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Everything posted by Tónskáld

  1. Hi, Em! This was a great melancholic piece and I enjoyed listening to it! It seems to me you start the piece in A major and end it in D major, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. You tend to "color" your major triads (at least the tonic and subdominant) as maj7 chords, so this piece never seems to have a home key—it sort of walks in the neighborhood of A/D major and their relative minors. I like it when songs have this ambiguity! The repetition didn't bother me, as I don't think you were going for a strictly classical feel. To me, it sounded like a pop/classical hybrid—maybe even something from a movie—so the repeated phrases seemed to belong. I will mention a troubling bar or two from the score, if that's ok. In m48-49 you have the RH playing a sustained F# while the LH is supposed to hit that same note a few times, too. This, of course, won't be playable, so that passage may need to be adjusted. I think you definitely have talent as a composer! Your musical form will become more structured the more you compose. Keep up the good work!
  2. I've never heard of Guarnieri but just listening to that short clip on YouTube, I think he's going to be a favorite! It sounds so Brazilian, and sort of like Gershwin, in a way. I love it! Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
  3. I have to agree with Luis. Your piano-writing skills are nothing short of masterful. I don't think I've encountered one of your pieces yet that I haven't really enjoyed! Thanks for sharing!
  4. Hi, Jean! What a way to burst onto the forum with such a moving work! I loved the lush sounds of the divisi strings; it really added some depth to the harmonies. The gradual inclusion of the instruments was also very tastefully done. Below, I have provided some more detailed feedback regarding the score. The 2nd violins often play two simultaneous notes. It's good practice to indicate whether these notes are to be played div. or non div. m3—you have the celli doing a slurred pizz. This means that the players will pluck once and just finger the rest of the notes under the slur. m10—the resolution to C (or C7) was beautiful! m11—I don't think the word "unite" is universally recognized, but I could be wrong. I usually see the word "unis." m12—the two final 8th notes in the clarinet would look better as a quarter note m19—I'm not sure what the "arco" in the v2 and viola is for. Is there a pizz somewhere that wasn't notated? The crescendo to the end was very moving. Nice job! I'm also very pleased that you featured the violas prominently in this piece. That's an obviously biased opinion (I'm a violist) but it still feels nice to be noticed every once in a while. 😁 Looking forward to hearing more of your works!
  5. Thanks again, Luis! The suite progresses more and more into dissonances and "modern" harmonies, but I return to simplicity in the final movement, which I'm working on right now. Sigh. It'll be nice to finally have this suite completed, after coming up with the idea almost a year ago...
  6. This is the fourth movement of Íslensk svíta (Icelandic suite) for piano solo. This movement is really a variations on a theme, the source being an Icelandic folksong, "Vísur vatnsenda-rósu." The piece has more of a cinematic feel to it than the other movements, and definitely requires more virtuosic abilities. There's also a certain edginess to this movement that, I think, contrasts nicely with the ebb-and-flow of the others. It was quite enjoyable to put together, so I do hope you all enjoy this, as well. Please let me know what feedback you have! Word to the listener: there are a lot of quartal harmonies, whole tones scales, and juxtaposed fifths, so be prepared for a lot of dissonance. This piece is exciting to play (and hear), but don't say you weren't warned if it gives you an earache.
  7. Lovely, @aMusicComposer! I'm no expert bassoonist but I think that low B may be difficult to play so quickly. Everything else looked great! The song itself is quite catchy. Great job!
  8. Thanks, Luis! I wanted to give the piece some semblance of familiarity, since the harmonies are so unconventional. I also wanted to make the piece seem mundane and create a feeling of "caught in a rut." I hope I didn't overuse the same motifs...
  9. The third installment (and middle movement) in the Icelandic Suite for Piano Solo. This movement is slow and poignant, often even lethargic. It relies heavily on quartal harmonies, diminished 5ths, and whole tone scales to convey a sense of listlessness and loss (my emotions, at least). The inspiration comes from deep mourning and melancholy, looking out on a rain-drenched day. I hope it finds resonance with your soul, too. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the length of the piece. Bar for bar, it's shorter than the other two movements thus far, but the sluggish tempo makes it longer in duration. I tried to keep it interesting by modulating and varying the melodies/accompaniments, but I'm worried it may become too boring. I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts about this—and about the piece in general. Thanks, and happy listening!
