bars have a nice overall impression, but bar 8 onwards starts feeling kind of chaotic, in a way that doesn't feel in character with the piece. A specific example would be the F#-G dissonance on the 3rd beat of bar 8, which sounds a little weird. I'm also not sure what chords you're trying to portray in any part of bar 8 at all, which is probably mostly due to the bass, which moves in kind of jerky and unnatural ways. A Renaissance piece would be much clearer in its chord progression. Bar 9 as well has issues in the relationship between the middle and bass lines. The first two beats are basically parallel 4ths, and although you've disguised that fact, the problem is that parallel 4ths in the absence of other lines outline no chords at all. Lines which might be keeping more in line with Renaissance-style writing, while keeping the same rhythm, might go G-A-B-A-G-F# in the middle line, and D-C#-D in the bass. This would clearly outline a chord on each beat, and two lines moving in contrary motion are generally more interesting and musical than two lines moving in parallel. You've also got parallel 5ths in bar 14. The 'no parallel 4ths, 5ths, or octaves' rule isn't just to be arbitrarily picky, it actually sounds less musical in this case when set against the fast moving middle line. An alternative would have the top line go to a C# for the second minum beat, and then go D and E. Then you've got parallel 3rds, which are much nicer. The only way (for me) for the C#-G tritone in bar 15 to work would be to have the middle line resting on an A. C#-D-G sounds extremely harsh and dissonant even for a modern style. C#-A-G is much nicer than C#-anything else-G in this context; even the next best thing, C#-E-G, might be a bit too dissonant for this style, although it could work depending on how you resolve it. Speaking of which, in this style, augmented 4ths resolve outwards and dimished 5ths (which is what you have) resolve inwards - basically because sharps generally resolve up and flats generally resolve down. So, this should resolve to D-F# in the bass/treble, and the middle line has some freedom as to where it can go. The ending of the piece sounds out of place, maybe because the piece seems to lack an overall structure to my ears. Clearer chords, and more points of rest/stability, would help. I could definitely do some more in-depth harmonic analysis on parts of this piece if you'd like, though it'd take some time, and having a score in C would probably help with that.
  6. Carnival (marimba & percussion)

    The main reason for putting it all on the one stave was to make sure there weren't any page turns, because there aren't any opportunities for any! Two staves is often what composers will use, but for me this is still mostly pretty readable, and in the times where it's a little less so hopefully the percussionist will get plenty of opportunity to learn it before the performance.
  7. I was contacted a couple weeks ago about a project in Belgium which intended to get 25 composers to each write a 2 minute piece in any style for a certain percussion setup (choice of three), and a 50 minute piece would then be strung together. This is what I came up with! It's for marimba, bongos, and temple blocks (all one player). I had a lot of fun writing for my native instrument for the first time in a few years. Unfortunately I don't have access to a marimba to test out the part on, but I air-marimba'd a lot of it to make sure it was theoretically doable. Doing the notation in Sibelius was a pain but I felt that it was worth making sure the marimba part looked intuitive.
  8. Cèilidh

    The .mp3 was recorded from an actual NES. So, no sound library :P
  9. Cèilidh

    Here's something a bit different. I've always been a big fan of composing in as many mediums as I can get my hands on, and one medium that I've really been getting into over the last couple years is chiptunes. I've done quite a few that I really like but this one is probably my most well-liked so far on the website I participate in (battleofthebits.org). It's quite classical-leaning in many ways, as opposed to a lot of chiptunes which deliberately seek to sound videogame-y. I called it 'ceilidh' because it was inspired by two ceilidhs that I attended during my first week here in Glasgow. A ceilidh, to put it as simply as possible, is a traditional Scottish gathering with song and dance. To me, the term 'chiptune' is distinct from '8-bit' in that a chiptune is music that could actually be physically played on a specific music chip. To prove it, the .mp3 I have uploaded here is an actual recording that another user took of their own NES, playing the music file I had created. It also means there's not much use me uploading the source file, because it was created in FamiTracker which is not notation software.
  10. Whirlpool

