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Everything posted by jawoodruff

  1. I love the concept of a clarinet trio -one instrument with the possibilities of many different timbral qualities. Good choice. Some notes: First, I think the pointillistic beginning is well done -my only thought is perhaps have the first clarinet move up to the upper range of the instrument. This would showcase the different timbral possibilities inherent within the range of the instrument itself. Also, you use trill -but had you thought about using flutter toungue? I also know that some clarinetists can do double stop technique -not sure if you thought of that? Second, I'm not sure having all three parts come together in parallel motion a bar after mark III works. I think if you had the 2nd Clarinet move contrary to the first and bass that this passage might be a bit more interesting -or you could have the 2nd clarinet maintain the pointillistic material as a way to connect the two sections together more cohesively. Just a thought. Third, the seemingly scalar pattern that emergence around mark IV could use some articulation to further enhance it. I love this passage -but... it doesn't seem to have much in the way of character (if that makes sense?) I do enjoy how you offset it around mark VI -that was a nice touch. Again, between this area you have the same parallel motion -which again doesn't quite strengthen this material. It's rather drab. The material at mark VII is some of the best I've seen from you. Your use of imitative counterpoint here is quite good -and provides good interest and intensity. Mark XIV! This! This is good! This is the perfect way to handle the parallel motion. I love this section -though I wish there was more variety in articulation. The bar right before mark XIX works -but I think you should use fermata to intensify the importance of each note here. I'll let you figure out why this instance of parallel motion works -when the others don't. The return to the pointillistic material was well welcome -though I think you could have carried it a few more bars to draw the work to a fuller close. All in all, I think this is a huge expansion of your use of this kind of language -and one that I hope you take some good points from. I love writing chamber works as it provides a small way to hone ones craft in a very meaningful way. Keep up the great work! This is very impressive!
  2. This is a huge improvement. The strings are the perfect volume now -they don't overpower the bass or the melodic line and add a nice bit of support to the melody/bass interplay. I love this. It's definitely on the right track! Keep up the great work!
  3. Form is absolutely an important component of structure -I believe everyone would agree upon this. What I would argue, however, is that the set traditional forms don't carry as much weight as they once did. I know from my own experience writing that -for instance- I have no use for the traditional structural requirement of the sonata form (that it start in the tonic and modulate through the exposition to the dominant). My musical language isn't built upon traditional common practice harmony -save for deceptive harmonic passages. Thus, when I use sonata form.. I alter the form to fit my needs -if I even use the form at all. Instead, I create my own structures and forms -or modify pre-existing forms. It is this reason that leads me to also think that some forms are less important now as they once were.
  4. Yes, just the volume of them. I don't write in this idiom -so I don't know the exact terminology.
  5. Reharmonization and Textural Changes are also good techniques -regardless of compositional style. I didn't include them in the original post because I'd be too afraid some would just add a new chord while keeping their material 100% in tact -or they would apply the new chord in a way to negate its importance.
  6. I'm not sure why your works aren't even given comments on here. You have a nice flow and build to your material. The opening of this is very gorgeous. My only critique would be to drop the piano volume down to better hear the cello. At times, it completely drowns it out. Otherwise, beautiful piece.
  7. Very lively. At times it reminds me a bit of Star Wars (perhaps that's the rhythmic motif?) At any rate, I remember many themes like this growing up in the 80s and 90s... this one definitely fits right in. Good work!
  8. Honestly, I don't see the need for vocals with this. It's got a nice vibe to it -almost Caribbean in a way. I quite like it. I'd remix it a tad though and drop the flutey melody down just a little and equalize the strings up in volume a little as well (or you could pan them to bring them out just a little -not too much though). In regards the harmony, not at all. The main melody still cuts through nicely -the harmony acts more like a chorus effect (which I believe is common in game music, right?) All in all, very catchy. Good work!
  9. No worries at all. Was just surprised to not hear the augmented second. The piece is good. Was just a query. 🙂
  10. Not bad at all. A very relaxing texture. I especially enjoyed the chromatic interplay between the cello and oboe. Nicely done. My only critique would be to remove the trill in the oboe at the end. Perhaps place it on the leading tone (which was often the case anyways). Ironically, I didn't feel this was baroque -reminded me very much of some of Mozart's slow movements.