  10. Check out Mars, by Gustav Holst. A great orchestral piece dominated with brass leads. Score located here: https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/05396/hfne
  11. In hindsight, that was a bit catty of me to say that, especially without offering any explanation at all. I'm sorry you felt the need to defend your work, which is absolutely a work of art and uniquely you! I didn't take the time to carefully analyze the piece (as you graciously provided in your response) to see all the differences from Chopin. I see no harm in copying another composer's style and making it your own—most of the greats did that, in some form or another. I've never set foot in a musical conservatory and still have been plagued with well-meaning senior composers telling me to "find my own voice." The issue I take with that—and I think you'll agree—is that some composers like the same kind of music, so they write in similar fashion. It's really an unreasonable demand that every composer write music that is "in their own voice," especially since that phrase theoretically means writing music completely different from anyone that's gone before you. Western music has been several hundred years in its evolution thus far, and I think we've exhaustively discovered what the human ear likes and dislikes when it comes to music... So, unless you want to "revolutionize" the Western music front and go back to banging pots and pans (that is what a lot of modern music sounds like to me), I would have to agree with you 100%: like what you like and compose what you like! It seems that you are doing just that.
  12. @Luis Hernández Once again, thanks for your kind feedback! I'm glad this piece was a little more to your liking. @panta rei You're right, I should have been more explicit in saying these were the emotions I felt in this piece. I'd love to know what you were feeling, however. (It's always very interesting to me how the same music can evoke so many different emotions among the same listeners.) I have not heard of Vladimirov but I will definitely give him a listen! Thanks for the suggestion! @SergeOfArniVillage I appreciate your thoughtful feedback, as always! I agree that moving the riten. to 125 would greatly help the transition there! (I'm hoping a live player can smoothen out much of this piece—including those jarring sforzandos that are little too sforzed, in my opinion.) The next movement (still working on it) is called "Harma," which simply means "lament" or "cry."
  13. As always, quite beautiful, Oscar! My only complaint is that there are never scores to accompany these wonderful performances!
  14. The second installment in this suite for solo piano. (The first movement is located here.) This movement, entitled "Dans," is not a literal dance; rather, it represents the rhythm that pervades this thing we call life. The work uses a lot of whole tone chords to convey mystery, and the rhythm is in an unsettling 5/8 time. There are passages of great unrest, confusion, joy, bittersweetness, loss—the whole gamut of human emotion. I tried to keep constant movement throughout to symbolize the onward march of life. As usual, this piece is impressionistic in style: quite tonal, but chord progressions are rather free, and the key changes many times. Try not to focus too much on the melodies, but rather on the imagery the piece evokes. It will take you places (hopefully!), especially once your inner metronome jives with the strange rhythm pattern. This movement contrasts a great deal from the previous one. It tends to lack a home key except in a few passages. There are less places to "catch your breath." And there is little counterpuntal material. But there are some similarities, as well, which I hope you will pick up without my giving it away. 😁 As always, I look forward to your comments/criticisms/suggestions. Happy listening!
  15. @arkinfes Wow, I don't see much aleatory music on this forum! Lots of inventive articulations among all the instruments, with—as the title implies—lots of interruptions. The instrumentation is colorful and the composition has a 1960s espionage feel to it. You've clearly had it performed (congratulations!) so someone thought it was worth putting on a program. From an audience member's perspective, however, the piece felt too long and incohesive. It sounded like there were three distinct sections with no shared material between any of them. But I could be completely wrong... The middle section, starting at around 3:30, was my favorite. I look forward to seeing the score!
  16. @panta rei This waltz is a perfect homage to Chopin. I would never have guessed he didn't write it! However, I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing, as it might be considered more artful if your own voice came through in the composition. At any rate, it was quite lovely and refreshing! If you'd like more feedback on your writing skills, perhaps you could attach a score?
