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stewboy

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stewboy last won the day on March 27

stewboy had the most liked content!

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About stewboy

  • Rank
    Starving Musician
  • Birthday 06/27/1992

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Glasgow
  • Occupation
    Student
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Sibelius
  • Instruments Played
    Percussion, piano
  1. Birth of a Star

    Thank you guys! I think I'm getting pretty good at taking a short idea and making the most of it.
  2. Birth of a Star

    This was written for a collaboration project between the masters students at my conservatoire and some postgraduate astronomy students from another uni, each of whom was working on their own project. Each composer chose an astronomer, to write a piece in some sort of response to the astronomer's research. We had a given instrumentation, which was essentially wind quintet + string trio + electric guitar, and we were free to write for any combination. I decided to just write a wind quintet, since I like writing for winds. I think the rest of the composers all wrote for the full ensemble. My partner's project was to do with how stellar clusters form and grow. Specifically, he was trying to modify an existing simulation to add in another factor (some sort of gas) which has not previously been considered in the growth of stars, just to see if it actually does make a difference. The inspiration I took from this was to do with the general growth of stars (rather than his specific project, which was kind of uninspiring musically). I had the idea to create a piece which starts relatively chaotic, and gradually becomes simpler and calmer while still in some way retaining its initial character. The way I tried to do this was to have one single motif represent the star, and have it present throughout, becoming slower every now and then. This is meant to represent the star forming out of a flurry of gases, and becoming larger, slower, and more predictable over time. It's probably the most 'dissonant' of my pieces so far, which made it very difficult to work on, as my usual musical instincts weren't always present. I'm quite proud of myself for pushing through it though - I think allowing myself more dissonance has really allowed me to experiment more, and I'm happy with the resulting piece. The score isn't quite 'final' yet, I've still got to get some feedback from my tutor before I tidy it up and send it off.
  3. Yep that's completely fine! It's actually surprisingly unusual to play two timpani at once. There's nothing difficult about it, and I certainly wish more composers did it, but I'm just letting you know. I think the reason might be that the timpani generally supports the bass, and having notes close together in the bass can occasionally get muddy - but there's no intrinsic problem with that. Mostly, timps might get written in octaves or 5ths. As long as you're aware of what you're doing though there's no problem with writing them in 3rds or less. The other thing I notice about the part (and it's in other parts too) is your tendency to write quavers in sextuplets, for example starting in bar 108. This is technically correct but can be a little misleading. When I read the part in my mind, my instinct is to play them in the space of a crotchet instead of a minim - and then the last quaver triplet, oddly enough, gets played as a crotchet triplet because I subconsciously realise I have two beats left! I think my brain sees the '6' and automatically assumes that they are semiquavers, because 95% of the time I only see sextuplets with semiquavers. Writing these as separate triplets would be better - even in a full bar of triplets, the safest way of writing them is generally as four separate triplet groups. The same goes for crotchets - it's more common to write a crotchet sextuplet as two separate crotchet triplets, although it's not quite as confusing as the quavers.
  4. Wind bands are extremely widespread and are often happy to play new compositions, even if just once at a rehearsal. I've played student compositions myself while in my uni wind band, and I've had a composition played by them. However, this isn't quite a wind band piece - for example, the standard wind band orchestration includes 2 flute parts, 3 clarinet parts, 2 alto sax parts, 3 trumpet parts, and so on. It's flexible, but having 1 of each part makes it seem like it's for a very specific ensemble. Yes, the timpani part is unplayable as is, because most of the time only 1 timpani is able to go down to that range of E and below, and you've written 3 notes in that range. Putting it up an octave would help, but it's also rare to get the top timp going up to a C.
  5. Sonatina (I)

    My last piano miniature (Haze) was a little short, so I started another one intending on making a longer miniature, but then it turned into a full-blown piece. My tutor remarked that it felt very much like the first movement of a sonatina, and I've never attempted one for piano so I thought I would try. I'll start work on a middle slow movement next!
  6. Haze

    Here's another piano miniature, because I'm slightly overdue for one. Emphasis on the 'miniature' this time - it's only 80 seconds or so! It basically only explores one idea/texture though, and was just an excuse for me to play around with some chords. (As are a lot of my pieces, to be honest!)
  7. Serious Music for Violin and Piano

    @pateceramics Ask and ye shall receive!
  8. Trapeze

    Thanks! My tutor said he liked the beginning and the ending of the piece, but he found the middle less convincing. In particular, he said that ending the melody at bar 47 left an unanswered question which I didn't adequately return to, and suggested I add a couple more bars to it. I'll have a think about it.
  9. String Quartet No. 3 in C minor

