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Conceptual Music Competition 26: Dark Tavern


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CMC: Conceptual Music Competition


This competition is based on the rules of the classic TOMC (Thematic Original Music Competition).

The CMC (Conceptual Music Competition) is designed so that each participant enters a piece of music based on a set theme. The participants take the theme and interpret it as they will to come up with something that fits. Any style can work, as long as it portrays a sense of what the theme is.

Feel free to be imaginative!

Each successive theme will be chosen by the winner of the previous competition. For example, say the theme of the last competition, CMC 29, was "Snake Pit" and the winner, Howard, submitted a piece that knocked the socks off of everyone, so he won. Howard then gets to decide the theme for CMC 30.

This competition is open to registered members of the forums of

OverClocked ReMix, VGMix, VGMusic, Gaming World, Young Composers, and GameDev.


CMC 26: Dark Tavern

"People converse around tables as they swirl the ice in their drinks, the whatever-you-want band playing in the background, the clinking of glasses, the muted lighting and the smoke-filled air... the atmosphere of a dingy old bar." -sillythewilly


There are 9 entries for this round...

HoboKa - "SpaceTavern"

  • "Samus walks into a dingy tavern, donned only in her super tight Zero suit. She's in need of some seriously hard liquor after the last encounter with space pirates.
    Naturally, all the men in the bar turn to her, most of whom recognize her. Almost all are wise enough to turn away, except for one fool who figured he could play her. He offers to buy her a drink, but Samus gives him the coldest, flattest stare that could melt rocks. He withers from her gaze and retreats into the dark corners of the crappy tavern.
    Then, of course I, the 'great' HoboKa, enter the dingy tavern with my keyboard and sound system (it's the future, so the system's all pretty compact). I then played this rather unorthodox song. What happened after that, well, we'll let the reader decide...(ran out of ideas, sorry)"

Andrew Stock - "Ritual"

  • "This piece for string quartet, titled 'Ritual,' isn't about any kind of pagan ritual from hundreds of years ago or anything like that. The title refers to the 'ritual' of going to the tavern at night, drinking and having a good time, leaving at dawn, and then returning another night.
    It is built in three short sections, each loosely related to one of these concepts. It opens with a slow, recitative-like passage, with solos underlined by static harmonies. This tonally ambiguous music represents the night and the feel of being in a dimly lit bar. Soon after, a more animated section begins, with a duet in dotted rhythms between the two violins resembling the walk of a drunken man. The man finally collapses, leaving a single note that announces a return to the original texture. This time, the music is lighter and the cello sings in a higher register, and the piece finally ends on a would-be A major triad- the C# is replaced with a B natural- a bittersweet finish for the merry tavern-goers who must leave with the arrival of the sun."

Jeff Rettew - "Clay Hotel"

  • "Clay Hotel, this is a real tavern in a town near my home. It played an important role in the planning of both revolutionary and civil wars. Strangely enough the only music that they have played in my years was acoustic guitar. I would like to think if the tavern had the room for a band, this is the style the audience would hear. I hope you enjoy the sounds as much as I enjoyed writing this piece. It is the first time I have entered anything like this. I am a percussionist by trade, and only compose as a hobby. I write what I hear. So even if you don't vote for my piece, or even like it: please leave feed back. I would really appreciate the input. Hope you enjoy!"

Roberto Toledo - "Diogenes of Sinope: Voyage with a Lantern through the Dark Tavern"
  • "A work based upon the learned, self-sufficient cynic (Diogenes) which seeks to portray a distanced observation of various human qualities, whilst drinking at the bar of a tavern. The piece has three distinct sections which hope to be somewhat reminiscent of apophthegms in their short, incisive title; such as 'Simian dances and coquetries' which in a flash inspires something of the ridiculous, the farcical. The three sections, extended and developed in the unfolding of the miniature, are;
    I. In a whiskey do I see... Apocryphal misery...
    II. Bar Talk: Gustavo, so called friend, shopistician to no end
    III. Simian dances, coquetries and no panties"

Omri Lahav - "Midnight Sins"

  • "In a lonely alleyway wrought in pale moonlight, stands a place where no questions are asked, deep in the underbelly of beautiful Paris. Jazz is playing, strangers exchange glances and lies, money exchanges hands, and by the first break of dawn the sins of midnight are long forgotten. Shrouded in the haze of fake, drunken smiles, the Dark Tavern is home to those cast out into the night."

Alpan Aytekin - "Clinking Groove"
  • "The piece is about a dark tavern atmosphere where the clinking sounds of the glass and ice are expressed as vibraphone, and the smoky atmosphere is expressed by various synth pads. The itchy LFO synth in the middle and at the end expresses the dim tungsten lights."

