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2014 Competitions Discussion

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Since 2014 is coming up, preparations need to be made for that year's six bimonthly competitions. And because I - and whoever succeeds me - want to make the most effective competitions possible, it would be well to get some general feedback from the community generally. So here are some questions:

 

1a. Dropout rates seem to be pretty high this year - because topics are too large, there's not enough time, there's general uncertainty, or site activity issues, and so on. Should there be two competitions: one dealing with large topics and the other with small; this meaning, one dealing with large orchestral ensembles and the other with small and chamber ensembles or solos? It strikes me that this might attend to the interests of composers working at many and various levels of study. - Any thoughts about the nature of competition structure and organization would be helpful.

 

1b. Should there be regular monthly and bimonthly competitions?

 

2a. Dropout rates with judges has also risen, certainly in the last bimonthly competition. Should, instead of signing up, and after the entrants deadline, there be open judging; that the first four critiques submitted to the competitions moderator be the ones posted; and that the competition continues on indefinitely until four are submitted? A separate thread could be made for judges to post their results. - The same for entrants?

 

2b. Should there be a limit on judges? or should the current number (four) change or stay the same? - Should the number of judges required depend on the number of entrants entered - say, one judge for every two or three entrants?

 

3a. How do you want the signup system to work: should it, for instance, be all contained in one thread - for judges and entrants alike; in the discussion thread - or should the current system of multi-thread sign-up and discussion stay as it is?

 

3b. Should there be a sign-up system or should the competition be open? should 'entrants' just post links to their pieces, by the deadline, without having to sign up?

 

4. Should there be a separate thread for posting pieces or should the posting thread just be the discussion thread?

 

5. I've been attempting to make a standardized scoresheet that could be used for each competition with only few changes as they relate to the topic - hoping that regularity will make things easier in the longrun. Is this okay? Should the scoresheet be more variable, changing greatly for each competition? Do you think there should be other standards of scoring? (Link to the present scoresheet here.)

 

6. Is there another format for discussion threads that would make things simpler for prospective entrants and judges?

 

7. What are your thoughts about the present rule that there is required both a PDF score and an mp3 recording?

 

8. Should there be a standard deadline? and what would be most convenient?

 

9a. What reward system, possible for this site, should there be?

 

9b. Should the winner of a competition choose the topic for a future competition?

 

Also, next year there will be six bimonthly competitions. What topics would be most effective or what would you like to see done? Below, list what you'd like to have setup and give as much detail to them as you can as they might be used; if they are used, full credit goes to the person(s) who suggested them.

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  5.  
  6.  

What all do you want see happen next year?

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I understand your worry about the drop rates this year (that concerned me too). I'd like to contribute with some suggestions, as your organized this important thread.

 

1a. and 1b. I believe we could have two different classes of competition: a monthly one for smaller dimentions (chamber, solo), and a bimonthly one, for larger groups (orchestra, not so small chamber groups). But we should also know if there will be entrants to this, as the number of competitions will rise from 6 to 18!

 

2a. and 2b. I belive the number must still be limited for both judges and entrants, with a maximum and a minimum.

 

3a. and 3b. I must confess that this system of multi-threads is much more organized, but I think I prefer the old one, where we could post everything on the same thread.

 

4. Sme thread.

 

5. It's important to have a reference for the scoresheet, but I must be flexible to each situation. Yours is good to look as a starting point.

 

6. I don't know...

 

7. Sheet music is really necessary, as well as an audio. I don't know another format to share a sheet music but the pdf (besides the .mus, for example, but I still think that the pdf os much more easily accessible). The audio could also be MIDI or WAVE.

 

8. Deadline is still necessary. Otherwise, we won't post it in time (or even finish it).

 

9a. As a reward, many people have already suggested to create a category for Winners (like the Major works), and they would always be relocated to there (forever).

 

9b. I don't think it's necessary.

 

Well, as for the topics of the bimonthly competitions, I think we must first decide whether there will be a separate class of monthly competitions. If so, we should ask for suggestions like this:

 

Monthly competitions:

 

1 - 

2 - 

3 - 

4 - 

5 - 

6 - 

7 - 

8 - 

9 - 

10 - 

11 - 

12 - 

 

Bimonthly competitions:

 

1 - 

2 - 

3 - 

4 - 

5 - 

6 - 

 

I have some ideas, but  I prefer to share them after we decide about the monthly/bimonthly discussion.