    I agree, it's quite nice harmonically, there's very little that sounds 'wrong' to me. My issue is that it doesn't really do anything all that interesting. It doesn't tend to modulate, or go on journeys. I think bar 31 of the minuet was the first bar that really stood out colour-wise because of your harmonic choices. To be honest, I probably wouldn't enjoy an actual Haydn quartet all that much, so maybe I'm not the best judge here, but I would very much encourage you to start branching out and experimenting with the harmonies and structures of later periods, because you clearly have a very good foundation. Perhaps play around with sonata form. One harmony that stood out in a bad way was the F in the cello in bar 12 of the adagio. I'm not sure exactly why it sounds out of place, but for me, leaving out the F and just going Bb for a crotchet, then leaping up to the other Bb would work better there. Bar 37 of the adagio also felt slightly off, probably because of the Ab in the second violin part. The finale definitely felt the most 'fun' for me, and I think that's where you really started to play around a little with appoggiaturas and a little more experimental harmony. Keep going in that direction! I will also say though that the ending didn't feel satisfying, like it arrived too soon without a conclusive finish.
  10. This is a work I've been looking at on and off for a few months now. It began its life as the opening few bars in my head for a week until I wrote them down. I decided that I wanted to try and write a very light-hearted and maybe (hopefully) occasionally humorous piece, while still keeping it interesting and musically varied. It's quite clearly very 'Candide'-inspired, but I tried to take it in my own direction as well. I'm also using this piece for another subject at uni, where I have to write an essay about some aspect of critical practice, and I'm talking about humour in music in general, and what my approach has been towards composing this piece. I'm happy to share the essay once I finish it in a week or two, if anyone would be interested in it! There are still a few notation issues to work out before I can submit it as part of this year's composition portfolio for my degree, such as the pedal lines, but now that the music is basically complete I wanted to share it with people anyway. I've also got a soundcloud link if people prefer that player - https://soundcloud.com/fotytoo/serious-music-for-violin-and-piano/s-Howou.
  11. Waltz No 2

    I had a little difficulty picking out the form of the melody that came in about 0:19. I couldn't really hear where it was going or where it landed. The F minor at 0:40 was very welcome (and I would have preferred it to come a little earlier). I would have loved to see you experiment with different chords apart from I, IV, and V by now, because they have grown a little monotonous, although the changes in orchestration and texture make up for that a little. I think 2:18 is the first time you change chords, and I'd have preferred that to come earlier as well, or even bringing forward the horn soli at 3:24. Overall it sounded very nice, and there was a little variation, but it didn't really take me on a journey. I think you're getting too comfortable in the colours that you've built up (although they are very pleasant indeed), or too unwilling to change them. Some other changes that could build tension or change colour could be rhythmic variation (taking out the constant movement of the crotchets if you've written in 3/4, or taking out the quavers, or making a few bars be entirely quavers), instrument colour variation (pizz in strings, giving melody to a combination of instruments, going to a much different register of the instruments, etc), harmonic variation (going on a wandering harmonic journey, modulation, harmonizing the melody), or some counterpoint (have two melodies going at once, or have an instrument start the melody a bar after a different one starts). I think the one that grated on me the most was probably the rhythm - by the end I was really sick of the rhythm you've given to the strings most of the piece.
  12. Trapeze

    I've done another piano miniature - I'm still trying to do one every week or two. This one is pretty light and playful again.
  13. It does strike me as being an early effort piece, kind of with some similarities to how I started I suppose. So I'm not sure how much use detailed feedback would be - you're clearly still experimenting with rhythms and harmonies to see what works and what doesn't. I will say that most of the piece doesn't really work for me, but a large part of that is honestly just the repetitiveness of the Alberti bass which just stays in the same key for far too long. Some of the harmony is actually fairly interesting, but it's inconsistent as to whether you're deliberately going for inventive or traditional harmony. Studying harmony would help, but really at this point the best thing to do is to keep writing and developing your instincts and your ear. Find interesting pieces of music and try and figure out what they're doing.
  14. Why do you compose?

    @Maarten Bauer@Rabbival507 I was kind of in a similar position when I finished high school 8 years ago. I went into software engineering at first because it didn't occur to me at the time that music was something I'd be able to pursue really seriously. Even as I started hating software engineering, and realising that I really needed music in my life, I still worried that music wasn't something I could do as a 'job', and that IT would be safer even if I hated it. But then I hated it so much, and was so miserable, that I decided that I would switch to music and just take my chances. This was after 3 years of uni. I then had a 4 year music degree (in percussion performance) which I loved almost every second of. It was at a university rather than a conservatoire, which I think was better for my own development. Then during the music degree I gradually realised that what I actually really wanted to do was to write music. The composition tutor at my uni recommended I finish my degree in performance rather than switch to composition, so I stuck out in performance and I'm glad I did. A chance visit to London two years ago gave me the inspiration to audition for a masters degree in composition at various places in the UK, and my backup plan was a masters degree in performance at the Sydney Con (I didn't want to do composition there). I got accepted in Sydney and was about to start class when I got the offer from the RCS in Glasgow, and there was not a moment's hesitation before I accepted it. So I guess if I have any advice, it'd be to feel free to start a degree in something other than music, but remember that it's never too late to change your mind. So the reason I write music is that I can't imagine doing anything else. Even if I had stayed in IT (and would by now be working in some sort of desk job), I would still be composing in my spare time. It made sense to me that I should therefore try and study it to get better at it.
  15. A Brisk Walk

    My tutor actually made a similar comment as it turns out - it was too light to really work as a climax, but it doesn't need a dramatic rethinking. I'll return to it some time after this weekend and maybe just add in a couple of bars and notes. I'll also probably take another look at the articulations. @SonatainfSharp I was trying to keep playability in mind at least a little while writing it, especially the larger intervals. So in theory I'd hope it's possible. But I haven't actually looked at it on a piano yet. I might sometime!
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