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How Does One Know When One's Piece Is Worthy Of Being Performed At A Concert?


luderart
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How can one obtain truly objective judgement about the worth of one's piece? How does one judge whether one's piece is worthy or unworthy of performance at a concert? Even if it were, do you think a performer would give it the benefit of the doubt (or take the necessary risk) if you are unknown as a composer, even if they knew you as a person? And how do you know if a performer is simply being kind with you in your face while at the back of their mind they think your piece is trash? I am asking because I don't want to be reduced to "begging" performers to even try out my piece. And when they are all kindness and hide their real idea of your piece, then they are already treating you as a "beggar" and being "kind" to your feelings by not revealing their true idea about your piece - that your piece is worthless to them! And who said even their true idea about your piece is correct or truly objective? Why should composers be at the mercy of performers (or even audiences) as regards the worth of their piece and its right to be performed?

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generally, if the music's good, they would want to perform it. for a more specific answer (which you probably wanted), I'd suggest you read this http://ostimusic.com/blog/music-publishing/ and this http://ostimusic.com/blog/even-tanglewood-has-a-band/ this might be helpful. And you don't have to be at mercy of the performer. If you write a good oboe piece, I'll be willing to play it and record it for you

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generally, if the music's good, they would want to perform it. for a more specific answer (which you probably wanted), I'd suggest you read this http://ostimusic.com...sic-publishing/ and this http://ostimusic.com...ood-has-a-band/ this might be helpful. And you don't have to be at mercy of the performer. If you write a good oboe piece, I'll be willing to play it and record it for you

Thanks for the offer to play and record. I'll have you in mind should I compose a good oboe piece. However, that's exactly the problem. How do I know what you would consider good is the same as what I consider good? What are the objective criteria, if any, whereby we judge the greatness of a piece? Or is it totally subjective? I don't think it is, because if it were, there wouldn't be such near-universal agreement on the greatness of a great piece. But then again, perhaps it's just that there is an agreement in subjectivity! Perhaps we humans all suffer from the same kind of subjective bias which we consider greatness. What I mean is that just agreement in opinions is no guarantee of objectivity!

It may, however, be that there are really no objective criteria of artistic greatness. If that be so, then it would be that what we consider great merely happens to meet the criteria of the subjective judgement of the majority concerning greatness.

However, I believe there are objective criteria of artistic - in particular musical - greatness. And if I were to speculate on what these objective criteria of the artistic greatness of a piece of music could be, here is what I would come up with:

1. An organic coherence among the parts of the piece. An interrelatedness of each part to every other part and to the whole, or at least the composer's awareness of each part (and of its significance) in the light of every other part and of the whole. I think a great piece of music would not be composed of unrelated sections following one another. There would be a continuity and coherence among the ideas presented.

2. Variety despite unity.

3. Dramatic sense.

4. The presence of direction, a climax, and ending.

5. Novelty and originality.

6. Length of the piece and the number of instruments involved? However, this seems to put the emphasis on quantity rather than quality and therefore its validity as a criterion of greatness is debatable. Do you agree it constitutes a criterion of greatness?

Please add to the above list your own suggestions for objective criteria on how to judge the greatness of a piece of music.

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And you don't have to be at mercy of the performer. If you write a good oboe piece, I'll be willing to play it and record it for you

Thanks a lot for the suggestion and offer treehugger1995. I just wrote and uploaded a short piece for oboe. Here is the link:

http://www.youngcomp...-for-oboe-no-1/

I hope you'll find it "good" and play it and record it. I'll also be interested in all your feedback as an oboist!

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  • 4 weeks later...

You should keep learning and practicing (composing) and getting feedback from composers / teachers / professional performers / people you trust about your music. If this is ongoing you will mature and you will begin to know the do's and dont's. (Basically it means achieving mastery, gradually.) At that point you will know and you will begin to believe in your material. Just keep learning, and stay 'honest' in your art.

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@YC: Hmm, that would seem to introduce bias as an important element of whose piece gets performed.

I have a 7th point to add to the "objective criteria of the artistic greatness of a piece of music" that I had listed in my second post:

7. Trueness or faithfulness to one's own inner voice as a composer and the lack of attempts to imitate others.

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You know what your problem is? You're putting the performance on a pedestal.

Hmm. You might be right. That's because I haven't really attended a performance of any of my pieces. OK, I have had two songs performed - but I was myself singing in the choir that performed them! Maybe some of you who have enjoyed the experience of attending a performance of their pieces can share with me what they felt when they heard their piece performed for the first time. How did their perception of the piece change? Were they inspired to compose new pieces, or to compose in a new way for the same instrument(s)?

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  • 2 months later...

I would rather ask myself: How does one know when one's composition is worthy of repeated perfomances?

You can have your compositions performed if you have anybody willing to do it. Heck, you can do it yourself. The analysis usually comes after the perfomance. The response from audience, critics, perfomers. And then the question makes its prominence.

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Before you have your piece performed, you can always ask a local orchestra or some such group to play through your piece at a rehearsal. I wouldn't expect much in terms of the quality of the performance, but at least it will give you some idea of what the piece will sound like with real instruments.

After that, the main question you need to ask yourself is if it sounds the way that you intended for it to sound. If the answer is yes, then the piece is worthy of performance. Quite frankly, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks unless you wrote the piece to explain their emotions, ideas, etc (and I'm guessing that you probably didn't).

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Before you have your piece performed, you can always ask a local orchestra or some such group to play through your piece at a rehearsal. I wouldn't expect much in terms of the quality of the performance, but at least it will give you some idea of what the piece will sound like with real instruments.

After that, the main question you need to ask yourself is if it sounds the way that you intended for it to sound. If the answer is yes, then the piece is worthy of performance.

Thanks for your insights. Are you talking from your experience?

Quite frankly, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks unless you wrote the piece to explain their emotions, ideas, etc (and I'm guessing that you probably didn't).

I do not totally agree. Even though it is right that one is not composing to express the emotions, ideas or musical thoughts of others but those of oneself, one still should make sure that one's music communicates something to others - which communication can only take place by understanding the emotions, ideas, or musical thoughts of others (or even the prevailing musical taste) and relating to them/it. If one's music does not succeed in this requirement of being able to communicate, then it won't be understood by its audience. It will inhabit a personal universe that is impervious to external minds - the exact opposite of what music (being communication) is meant to be.

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Reflecting once again on the question opening this thread ("How does one know...?), I realize that it is largely a question of self-confidence or self-trust (or of being true to oneself). If you enjoy self-confidence/self-trust, if you value being true to yourself above everything else, then you just know that your piece is worthy of performance (provided it succeeds in doing what you intended it to do). You don't need anyone else to tell you whether it is worthy of performance or isn't so. Of course feedback is important, but so is self-belief, belief in one's musical message, one's musical language, one's unique style. It is such self-belief that will make you persist in your unique musical path and to try to pursue it and to allow yourself to develop on that path despite the pressures to veer from it and to conform to the accepted and clichéed norm.

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