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I'll put my two cents in. I think the bigger problem affecting these competitions is site activity, so that needs to be seriously addressed (on another thread). Perhaps we should consider someway to penalize people who drop out of competitions without notice? I think having the bi-monthly AND monthly competitions is a bit of an overkill. Perhaps we could do something where one bi-montly competition focuses on a large scale orchestral works, and then the next competition deals with chamber/solo works. I like the idea of open judging, but it sounds better in theory than actually practicality. I think 4 judges is good enough, but in that shouldn't be a hard cut-off maximum. For example, if only 2 critiques are collected at the end of the competition, then so be it. I actually like the current thread system we have for competitions, so I don't think thats an issue. I would prefer it though if judges could post scores on a thread by themselves, instead of sending it to someone else and then having them do it. I agree with Christian that BOTH, the audio AND the score, are necessary in order to be scored the competition (I do think that the quality of audio should be "bonus points" instead of an actual scoring category). I also agree with him in that  deadlines are absolutely necessary (for both entrants AND judges) in order for these competitions to work. As for the reward, I like the idea of having a "winners" folder, or just moving the wining works into the "major works" folder, but I don't think having the winner choose the next competition topic is necessary. 

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@ChristianPerrotta: I think it would be best to assume for now that there will only be the regular six competitions; I haven't seen much interest or excitement over it, and general inactivity might contradict the notion that more competition would be effective or possible. Any ideas for those six will be helpful.

 

@danishali903: I don't think penalizing people would be very effective. If there's an inactivity problem, which is the common complaint now, and a right one, then penalties would add a disincentive to something that's already lacking interest and participation, and even while the method of incentivization isn't absolute or entirely understood. I don't think it would work on any level just presently, or until activity is high enough and popularity is granted: participation regulation won't be that effective until more people regularly want to participate, so much so that they're willing to follow rules for a prize or winning itself and otherwise fear castigation for some unsportsmanlike flippancy. I don't think it would work.

 

'I would prefer it though if judges could post scores on a thread by themselves, instead of sending it to someone else and then having them do it.' - There would be a worry, then, that judges would start copying each other: after the first judge posts their results, the judges left to do so could just copy the answers or be influenced enough by them that they might as well not have judged. I think it's important that the judges force themselves to critique the pieces and rate them by their own critical cognizance and little else. And I think it's better and nicer anyway if all the results were given at once, not to give the ongoing worry that, with another and another judge, the results would drastically fall from an entrant's favor, making some people, I imagine, a bit angry. It's also cleaner, I think, if there's a third party to organize things.

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Time the contests to when people actually use the site. Bi-monthly works well in spring and fall, in the summer you can probably have monthly or two simultaneously. Summer contests have seemed to be the most effective.

 

I second a winning works folder. And also never having the winner choose the next topic, not a good plan. Incentive could work better if someone was offering a performance recording of the winner, which has happened as non-monthly competitions. Try to get a few of those into the cycle.

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Time the contests to when people actually use the site. Bi-monthly works well in spring and fall, in the summer you can probably have monthly or two simultaneously. Summer contests have seemed to be the most effective.

 

I second a winning works folder. And also never having the winner choose the next topic, not a good plan. Incentive could work better if someone was offering a performance recording of the winner, which has happened as non-monthly competitions. Try to get a few of those into the cycle.

 

Perfect!!! I totally agree with you

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I might have some thoughts about the lack of success of these competitions:

 

1.) Nothing happens with the winners. There are no prizes except a few congratulation marks by the judges and other contestants. I guess this is no longer interesting. At least performances should be organized or the winning works would be placed in special directory where others  would listen to these winning pieces.

 

2.) This site is severely plagued by one-day noobs and wanna-be composers. I don't have a solution but some of these noobs honestly believe they can actually compose. And when the judges do not praise them, they quickly dissapear. There is nothing wrong with that. But I see several noobs just cannot accept the cruel fact they are noobs. Instead of improving their composing skills, they cowardly quit. I also don't like composers which are not interested in finding personal language but they enjoy copying styles of previous centuries. Hello, it's 2014!

 

3.) I don't know if it's just me but I think this site is indeed getting weaker and weaker. Recently the better reviewers are nowhere to be seen or heard from anymore. I remember in the year 2012 when I posted something, I frequently got 10, sometimes even more reviews. My recent post of Double sax concerto got just 2 reviews. I also believe the days Austenite got 50+ replies - he is probably the most popular composer on this site - are also over.

 

This might sound harsh but it is only a big bone for everyone to chew!

 

Črt

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I might have some thoughts about the lack of success of these competitions:

 

1.) Nothing happens with the winners. There are no prizes except a few congratulation marks by the judges and other contestants. I guess this is no longer interesting. At least performances should be organized or the winning works would be placed in special directory where others  would listen to these winning pieces.

 

2.) This site is severely plagued by one-day noobs and wanna-be composers. I don't have a solution but some of these noobs honestly believe they can actually compose. And when the judges do not praise them, they quickly dissapear. There is nothing wrong with that. But I see several noobs just cannot accept the cruel fact they are noobs. Instead of improving their composing skills, they cowardly quit. I also don't like composers which are not interested in finding personal language but they enjoy copying styles of previous centuries. Hello, it's 2014!