  17. I'm in as a participant, as well! However, I'm also happy to help judge instead if the amount of participants becomes overwhelming.
  18. Hi, Bryan! This is quite an enchanting opening movement to a fine Classical-style piano sonata. I really enjoyed the crisp melodies and unobtrusive harmonies! My detailed comments are below. The title, "Allegro con brio," is misleading, in my opinion. The "con brio" implies great fury and fervor, and while your piece is full of emotion, I wouldn't go so far as to call it furiously passionate. Perhaps a tempo marking of "Allegro molto" or "Allegro vivo" would be more fitting. A beginning dynamic of "mp" is considered unconvincing. Consider changing it to "p" or "f" instead. (The dynamics "mp" and "mf" are supposed to be used as transitional dynamics.) 1-11 are delicate and very enjoyable to listen to. I particularly like the differing articulations in the right and left hands; gives it some spice! The upper mordent in 4 (and elsewhere) seems somewhat awkward. It might serve you better to write it out as a triplet, as I'm not quite sure which direction the alternation needs to be in. Is it B-A-C? Is it B-C-C? Is it B-A-B-C? At the end of 9, the incidental treble clef in the bass would look better positioned after the D in the following bar. At 16, the sudden lift to A7 is very rewarding! 18, the octave C sitting atop the E7/G# is beautifully dissonant and transitions magnificently to the next Am chord. Loved the playful progressions in 21-23! The transition to the subdominant (Dm) at 24 is quite skillful. Well done! 25-41: this is my favorite section of the piece! I love the interplay between the hands, the colorful chord progressions, the chromatics, the quick "day trip" to Eb major and then ending the phrase in D minor. 42: starting the next exposition in the relative major, and on the shared note (A) between d minor and F major, is very tastefully done! I enjoyed the transpositions of previous themes from 42-56. Lots of great movement from 61-67! And those chords in 67... absolutely breathtaking! The beautiful fugato from 69-102 is musically very satisfying! You are right about the playability of it, though. 88-91 will need to be reconfigured somehow so that there's not more than an octave between any one voice. 103-106: loved the interplay between the hands! 108-114: I feel like you linger on the same dim7 chord for too long. I would suggest either truncating this section or giving it some more variation. The leading 7th at 118 and back to the original theme feels too un-nuanced. Perhaps you could incorporate something with more movement to lead back into it. The coda (137-146) is nice and fast. Again, I love the switching back and forth between the hands. However, the end came very suddenly and, in my opinion, disappointingly. I woudl suggest either getting rid of the 16ths in the bass or give the right hand some movement to match. Overall, a very enjoyable piece of work. I've definitely got those melodies stuck in my head now! 😉
  19. Szép munka, Oliver! I wish I knew more about electronic music to give you a better review, but I was very impressed with your work here! It legitimately sounded like the soundtrack for a zombie video game or film. Your soundscape was quite convincing as a post-apocalypic world and the musicality was gripping—and very tastefully done. I hope someone discovers you as a filmscore writer someday...
  20. @.Em. I've used Sibelius, Dorico and LilyPond. All have learning curves to overcome. Sibelius and Dorico also have price tags to overcome. LilyPond is free—it's great for engraving music but worthless for music notation. If I were you, I would start with a free software program, such as Musescore, and save up to invest in a heftier program like Sibelius, Dorico, or Finale. And if you haven't used any of those three before, I'd put my money in Dorico. It's more intuitive (in my opinion) than Sibelius or Finale. Just my $0.02. Hope you find it useful!
  21. I voted for "Poor Form," but "Less is More" was a close second.
  22. @John_Joe_Townley Wow, this is quite an undertaking! You definitely know how to make dramatic and emotionally-appealing music. I felt that much of the music was indistinct, and there wasn't much difference in the moods among all the movements. There was some, but to me it felt like each movement was virtually a continuation of the previous one. I'd love to offer some suggestions about your orchestration. Unfortunately, if you'd like quality feedback on your scoring, you'll have to attach a pdf or link to it. It's too time-consuming to review a YouTube video.