    @Rabbival507 Doing it yourself through work is really the best way. And I mean doing it over and over, and over, for years. You don't necessarily need to share everything you write, it's just for your own benefit. I took part in an online weekly one-hour composition event for a few years, and it was a great opportunity to experiment because if something didn't work, you only spent an hour on it so no matter! When I first started writing music (10 years ago I think) I wrote quite pop-music kind of chord progressions. Although I improved very gradually over the years to become more and more interesting, there were two pieces of music in particular that were major influences on my style and my harmonic language, which might or might not be of help. The first of these was Janacek's opera 'The Cunning Little Vixen'. You can find the full opera here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQhLyG3_HnQ (skip to any random point and you'll find beautiful music) but you can also find a cut-down orchestral suite at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a79nSbmy69U which will give you a very good idea of the overall musical language. I played this opera while in my city's youth orchestra, so I got a lot of opportunity to hear the music in action and think about how it worked. The second was 'Loops II" by Philippe Hurel, a piece I learned for my final undergraduate recital for my bachelor's. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8WtE7uI8a8 is an ok recording. You probably need the score to fully appreciate it, but it really expanded my definition of 'consonance' and I find myself using ideas from it all the time in my music now (like in my 'Tarantella' guitar duet I posted recently). As to how I wrote these progressions, it was mostly instinctive, so I'm not sure how much I can explain. Bar 87 is a particularly good example of this - while writing I just 'knew' that it had to go to an F# chord. Probably on analysis I might be able to find a specific reason. I'm not saying that F# was the only chord it could go to or that it was even the best chord, but my mind was positively crying out for it to be an F# chord and it just couldn't be anything else at the time. It just flowed naturally in my mind as I was writing it and I didn't have to think about it at all. That's often how I write - through instinct (and also through playing around with music in my head while walking anywhere). Instinct can only come through practice. Keep writing, do silly stuff just for the sake of it and then look back on it afterwards and see if you can figure out what worked and what didn't work, and why.
  11. fearless

    It's not something I would ever listen to by itself, but I've had it on in the background and I really love the atmosphere of it! I don't know anything quite like it because I don't tend to listen to this sort of thing much, but one thing that does definitely come to mind is some of Tangerine Dream's early albums: in particular tracks like '3 A.M. at the Border of the Marsh From Okefenokee' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEgphCcN-ak).
  12. Adrift

    A piece I wrote in Sibelius a couple years ago just to get an idea out, which I then had a lot of fun seeing where I could take it. Hope you enjoy!
  13. Whirlpool

    Thank you! This piece was really one of my 'exploration' pieces where I'm just experimenting and playing around with what I can do with chords. They can often end up a little unfocused and unstructured but they can result in some really neat ideas which I then reuse in more thought-out works :)
  14. Tarantella (for guitar duo)

    Thank you! It's just the word that sprung into my head while writing it - I think from a piano piece I once learned of the same name. 'Tarantella' itself is a dance, or type of dance, originating from the Apulian region in southern Italy in the 15th to 17th centuries. It comes from the belief or superstition that the bite of a certain spider, the 'Tarantula', was poisonous, and the poison could only be cured by a ritual involving music, dance, and colour - sometimes taking place over several days. It seems pretty complex and very interesting from what I've read so far, and I reckon the name is kind of suitable. If this piece ever appears in a program under this title, someone will have a lot of fun writing the program notes!
  15. Whirlpool

    A few weeks ago, I was intending on writing another wind band piece but then it became hard and so I started procrastinating by tossing out this piece over a few hours (though I'd had the idea floating around in my head for a while). I also spent a small amount of time at a real piano to make sure it was playable, and although I couldn't get it all up to tempo just then I'm sure that with time it would be easy enough. I showed it to my tutor and his main problem with it was that the overall arc wasn't very convincing - it didn't sound 'complete' and the ending didn't seem fitting, mostly due to the fact that I don't really have a home key. There are three key moments of rest/stability: A minor, E major, and F# major. The first of these isn't really solidified enough (it moves away too quickly), and the other two sound very disconnected. At the time, I hadn't really invested a lot into this piece and I wasn't writing it for my course, but rather just to get some ideas out. So, I kind of left it to rot for a bit since then. Thinking about it now though, I wonder if I could improve it by reconciling those three areas of stability into the same key. For example, introducing the E major early on, and then figuring out the last transition such that the ending can stay in E major. I do like the underlying idea and a lot of the progressions.