Jump to content

September Competition


Recommended Posts

Hello all!

For the September competition, I am challenging you to compose a piece of music that could only be written in our own time. So often we look to the past, which is important when composing. However, I would like to see something in each entrants piece that shows that it could only be written in our time. Now I know some of you purists are saying "Oh, preposterous, good music is good music. I am not composing some weird crap." -- I say to you that the music can fit the guidelines and be in pretty much any conceivable style: To give some ideas of how a piece can only be from today (or at least the past 50 years, but go for as current as possible):

1. The use of music technology:

(computers, synths, effects processors, complex figures that can only be played by computers, etc.-even the sounds technological devices could be used - (eg. the cell phone symphony or the Awesome Auger percussion section)

2. The use of a new instrument:

several instruments and variations of instruments have been created in recent years, write for one.

3. Used new mixed medias:

Video, Internet, Illustration, Music, etc. while not all are new, combining these in a unique way could win you this competition.

4. Text:

History does make things from our time. You could use text in your piece that could only be from our time in regards to history or text from an author from our time (be careful with copyright).

5. Something I haven't thought about...there are certainly endless possibilities. So often I hear people complain about how music isn't progressing or can't progress when our possibilities are only becoming more and more endless.

I will allow collaborations for this competition as well! Think about it- with the internet available, you can create something like Whitacre's virtual choir....

I will give a little bit of extra time as I feel this is a tricky competition and requires some thought.

Ok fine..new deadline










Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple questions...

Will "musciality as defined by Western culture" count? Say I compose something John Cage-esque... like

Now to the normal person's ear this isn't necessarily musical... but it is creative. Or like some of the things he wrote for Radios tuned to certain frequencies.

If I wrote something obscure like this would it stand a chance?


A score is necessary I'm assuming...

But is a recording?

Let's say I write a piece for two radios, the "song" simply being the directions "Tune one radio to FM101.1 and the other AM620."

Is this acceptable?

Just throwing out ideas to make sure I don't put in something so crazy that I get disqualified :santa:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(note, I will not be competing, I don't have the means for a rendering)

I am also curious about the parameters of judging. What will the entries be judged on, exactly?

Thanks for posting that video, JJ, that's a really telling clip. Cage seems to be a charming guy and very serious about his art.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So to answer some questions: I will accept a score, explanation, rendering, diagram...whatever best suits your piece. It would probably be beneficial to be able to produce some kind of rough idea of how your piece would sound-get your friends to come make whatever spacey noises you are imagining. If a computer rendering or some kind of visual or score is the best that you can do, submit it anyways. I am interested in seeing how creative that you can be. While I will decide a "winner," this competition is as much about trying to expand everyone's horizons as much as anything. As far as parameters, I am hesitant to throw anything out there as far as criteria for this. If you insist, here is what I am looking for:

1. Is there an element that shows the piece is from OUR time.

2. Creativity-Fresh ideas combined with purpose.

3. Does it have aural merit? This is wide open for discussion but music that is beeps and bloops has been done-not that I don't think super abstract music can't be good BUT try to apply it to something if your piece is like this. For example, a video or visual of some kind can help certain abstract pieces greatly!

Please don't be afraid to experiment or even to fail in your original vision-some of the greatest inventions were mistakes (or maybe that is something people just say)..hahah...But go for it!

I have quite eclectic tastes so don't be afraid to hurt my ears or think your piece is too out there...I can take it. I also appreciate simplicity so don't feel you have to be out there....be yourself.

This kind of thinking can create all kinds of argument about what music is, etc. but that is really not what I think we should be interested with in this competition. Let's just see what kind of creative ideas we can come up with...experiment and don't be afraid to explore and see what maybe we haven't thought of that we like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really? Just to write something of today? I didn't say it had to be 20 minutes long or astronomical or complex. Just something that is written today. It doesn't even have to be strange. I try to make something current or different sounding in all of my pieces (although all of my pieces may not fit the guidelines of the competition where it would be impossible to tell they weren't written a little further back in time). However, I think it is something we should consider when writing-what makes me current? or maybe you decide you don't care about that and that's fine too but it is the point of the challenge. Perhaps this can be the microcosm of a bigger idea that you could come up with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole notion of "What is current" is silly to begin with since there is clearly no consensus as to what is "current music." In the worldwide pluralistic society that we live in, there are so many different viewpoints on music that there is no real definable trend, IMO. Do you really think Beethoven and his ilk knew that they were ushering the romantic period as they were writing their music? Of course not. They wrote what they loved and held dear to their artistic, aesthetic, and spiritual standards. It wasn't until theorists began to dissect their music and notice cultural and musical traits similar between them. But this wasn't because Beethoven wanted to sound modern or up-to-date. How can one even define what is modern or up-to-date? Because, once we do, it will already be long gone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Justin, read the original prompt. I DID NOT say to create a new sound that no one has ever heard that is modern because you are the latest, most amazing thing. I said to compose a piece that could not have been composed long ago...in fact I said to make a composition that could not have been written earlier than the past 50 years...there are plenty of easy ways to do that...hell, any piece with a synth fits into that category. I am hoping people can look out of the box more than that though. If you can not think of a creative way to be different that is appealing it is very hard to do anything as a composer today...

Your Beethoven argument isn't relevant as I am not really talking about the style. However, plenty of Beethoven's critics felt him to be hmm....let's say..."too modern."

Rather than bash the idea and debate why not take it for what it is worth and try to push yourself somewhere you haven't gone as a composer and see if you like it...if not, then you wasted a few hours-could have been wasted doing far worse things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe making increasing the deadline by a month would help. :P

My brother moved out and we've been moving rooms around. Ergo, my house is in jumbles. My computer with all my ideas for the competition piece is all packed up at the moment and there's nowhere to set it up. I'm also supposed to be arranging a piece for a local high school band.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Create New...