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Ken320

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Everything posted by Ken320

  1. Prokofiev On The Importance Of Melody I have never questioned the importance of melody. I love melody, and I regard it as the most important element in music. I have worked on the improvement of its quality in my compositions for many years. To find a melody instantly understandable even to the uninitiated listener, and at the same time an original one, is the most difficult tasks for a composer. He is beset by a great multitude of dangers: he may fall into the trivial or the banal, or into the rehashing of something already written by him. In this respect, composition of complex melodies is much easier. It may also happen that a composer, fussing over his melody for a long time, and revising it, unwittingly makes it over-refined and complicated, and departs from simplicity. I fell in to the trap, too, in the process of my work. Arnold Schoenberg On Artistic Expression Art is a cry of distress from those who live out within themselves the destiny of humanity, who are not content with it but measure themselves against it, who do not obtusely serve the engine to which the label “unseen forces” is applied, but throw themselves into the moving gears to understand how it works. They are those who do not turn their eyes away to protect themselves from emotions but open them wide to oppose what must be attacked. They do, however, often close their eyes to perceive what the senses do not convey, to look inside of what seems to be happening on the surface. Inside them turns the movement of the world; only an echo of it leaks out -the work of art.
  2. It would be helpful is to know what examples he used to back up his argument. But to me, music that is tightly coupled to a text effectively becomes a song, in that the same rules apply, as your prof points out. Faster tempi more so than slow. Emily Dickinson more than e. e. cummings or prose poets. Poetry is a vast area. I wrote some music for a Langston Hughes poem and the treatment did follow the strong and weak beats. If you want to go against this, you would need a good reason.
  3. No. I compose directly by playing the parts myself into the DAW. In the rare times when the music is clear and intact in my head, I'll write it on paper first, old school, just so I won't forget it. I don't know Ableton at all, but most DAW's are track based MIDI sequencers. They are useful tools because they give immediate feedback of sound with endless possibilities, even if it's a standard orchestra. Once you have notes represented as MIDI you can import them into a notation app. At this point scoring it out is a formality because I already know how the music sounds and how it should look. For example, I know that the fifteen or so string tracks will need to be merged into the standard five staves for an orchestra. If you can compose for an orchestra directly onto paper without having to sit at a piano, a notation app might be all you need. But if you compose at the piano, then the piano might as well be a computer. Make sense?
  4. Sometimes it's just "other people" who hold you back, or try to. Like the Aristocracy, who like to push their weight around with Mozart by warning him that there were too many notes in his music. But his response was spot on. "My Lord, which notes shall I remove?"
  5. I see that the thread was moved here. It is a deep topic. For your interests there is a lot more on youtube by people that use both as a matter of course. And the methods are many. One thing you might look into is Rewire. I, myself, don't use it.
  6. However you interpret your future, let your musical growth be organic. Don't force it and don't bend to the demands of others, unless they're paying you. (😉)
  7. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Valerio. I don't use Sibelius for playback, only notation. And I doubt that you will find sound sets that have sound design and effects. I used synthesizers and samplers that were recorded into my digital audio workstation (DAW). There are some very good ones out there that are free or low priced. You should familiarize yourself with these. They are basically maulti-track tape recorders. Many composers use these in conjunction with notation and there are two approaches (that I know of). Importing a Sibelius score into a DAW as a MIDI file, or importing from a DAW into Sibelius. Both are extra work and both have benefits and drawbacks. Yes, it is complex. But it's doable and it's worth it. There are some good Sibelius forums on Facebook as well as forums for DAW's. Good luck!
  8. I think you've demonstrated a useful technique here, especially with the long gestures and harmonics. As was noted, it is more atmospheric than melodic. But it is not altogether without melody.
  9. I think Jean is irritated that he is forced to build the damn road before he can drive on it. We are composers, right? Not Civic Engineers. I think that this demand upon us is overblown in our minds. And perhaps we are too focused on tonality as being the one thing that we use to define ourselves as artists. But there are so many other ways. I hear great music all the time from artists who are not bound by this neurotic demand. It's in good pop music, good jazz, good multi media work, and good so called serious work.. But the key word is good. I cannot tell you what good means. You already know what good means. These artists use a broad spectrum of aesthetics: rhythm, rhyme, emotion, new instrumentation, electronics, new combinations of established forms and many other manner of the elements of music to entice the public. But an unrealistic focus on the necessity a new tonality at all costs can be seen as building the road instead of driving on it. In other words, a diversion and a hindrance. Something that is holding you back as a composer because it represents that big, loud irritating voice in the back of your head. Be original! Be original! (just shut up and let me compose) I agree with Luis that eclecticism is the way forward. Leonard Bernstein said as much before he died. I mean, if you were a chef would you be satisfied with cooking only pasta, or would you rather cook everything?
  10. I like that you used cadences to lengthen a line or spin off new ones. Was that a topic in this book?
  11. Thanks for listening. This piece was fairly restrained in terms of material, but there were a lot of voices and they are moving all the time. So I had to manage relative degrees of dissonance while keeping a meaningful line going. When the texture gets thicker and the voices increase, there are clashes, as you say, but they are just temporary dissonances. They are acceptable because there are voices moving alongside them that repair them and they are all moving in and out of dissonance. But the harmonic progression, which was fairly simple, was firmly established before the voices pile up. That was necessary I think.
