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Posts posted by robinjessome

  1. 19 hours ago, Monarcheon said:

    Do you have a preference to one style (control) over another (loose)? In what way? 

    I personally might tend towards the looser, more reactive approach; however, depending on the mood, I definitely do love something that's very carefully planned and weaves the looseness together in a more controlled manner.  The early 2000s Metheny Group stuff I particularly liked. As well as a lot of contemporary large ensemble writing... but I definitely lean more towards the Mingus, Monk, Ornette school of thinking. 

    Another great example of being loose and comfortable within a pretty controlled environment would be the Avishai Cohen trio stuff. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVijn6v_cLM - very complex metrically, harmonically - but it still feels very organic and natural)



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  2. Maybe you're trying to do too much at once. Harmony, rhythm, colour, tempo, melody, feel, orchestration, dynamics, yada yada yada... it's a lot of stuff to consider.


    Try eliminating a lot of it. Limit various elements and focus on one thing.

    • Take an existing harmonic progression, write a new melody for it.
    • Take an existing melody and re-harmonize.
    • Take a piano piece and re-orchestrate it for a string quartet.
    • Take a piano + soloist piece and write some accompanying background figures for it.

    Or whatever.

    Artificially limiting yourself will force you to focus on one or two elements, you'll learn a lot along the way. You'll also write some terrible stuff. Embrace it. Eventually good things will flow. Don't expect any of these exercises to be actual, presentable pieces - it's homework. It's practice. They're musical workouts. You have to get in shape before you try and run the race. 

    So, don't worry about being blocked. Knock away one block at a time, be patient with yourself and don't expect great things right off the bat.

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  3. On 3/8/2018 at 11:53 AM, Monarcheon said:

    ...the notes written on the page have no more meaning than a poem does...

    ...until you listen to it.

    Even so, the notes would hold a profound and specific meaning to the composer. 

    The "meaning" is always there...just up for each listener to discover for themselves. 

    Until it's heard, music is Schrödinger's cat. It's both meaningful and meaningless. It has the potential to be deeply moving, or instantly forgettable, or anywhere in between. 

    Hardly worthless, I think. 

    I won't bother trying to address the whole "100% convey what you feel" nonsense. There's countless papers and dissertations on semantics in music that do it better than I. That said...I don't think anyone should care what the composer is trying to force on you. What's more important is "what did you feel?"  


  4. Like Darcy James Argue, the Opening of Kenny Wheeler's Music For Large and Small Ensembles had a profound and long-lasting impact on my writing and general musical appreciation. His last points resonate as something I think we're all striving to learn and understand in writing music. Digging into Kenny Wheeler's music is a great way to start: 

    • how to take stuff that is complex and make it sound simple
    • how to take stuff that is methodically constructed and make it sound organic
    • how to take stuff that is conventionally “wrong” and make it sound uncomplicatedly beautiful

    [READ] Introduction to a Particular Song (by Darcy James Argue)


    Read this, you'll be all the wiser for doing so.

  5. I don't doubt that the theoretical ideas are interesting, it's just that this type of "high-theory" isn't my bag. I didn't mean to sound negative - what you're demonstrating is neat :P

    It's also something that top-level players kindof do automatically. A great big band lead trumpet will ride a little sharp on some notes to make it a little brighter and shine through. And sure, the blues scale feels better when you bend some notes one way or another - perhaps due to the physics of what you're exploring.

    In practice though, I doubt trying to define and use these concepts in any meaningful way will be easy ;)

  6. 19 hours ago, Gylfi said:

    [a whole lot of stuff]

    Yes, obviously, the stuff you say is well and good. You're just WAY overthinking the point I'm trying to make... and none of it really has anything to do with addressing my initial comment that "the genre / style you're exploring has nothing to do with it being contemporary or not".


    19 hours ago, Gylfi said:

    The world is shaped by events. ... [History] has changed the way people think about writing for instruments. That doesn't mean that every piece from now on must only use extended techniques, but the playing field has been changed forever and in order to be relevant one must acknowledge these events.

    That's fine. But acknowledging progression in music has literally nothing to do with a work or performance being "contemporary". 


  7. 14 hours ago, Gylfi said:

    But it does. To take an example from postwar times: minimalism, which is like the antithesis of dense "academic" music, is not what you get when you put your fingers in your ears and say: "I've had enough of this nonsense, I am going to do what I want to do". It's a direct comment on the times, it couldn't possibly exist without the thing it is contradicting. I don't think one can really appreciate what minimalism stands for without thoroughly understanding the idea of "maximalism". As for music that does come out of putting your fingers in your ears - what's the point? It is irrelevant. Style is not just a cosmetic feature, it is a philosophy.


    What are you talking about? 

  8. 3 hours ago, Austenite said:

    For instance, you could as well pick an orchestration treatise by Berlioz or Rimsky-Korsakov, the book on harmony by Tchaikovsky, and a few clues from some other guys, and claim you're going Neo-Romantic, which is actually more "contemporary" than atonality nowadays.


    Exactly.  The genre / style you're exploring has nothing to do with it being contemporary or not ...   ;)  

  9. 9 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

    Yes they are.


    Anyway, you can make your recommendations too.



    9 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

    Contemporary Composition by Maxine Hairston was released in the 80's, but this one I haven't read.


    This isn't really my arena so I have no recommendations. ... it's just funny to me that  >30-year-old texts are ideal for studying "contemporary" music ... Why not look towards actual contemporary music...like, from this decade?


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