Nario - "The Adventurous Pub"

  • "Three men perform at a mundane pub during the day. It is your average pub, with probably about four customers and no one is paying attention to the cheesy epic music."

Marius Masalar - "Marrasha"
  • "Marrasha. There is something strange about the place. It is obvious from the doorway.
    A creak, a whisper of strained dust in the murky air, and suddenly the world is left far behind as the heady darkness of an exotic place engulfs the senses. Strange instruments call out from the shadows, conversing with each other loosely — never directly, yet always strangely coherent. Voices become noticeable in the gloom as you venture deeper into the establishment. Discussions in foreign tongues, haunting songs of lost loves and treasures in the night. Someone offers a drink insistently, but the liquids burn and beguile and you refuse.
    How many tables are there? Hallways? There is no symmetry here. Stumbling forward, a strange rhythm emerges from the dim wash of noise: simple, unstable, and utterly captivating. Figures dance unevenly and hoot to each other, celebrating the loss of things they never had or wanted. Women call out from a distant corner and beckon seductively. They do not have eyes.
    Slowly, the fumes become more intoxicating...or is it the music? There is a sense of urgency and tension that overtakes you as more wide corridors and pillared halls unfold before you in this impossibly large tavern. It is a dark place, and as legs give way and vision clouds, you understand that you should have taken the drink — it may have burned, but it is better than madness...and the laughter of children carries you off into blackness."

Cryora - "The Weary Band"

  • "They used to aspire to be famous, but it was all too much for them, so this is now how they earn their living, playing gentle music every day in a dark old tavern."

Voting Rules!:
  • Voters will be allowed to pick one first place (3 points) and any number of honorary mentions (1 point). Only one set of votes from any one voter will be accepted and a person cannot vote for any one piece more than once. Corrections to votes, from the original voter only, will be accepted, but corrections will void the previous votes. Basically, a voter can vote and correct the vote, but only the final form of that vote will be counted. Send all votes to
Abadoss by PM. Please include any and all constructive critiques (not to be confused with bashing) about them with your votes as well, so that there's always a sense of growth in the artform. If you wish to remain anonymous, just state so in your PM. Thanks.

  • To be eligible to vote, you must be a registered member of at least one of the participating forums, prior to the beginning of the voting period. In your PM or e-mail, please indicate which forum you are a member of and your username.

  • The voting period will last from the moment the entries are posted in the thread to the Saturday of that week. The voting period for this round ends March 7, so be sure to spend some time really listening to the pieces.

  • Any participant in the competition can vote, but not for their own pieces. However, in an effort to encourage voting among participants, any participant who votes will have 2 points added to his/her voting score (unless the participant chooses to be anonymous).

Official Rules!:
  1. Each piece must be originally composed for this competition. Arrangements and remixes will not be accepted. (Pieces composed by the participant prior to the competition will not be accepted.)
  2. Each piece must be 2:00 or longer and match the competition theme.
  3. Only one entry per person. Collaborations will be allowed, but each collaborator may not submit any other pieces. (This also means that a person cannot collaborate on two or more different pieces at the same time.)
  4. A link to the entry piece must be e-mailed or PMed to Abadoss prior to the deadline set for each competition. DO NOT POST THE LINK IN THE THREAD!
  5. Important: Each file must be labeled accordingly: Composer_Name_-_Composition_Title_CMC#.mp3
    (For example, if Donald Thompson submits a piece called "Tin Pancakes" to CMC 28, then his filename would be: Donald_Thompson_-_Tin_Pancakes_CMC28.mp3)
  6. MP3 file format is required. Know that even OGG will need to be converted into MP3. (If someone is unable to do so themselves, Abadoss would be willing and able to do it for them.)
  7. Entries should be accompanied by a description and/or story to help listeners understand what the piece is about. (Not required, though.)
  8. All entries must be submitted by Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 11:59 PM - PST, GMT-8.

You can find the competition threads for each forum listed below:

Good luck and have fun! :D

Previous CMCs: Conceptual Music Competition (1-9)

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  • 2 weeks later...

yeah composing something in 5 days is a bit of a stretch, but next comp looks like an option

i think you can link to storage

Yes, you can link to storage or you can attach the file to an e-mail. Either way works fine as long as I'm able to download the file.

There was a time when I could sit down and consistently have a piece out in about four to six hours. It's a little harder nowadays, but, depending on my level of inspiration, I could probably still do it.

Can I "stage" anything within said Tavern and compose to that?

It's kind of cheating, but I just can't seem to get any ideas for static "Tavern" background music.

You have the freedom to interpret the theme as you want/need to. Often people create little stories to go with their entries. I've often used poetry to set the stage for a bit of a tone poem type effect. It really just depends on what you want to do. Just know that when people vote, they're going to vote depending on how well it works with the theme idea.

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