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Everything posted by Ken320

  1. Well, this is really nice, all around. About the piano part. It's not particularly idiomatic, is it? I mean mostly it's metronomic, sort of like the dishwasher in the ensemble. Maybe you could give this accompaniment a little more thought in terms of varying the repeated notes into lines with simple leading tones on the weak beats? If you were to orchestrate this, I could hear a slower tempo with a small string ensemble playing sostenuto chords. As timekeepers they would have more expression than a piano, and it would seem appropriate. But I really like the basic chord progression throughout. Maybe you could explain why you chose to leave in the one or two notes that might cause your audience to scratch their heads. Is it really worth it?
  2. @SSC Not really. You're speaking overly pedagogically. It's not so strict, even for a beginner. Every novice has a vision, a sound. It comes in many forms. How to realize it? Don't read books or listen to teachers (unless he is sitting right next to you on the piano bench). Say this after me. My ears shall be my only guide. In other words, if you are in doubt which comes first, the chicken or the egg, choose the chicken and the egg.
  3. Mostly I agree with Luis, that mood is the prime directive and that form takes a back seat to that. I'm not a purist. Chopin made effective use of simple ABA form for his Nocturnes. One example that stands out is the nocturne in F major. He has a dreamy A section followed by an agitated B section, very typical of Chopin, and then a return to the A section, a very obvious journey. Dream-nightmare-dream. But why get hung up on the 'night' concept. You can have a nocturne on a boat on a lake with a man and woman on a warm summer's day and the lady trailing her fingers in the water making ripples (Op.55 #2, Eb Major). No one can tell you how to be evocative, but that's what you have to do.
  4. Try this one. It's pretty new and it came out well. https://youtu.be/aTgRL01I9cU
  5. There is a topic on that subject called "Do you think you have a style as a composer?"
  6. Stravinsky wrote a lot of stuff in the 20-30 minute range because people called him up and said, Monsieur Stravinsky, we would like to have some music for our Dippidy Doo Da Centennial Celebration. M. Stravinsky: How long? Oh, about 20-30 minutes ... M. Stravinsky: Gotcha. (cha Ching!)
  7. Thanks, maestrowick. It is odd, (onsidering that you're following me) ... This is a very old piece, I have more substantial things than these here novelties. Why not check them out? 😀
  8. Have you ever tried to make Jello without a form? It's very messy! Asking why would we want to write something of length is like asking why do we climb mountains. Because it's there! Because we can! Because it separates the wheat from the chaff. (I'm plum out of metaphors now)
  9. Please accept this bit of humor and levity. It's on topic!
  10. I imagine 18th and 19th century audiences were more unruly. And that's just from their clothing and general discomfort! Since live music was the only music they knew, they must have developed a certain Blase attitude, maybe even boredom due to familiarity, at least for the aristocracy. Today going to a concert is such a treat that it seems fitting that we put it on a pedestal and recognize it for the gift that it is.
  11. The tonality you've chosen is fine. It has value and can be developed. But you're stretching the limit of that ostinato. So with that in mind there are many things you can do to add interest (if you don't mind a little back seat driving). First I would begin to alter it much earlier in the piece and introduce some sort of punctuation from other instruments here and there so that it can continue. Think of the punctuation as fuel. You can then invert and/or transpose the ostinato along the way. And you can pass it off to other instrumnets. Just some suggestions off the top of my head. Keep working on it. It's good.
  12. It's been a long day. You're at an All-you-can-eat buffet. It looks as if the food has been there all day as well. The Mac & Cheese has dried out, the broccoli looks like mush. The salad looks like it was dragged through the garden. There are two pieces of chicken, one like a fossil and the other plump and juicy. Which one is better?
  13. Agreed. Multi-directional and multi-stylistic. Bernstein said as much in the final lecture in his Harvard Lecture series, 1973). Personally, I look at it like this, giving the broadest, least restrictive, latitude to the composer in his or her choice of narrative, design and language: Keeping it simple, there's only one rule: Manage expectations, and keep the listener interested in what you're trying to say. Because music exists in the time domain and the listener will be expecting things, and there's nothing you can do about it. I can't put it any more basic. It shouldn't be so difficult, right? But suddenly, now, language is important (which was mentioned here often). Commonalities. The effective composer uses them to his advantage. The iconoclast ignores them at his peril.