  23. @SergeOfArniVillage Nicely done, Zach! I particularly enjoyed the foreshadowing elements at the beginning that are later joyously transformed into their major counterparts. The transition at m21 is very effective. The constant movement in the second half of the piece spoke of the ruins' exciting former days, although I was a little disappointed that we didn't return to its "shell" state at the beginning. There are a few things that didn't sit 100% well with me. The chord progressions starting in m16 and ending at the key change were a little jarring to me, perhaps even a little random. I could be missing some motivic element, though. Another thing is the architecture of the piece, if you will. It's rather... prosaic. By this I mean that the right hand largely plays the melody and the left hand largely plays some exposition of the supporting chords underneath, as if this was originally written for an orchestra but reduced for the piano. As a pianist, I prefer works that give equal rank to both hands of the player. The left hand doesn't have to play as much melody as the right, but it does need to have some interesting rhythmic structures of its own. In a related vein, I would have personally preferred more counterpoint—but that's a stylistic difference, so no worries if that's not your bend. The score looks great! There are, however, a few measures where I'm not sure which hand plays what (m44, for example). You might also want to reduce the amount of articulations on a given note, like the accents and tenutos (tenuti?) in m48. To me that's a little over-the-top, but it's probably, again, a stylistic preference. And lastly, thanks to Sibelius' (I assume) amazing programming, there are a few measures toward the end that are littered with rests in unused voices (m50, for example). I truly don't understand why the program can't clean those up... it's an endless source of frustration for me. I felt like that was a lot of criticism and very little praise... my apologies. My overall impression is that you did a great job conveying the meanings you intended to convey, all while constructing a fine piece of music! I look forward to hearing the rest!
  24. You have a gorgeous, Baroque-like style, with a firm grasp of working harmonies. Nice work! As to your orchestration, I have a few pointers. I'm not sure why you have two lines for the contrabass. I would combine them. When any of the strings have two notes at once in the same staff, it's a good idea to either notate "div." or "non div." above the notes. This is because, as you know, strings are capable of playing more than one note at the same time (called a 'double stop'). If you want the notes spread out among the same section, then write "div." If you want the notes played as double stops, then write "non div." I notice the 2nd violins repeat the 1st violins an octave lower. While that's perfectly fine in moderation, it's better orchestration to give the 2nd violins some sort of harmony or counterpoint. There are a couple instances where you write for notes at the extreme end of an instrument's range. For example, in m 15 you have the flutes play a middle C, which is very difficult (and won't be heard well), and then you have the horns play a turn at high G (m24)—that'll be very difficult to accomplish. There is a lot of doubling among the sections. Again, this is fine in moderation, but it's better form to give each instrument its own voice and minimize doubling as much as possible. In m53 and following, you use a series of hairpins and dynamic markings to denote a decrescendo. All you have to do is write one hairpin and put the final dynamic marking at the end. You did a great job overall! Keep up the good work!
  25. @SergeOfArniVillage I think you are the first person who understood these preludes—congratulations! The beauty of impressionism, in my opinion, is that it can convey so much with so little. And, since it relies heavily on imagery and strips away more concrete musical ideas, it leaves a great deal of interpretation up to the audience. It isn't meant to precisely portray a scene like a Rembrandt portrait; it just outlines the mood and feelings, and lets the beholder paint the rest of the picture. You were spot on with the introspective, philosophical nature of these preludes... and that they're all related! I'm not sure if you noticed, but each prelude's key is exactly one-half step lower than the one before it, symbolizing the philosopher settling in his mindset. They are grouped according to what could be a natural philosphical thought progression: the unchanging but often ironic ways of life, the joys life can bring, the realization that joy is impossible without sadness, the cycle of grief, the bittersweetness of loss, the grandeur of love and goodness, and finally the fact that much of life will remain a mystery. These are, more or less, an expression of my musings as I sit in a leather armchair, staring out the rain-stained window with a lukewarm cup of coffee. I sincerely appreciate your perceptive outlook on my works. I try not to just compose pieces that "sound good." Almost all of them have a deeper meaning. It warms my heart that you were able to perceive that! I also appreciate your suggestions and will seriously consider them! Cheers, Jordan
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