 

3.) I don't know if it's just me but I think this site is indeed getting weaker and weaker. Recently the better reviewers are nowhere to be seen or heard from anymore. I remember in the year 2012 when I posted something, I frequently got 10, sometimes even more reviews. My recent post of Double sax concerto got just 2 reviews. I also believe the days Austenite got 50+ replies - he is probably the most popular composer on this site - are also over.

 

This might sound harsh but it is only a big bone for everyone to chew!

 

Črt

 

I agree with you again, and I also don't know any soution for the "noob" problems...

 

I just have one subtle and possible disagreement: I don't think that composers that like to copy styles of different periods should be like "banned" (I know you didn't say it). I have the same opinion you have about this: every one should work to find his/her own style. But many skillful composers do this, and some of them really contribute to the site. Also, we have already hade competitions that required that emulation (remember the baroque suite competition?). We could have a space for it, like a "category" of a better "classification"?

 

This is another issue here: when we post a work, we have limited number of classifyers:

 

1) There's no category for "solo instrument" apart from keyboard (like solo violin, solo flute);

 

2) Au contraire, there are two categories for Jazz, and they don't have such a big demand for this (check the last page of it and you'll understand). Also, why doesn't it fit in chamber music, as the instrumentation is exactly this, chamber music?! Jazz is much more a matter of aesthetic than instrumentation (I know this is also important, but... well, that's my opinion).

 

3) When we upload a new work, there are options for Style, Period, Form... and sometimes we want something that isn't written there!!!! (besides some name/spell problems). One possibly good solution has been given by Tokkemon: tag-marking^^

 

Some of these issues could possibly be improved with the advent of the new site!!! But I'm also posting it here to contribute somehow.

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I might have some thoughts about the lack of success of these competitions:

 

1.) Nothing happens with the winners. There are no prizes except a few congratulation marks by the judges and other contestants. I guess this is no longer interesting. At least performances should be organized or the winning works would be placed in special directory where others  would listen to these winning pieces.

 

2.) This site is severely plagued by one-day noobs and wanna-be composers. I don't have a solution but some of these noobs honestly believe they can actually compose. And when the judges do not praise them, they quickly dissapear. There is nothing wrong with that. But I see several noobs just cannot accept the cruel fact they are noobs. Instead of improving their composing skills, they cowardly quit. I also don't like composers which are not interested in finding personal language but they enjoy copying styles of previous centuries. Hello, it's 2014!

 

3.) I don't know if it's just me but I think this site is indeed getting weaker and weaker. Recently the better reviewers are nowhere to be seen or heard from anymore. I remember in the year 2012 when I posted something, I frequently got 10, sometimes even more reviews. My recent post of Double sax concerto got just 2 reviews. I also believe the days Austenite got 50+ replies - he is probably the most popular composer on this site - are also over.

 

This might sound harsh but it is only a big bone for everyone to chew!

 

Črt

 

 

*Apply cold water to burned area* ;) But in all seriousness....I agree with you completely!

Edited by danishali903

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I beleive a severe problem for this website is not only the weak activity of it's memebers, but to those members who stick around can be harsh isntead of critical. I mean, saying thing slike "noobs who think they can actually compose" is not a way to address a YOUNG COMPOSER, aka this websites member basis. This website, to me, should be intended on getting young composers, who may be in either middle school to college levels, critiques, help, and motivation to continue. I know that the harshness of the memebrs is what turne dme away from the website at firt. Not that I didn't win a competition or even my placement. I beleive there a certain lack of professionalism in this amatuer composition forum that should change to more of a helpful and supportive role. Maturity first in your critiques.

 

Now, to answer your questions:

 

1. I believe a bi-monthly competition is fine, with a STRICT schedule. Let them know the day it starts, and the day it ends because it shouldn't get clumped up, as it can cause timing issues for composers.

 

2. I like the idea of having 1 judge per entrant. I think you should have a sign up however, on a first come first serve basis of probably 6-8 entries.

 

3. Sign up should be in the competition forum i nthe current way it is. It seems very straight forward.

 

4. I think not, possibly just a separate forum ingeneral for people who wish to have critiques on pieces which I'm sure that exists.

 

5. A Standardized score seet is a must.

 

6. Idk

 

7. Yes. I know that from previous experience, people get very tense over score rpesenation, so I would make that very specific as well.

 

8. Yes, beginning of the next month is when the competion starts, and a deadline about 2 weeks before the end of the month, that way the judges have time to evaluate. A strict schedule is needed in my opinion.