  14. Before this degenerated into rancor, there were many good points made on a subject that is difficult to unravel, especially in cyber space. But there was already agreement in some areas, the finer points a which got lost in cross talk. Thanks for your efforts!
  15. The question relating to an arbiter of quality as in, "Who gets to decide?" at first seems a fair one but the more you look at it it has something of a straw man quality to it. If you asked me what makes a piece of music good, I would say something that it compels me to give it repeated hearings. Not just once out of curiosity - I'll listen to anything once. But two or three times? That's compelling. How about over and over? How about forever? That's really compelling, that's transcendent. Now, if you asked me What makes it so that I want to listen to it over and over, I have to define what makes it good. If I said that it kept my interest, well obviously, but I'm still skirting around the edges. So I might say that it had an effective balance of familiarity and contrast. And if it was of any length I might add that it was masterfully done because of that. The composer set up expectations for me to expect, then fulfilled those expectations someimtes in unexpected ways, and given its length and complexity impressed me as being masterful. And I never get tired of this give and take. It's the same every time I hear it, even if I know every note by heart. I am describing commonalities here, things that any composer can and imo, should, do. As far as I can tell I'm not dictating anything specific here, just common aesthetic traits. Like a thoroughbred can and will run if you let it, so can music be these essential things that all people will understand, given any exposure to Western music. If you cheat people out of those things, no amount of education or conditioning will set it right. And there is so much good music out there, why waste your time. (but me personally, as I said, I'll listen to anything once.) So many words here to describe music! It's funny. But it's not just an intellectual thing, it's also very personal and human. If your wife or husband came home and suddenly kissed you in a whole new way, you'd say, What the hell was that? And I don't think you'd execpt the explanation, Don't worry, you'll get used to it.
  16. I don't know if you can get back to common practice except maybe to change the paradigm into something more audience-centric. You know? Step aside from theorems and slide rules. If you intend to impress the abstraction of 'a learned professor' why not try instead to entertain an audience? They're both abstractions. Given the trajectory of deconstrucionalism, deferring to an audience as arbiter of a 'good musical language' is not a bad idea. For a while anyway. Remember, nothing is forever.
  17. Noah, you bring up a good point in that labels of style or originality are usually pinned on artists by "the audience," and most composers, myself included, do not feel so defined by an identifiable style. I have propensities and weaknesses, and I put in a lot of effort to keep them hidden. 😉
  18. Right. Conversely, and ironically, ignoring or rejecting artistic concepts don't necessarily make a work original either. But time and experimentation still applies, because in the end it will take artistry to reject such artistry, which is hard to get your head around. Unless you are being willfully unskilled, perhaps a growing trend these days if you follow the path of deconstruction in an effort to out-extreme one another. But come to think of it, it's not that different from when I was going to school. So maybe it has more to do with maturity.
  19. I'm glad you understand, as I wouldn't suggest that you didn't intend it to be anything other than what it is.
  20. It's visceral and tortured. You can smell the rosin flying off into your face. I'd like to say that this is more about process, like Jackson Pollack. But it's more emotional than that. And ironically, a bit more detached because it is written down with the required equanimity of writing things on paper, and not flinging paint onto a canvas as though you were 'in the moment.'
  21. I think this music, taken as language, has an endless series of non sequiturs which give it a stilted feel and leaves the listener with the question, What are you doing? What are you trying to achieve here? It might be different if there was a payoff in the overall work, a punchline so to speak, or at least a sign post or two along the way. But there is none.
  22. A couple of things. It was pleasant enough, mood-wise. But there was no contrasting B section, however short, to make you want to hear the melody again and again. Nothing that stood out anyway. I felt that you were playing it much too safe, never veering from the safety of Cmin, keeping the piano accompaniment the same throughout and maybe most importantly, restricting the soloist to play only a constricted melody that never changes. What I mean is, unconsciously perhaps, you robbed the soloist of her asserting any kind of individuality. I hope you take this criticism as constructive, as I listened to the piece many times before responding.
  23. I found this very cute and clever. The odd melodies, at once Chopin then Barnum and Bailey and back again gave me more than one grin. And the sheer force of will behind those pounding chords made it somehow not banal, but humorous. Which is very difficult to pull off. But you did it without losing the essential substance of the music. Bravo!
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