  11. I've seen a lot of works in the forum that share a common thread: lack of musical development. Developing your musical ideas is one of the top cornerstones of music composition. Certainly, we all could just state one idea after another -each totally unrelated but interconnected within a harmonic framework and structure. However nice we make the work sound... how similar the ideas are... it's not truly going to really go anywhere -and very little (if anything) will be remembered by the listener. So, this post will look at a few techniques that can help you get the most out of your musical ideas. Before we begin, here are some basic terms that you should know: Motif A motif (or motivic unit) is a short segment of your melody -or it can be the melody itself (reference the famous fate motif from Beethoven's 5th... or the opening notes of Mozart's 40th). I've also heard motivic units called other things: kernals, seeds, pitch sets, etc. These are the building blocks of your work... Yes, that's right... that melody you spent hours crafting... isn't the actual building block. The motivic material that it comprises of are. Thus, these are things that -as composers- you should pay close attention to. Period A period is your basic, microlevel musical structure. No matter your aesthetic, a period is the full sentence of your melody. A period can be broken apart into usually two distinct parts: antecedent and consequent (also referred to as question and answer). Often... both parts of the period contain the same motivic material -with different endings. You see this type of microlevel structure throughout most of the common practice period -and composers today also rely on this stuff to some degree. Phrase A phrase is the fuller musical statement -a complete musical thought. In the Common Practice Period -as well as some works from today- phrases conclude with a cadence. So, to make sense of this... A motif or motivic unit should be built into a period which is then expanded into a phrase. Those who write contrapuntal textures (i.e. fugues) know good and well the value of structuring material in a way that allows greater flexibility in ideas. Motivic units are the key here to making your ideas blossom. Development So, when you are setting to developing your ideas... there are some basic foundational techniques you can utilize: 1. Sequence: Sequences can be utilized to expand thematic material. Generally, you move within whatever harmonic framework you have setup. Think of the fate theme from Beethoven's Fifth, for instance, the sequences are quite memorable and draw the motif further. These can move up or down within whatever harmonic framework you desire. This is a great tool for building tension as well. 2. Diminution/Augmentation: Diminution is the shortening of note values while Augmentation is the lengthening of note values. So for instance, if a particular motif is in 8th notes... you can shorten the value to 16th or lengthen the value to whole notes. This is a great tool to use in delaying or drawing out your material. 3. Displacement: Displacement can apply to rhythm or note -hence why I group it together. Rhythmic displacement occurs when the metrical stress is placed on a different note than the original musical statement. Often you'll see this in more modern musical styles -Stravinsky was a big fan of this method! Note displacement, on the other hand, is a little bit different (though similar). This is where you play with the overall contour of the motif. So... for instance... if your theme is stepwise in nature (ABC)… then you displace the steps via octave displacement making one of the steps leap up to the next note an octave higher OR down to the next note an octave lower. This type displacement is something seen in works spanning from the Baroque on up to the modern day. 4. Alteration: Alteration is when you add or remove something from your material. So... for instance... if your motif contains the notes E C# A D (random notes), then you can alter that motif by changing the note itself EC#AD --> EC#G#D. The alteration can unfold throughout the work -though, this may not help the listener grasp onto your motif. Beethoven, as an example, altered the 'Fate Motif' within the entirety of the first movement -and- also altered it to connect each movement cohesively (yes, the motif appears in all 4 movements). 5. Inversion: Motivic units -and the larger phrases that come out of them- can also be inverted. This can change the overall contour of the motif AND present a different experience for the listener. 6. Retrograde: Retrograde is the same as backwards. Stating the motif backwards maintains a similar contour -but it can change or alter the anticipations of the material. 7. Dismantlement: Breaking up your motivic material is a powerful technique that can result in mixed results -depending on your overall structure. Many works feature the dismantling of motivic material from the classical period all the way up to modern day. Think of this as the ultimate development of your material -and one that can have a lasting effect on those listening to your music. So, I hope this little review of development techniques helps. If anyone has any other techniques not covered -or wants to expand on one that is covered- feel free to reply!