  12. Hello, fellow composers. I have the next few months free to compose so I started on a project called "Hither and Yon." It will be a collection of orchestral "songs." They may be from disparate genres, styles and instrumentation, I don't know. Wherever the wind takes me, I suppose. I'd like to get at least 7 songs and here is the first. I will post scores, but not right away. Thanks and leave a comment or two if you like ...
  13. In the context of this thread I am saying that there are different types of analysis. I am making the case that a comprehensive analysis - of anything - is of value to us. Why did Bernstein bother himself with such efforts? Because he was good at it, and because he was a generous man who wanted to share his knowledge and passion with others. Did he talk in minutiae? Of course. When you deliver the capstone lecture of an eighteen hour series you necessarily have to first get in the weeds, right? Stravinsky had come a long way since the days of Le Sacre over the course of his life, and he had to deal with the same musical problems as other composers of his time. I'm just saying that this particular lecture transcends the minutiae. By analyzing Stravinsky's music through the mask analogy, he offers a salient vision for future composers who may be troubled that there's nothing new under the sun anymore except for serialism and the self inflicted death of deconstruction. Was this of value to Stravinsky? No. Why should it? It's beside the point. It is for us, and at this point the minutiae becomes rather interesting. So, to me, anything done well in the field of music is interesting.
  14. I mentioned Bernstein's analyses of music as being exemplary because of his comprehensive, language-based approach. He uses a tiered series of lessons, each building on the last, to get to the final lesson in his Harvard Lecture Series, which is The Future Of Music. And if you listen to this three hour Final Lecture (and I hope that you do) you will see why he concluded with Stravinsky and his methods as more adaptable to future composers than Schoenberg. He talks about Stravinsky's "masking" technique, which is an abstraction that allowed him to re-assess and re-imagine music in a way that Schoenberg's restrictive formalism could not do. It's about the concept of "indirection." Stravinsky is always one step removed from the music. It's complex, but it's the best, most accurate description of Stravinsky's music that I know of. It's unclear whether this masking was Stravinsky's intention or studied intuition. Maybe it doesn't matter, because the composer is the composer and the analyst is the analyst. I bring it up here because this level of comprehensive insight would be absent from diagrams and whatnot, and would render them nonessential.
  15. ** I suggest we stick to seven albums and that would be enough. *** LMAO - The understatement is regal.
  16. There are some really good ideas in this piece, both rhythmic and harmonic. Of course even though they are miniatures, I would like to hear them more developed and connected. I suppose to make them less miniature. But in doing do so it would give you a chance to move away from the lower register in the piano, for variety. In the third movement you've got some dotted 8th- 16th note figures. But instead of the dot you have a rest. Perfectly acceptable. But this may be a clearer way of writing it.
  17. I tracked down what this reminds me of. It is a lamentation, but it's not written by a Jew. It was on the TV show Mad Men, and it was written specifically to sound Jewish. https://youtu.be/TsVCjykMHVw
  18. This melody sounds vaguely Jewish. Is it? Very somber.
  19. I'm glad you didn't post the score. It lets me focus on the music. It works very well hearing all the movements. Sometimes that makes a big difference, because the transitions are important too. Very idiomatic for the piano as I would expect, showcasing all registers, timbres and textures, both sustained and percussive. It shows a certain equanimity and evennees of emotion, or lack of it sometimes. I think the open fifths contributed to that. But there were welcome emotional parts as well that I liked. Some reminded me of Meredith Monk a little. It is a well balanced work with the proper pace for its length. Very enjoyable.
  20. Well, this is an interesting piece that definitely sounds like a Nocturne. I think it is clever and almost humorous the way you only suggest "proper" cadences. But it is skillfully and consistently done throughout that a listener could relax and enjoy the sure hand of the composer. Nicely done.
  21. Often we get inspired by composers that we like. And sometimes it's best used as a catalyst for helping us compose, as I think it is here. This sounds more romantic than either of those two stripped down composers, and that's totally fine because this works well on its own. The bald statement of the minor 9th in the opening bars is jarring, even though when it's played later on in the piece, it sounds fine because you've given it the proper context. You might want to rethink that.
  22. I suppose newer musical syntax requires a different approach to analysis. That is what I understand from what Monarcheon is saying. She's obliged to learn it if not to teach it, just to know it. You and I won't be saddled with such a chore. 😳 Personally, I don't find that analysis robs me of anything in the music. I love to analyze songs to learn the chords so that I can play it. As a practitioner I'm happy to let the spell morph into a skill. And I could listen for hours to Leonard Bernstein talk about music. But I'm dubious of music (and analysis) that cannot be explained in simple English. (As an aside, I just stumbled upon the term that perfectly describes what I was saying earlier here about opposites in philosophical debate. It's called "Coincidentia Opositorum" or coincidence of opposites, or unity of opposites. )
  23. No, I don't know Schenkerian, nor Forte. It might be fun to sit in in this class. But I wonder if it would broaden my ability to talk about music or enhance my appreciation of it.
  24. By reductive do you mean simplistic? Lacking pertinent information? Looking at the illustrations, no, they don't immediately invoke some aspect of music. But I'm guessing there are relationships, proximity, intersections and such. Why aren't basic analyses like ABA, ABBA, which could be used a conversation starters now considered inadequate? Is there an aspect of deconstruction in this approach, sort of like Derrida, who I think would say that you shouldn't read anything into a narrative. Everything must be contained on the page,
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