 

9. I don't know of a possible reward system for an amatuer-composer forum other than what has been suggested already.

 

 

 

 

Competition Ideas

 

1. Mythological people/places

2. Counterpoint

3. A piece limited to a given number of measures

4. Give a set of words and tell them to write a piece based off the words, and then explain how they used them to develo ptheir ideas (ex. puzzle: different instruments fitting together, instruments not fitting together, weaving melodic ideas, instrumental interplay, etc)

5. Dance

6. Chamber ensemble for an odd insturmentation (My university does this where they ask the comp students to write for a small ensemble with an odd isnturmentation, something like a bassoon, tenor sax, piccolo and f horn- just something weird and see wh owrites the msot successful piece)

 

Hope I helped!

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I beleive a severe problem for this website is not only the weak activity of it's memebers, but to those members who stick around can be harsh isntead of critical. I mean, saying thing slike "noobs who think they can actually compose" is not a way to address a YOUNG COMPOSER, aka this websites member basis. This website, to me, should be intended on getting young composers, who may be in either middle school to college levels, critiques, help, and motivation to continue. I know that the harshness of the memebrs is what turne dme away from the website at firt. Not that I didn't win a competition or even my placement. I beleive there a certain lack of professionalism in this amatuer composition forum that should change to more of a helpful and supportive role. Maturity first in your critiques.

 

Sadly, "harsh" and "critical" are synonymous to some who are insecure with their abilities (and sometimes one must be harsh to be critical). And since this a loosely run amateur website, the idea of "professionalism" is...superfluous (for a lack of better term). Granted, I agree we (as a community) could be a little more accommodating to new composers who need aid in honing their technique, BUT this forum will only work if THEY (the new composers...or "noobs" as Sojar put it) are willing to contribute back by active participation. In other words, if you can't handle rejection...then too bad for you.

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There shouldn't be a limited number of compositions allowed to be posted per day or semothing like that? Something like credits to post works, credits acquired by commenting on other people's works? Because many people just come here, post 3812937218932 works and leave the site just the following day... Some forums have systems that do not allow this. We could study a way to avoid this as well =/

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I feel obligated to support attempts of professionalism. I am harsh only to the noobs which continue to post lousy pieces for several months, even years - you probably know which one I am refering to. But for newcomers, I am trying to find how far their talent has been developed and then encourage them to try better if I think they can do it. :)

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Prizes or live performances would be nice, but a solid community would be the greatest asset. Until then, Sonataform and I'm sure many others have had competitions where they performed the winning piece. Maybe the monthly competitions should have more focus and run in tandem with the proactive individuals who can make these incentives happen? They kind of just get buried in the depths of the forums currently. 

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Sadly, "harsh" and "critical" are synonymous to some who are insecure with their abilities (and sometimes one must be harsh to be critical). And since this a loosely run amateur website, the idea of "professionalism" is...superfluous (for a lack of better term). Granted, I agree we (as a community) could be a little more accommodating to new composers who need aid in honing their technique, BUT this forum will only work if THEY (the new composers...or "noobs" as Sojar put it) are willing to contribute back by active participation. In other words, if you can't handle rejection...then too bad for you.

Definitely agree. you need to be able to take critiques, but having a lack of support and verging on rude with your comments/critques in completely unnecessary. When a comment is rude and mocking, then it's not going to help the composer in any way. I defintiely think people need to have thick skin to go into an arts forum, and they need to be able to grasp that they are an amateur and this is amatuer advice. People just their amatuer advice and turn it into rude commentary that drives people away. Be harsh, but don't be a jerk.

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Prizes or live performances would be nice, but a solid community would be the greatest asset. Until then, Sonataform and I'm sure many others have had competitions where they performed the winning piece. Maybe the monthly competitions should have more focus and run in tandem with the proactive individuals who can make these incentives happen? They kind of just get buried in the depths of the forums currently. 

I don't think live performances are really an option. There aren't many ways that could go about happening. However if that did happen I'd be way happy.

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I do believe that a "Hall of winners"-like section should have been created long long time ago. This is simple and already very effective. Having a winner work selected into a special category is already a way not to let it fall into oblivion that easy. Also, new people arriving here this forum would have good references in looking for pieces there, in order to study, appreciate or whatever...

 

This is something that could be done soon, very soon.

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Sonataform and I'm sure many others have had competitions where they performed the winning piece.

 

 

I don't think live performances are really an option.

 

Wait what just happened

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My full message is :

 

I don't think live performances are really an option. There aren't many ways that could go about happening. However if that did happen I'd be way happy.

 

I've got one competition going on right now, the winner will have their piece recorded http://www.youngcomposers.com/t33129/tolkien-composition-competition/

 

If that competition doesn't interest you I'll have another one soon after. On topic though, if we could attract more musicians interested in playing and recording the works of composers on the forums then we'd definitely have more activity on this site. The question is how do we do that? 

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What about writing the score to a set short video or film? Assuming the rights issues could be sorted out or are non-existent.
It would be very interesting to see what people come up with based on the same inspiration.

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