  12. Musicality is a concept that -granted- carries with it a great deal of subjectivity. Certainly, a musical passage -as heard by a westerner- isn't going to be perceived within the same cultural understanding when listened to by a person unfamiliar with the western musical tradition. Right? Common sense.. our culture dictates our likes and dislikes much more than we realize (yes, this is how you were raised). Thus, one could make a strong argument that musicality isn't objective in nature. But.. can one even say it exists? What makes a musical passage musical. Is there a way that it flows? Is a melody musical if it follows a formulaic design? What determines musicality?
  13. Seeing how this topic comes up again and again in many of the upload reviews, I felt that it'd be a good topic to have here in the Composer's HQ. Predictability is -of course- being able to predict or anticipate where a particular musical passage will go to. Tonal composers -often- choose chords due to their tendency to resolve to other chords (i.e. V-I progressions). Thus, tonal music -one could argue- carries with it a great deal of predictability on the listener's behalf (we all know the famed structures of the CP period carried with them particular departure points harmonically speaking). Good composers -the masters, so to speak- were able to manipulate the patterns of predictability by delaying expected resolution patterns. Thus expanding upon established musical structures (fugue, sonata form, binary, ternary... etc.) Today's audiences -who have experience with non-tonal (namely, common practice tonality) music- still have the ability to anticipate musical patterns -but... how relevant is structure and predictability in music? That is the discussion to be had.... Enjoy and keep it nice!
  14. And by, yes.. sort of... what I meant was that usually its just the interval -as its usually modified even in major modalities. I like to think of it as the Middle Eastern Interval -as you see it a lot in the music of Bloch and others. I didn't realize this was in Bm... it almost sounded whole tone in some spots -was that intentional?
  15. So, here is the updated, revised 2nd draft. The piece utilizes fugato -with a blend of development. This revision is pretty much going to be the final -unless I decide to change the ending. Comments welcome!
  16. Measure 149 - 150- The sustained note doesn't quite make much sense aurally. The modulations aren't typical of a fantasy -which generally can go all over the place (reference the piano fantasies of Mozart and Beethoven). That said, the abridged sonata form works -but where is the thematic/motivic development? You have an awesomely rich melody... with several parts that could have been developed nicely. Measure 82, for instance, seems like you lost a precious moment to build the material in the bass up. I can easily seeing the entire ensemble sharing in the bassoon passage... rising the broken scalar material up until your loud rhythmic proclamations at measure 88. Which, coincidentally, I see what you are attempting at measures 91 and 92... which that scalar passage would have really added to the tension bringing more attention to the breakup and potential diminution of your material here. At any rate, love the melody... wish the oboe patch was better. Keep up the good work!
  17. Not a bad piece at all. I'm really interested in learning how you created the video for this? What music animation software is this?
  18. One question I have is why you didn't use the traditional augmented second interval (i.e., Eb - F#) often associated with this subject matter? This would have really drawn the inspiration home -at least to me.
  19. This is awesome. Such a big score. Had to zoom in on my phone just to see everything. That's awesome you can maintain coherency working with so many parts. Keep up the great work!
  20. This is very gorgeous. I love the suspended animation. It really adds to the flavor. Good work!
  21. Hmmm... this sounds eerily similar to the theme for the Legend of Zelda. I adore that. Let me review it some more and I'll provide a more in depth review.
  22. I love the name and agree with Luis... the resilience of the motif over the harmonic tension is beautiful.
  23. Well, this thread went way out there. I dont see how Luis's subjectively based comment on this work got so warped. It is what it is though. Here's a bit of wisdom from an older member of this site: when someone just posts audio of their work (and no score), then it's a good indication that they dont want feedback. That said, I think emotions should be set aside and claws retracted. We are colleagues regardless of our personal views on musical aesthetic. That said, I'd love to have an honest discussion about predictability and musicality in the discussions forum. Fascinating topics.
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