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The Straits of Capri

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Here's a piece I just recently finished..  The main motif, is only 4 bars long, which got boring pretty quickly.. I split the riff up between different instruments.. also created  variations of it.  Then a counterpoint riff also give it further diversity..

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So I listened to this piece as an easy listening piece and heard some things that took away from that experience for me personally:
*The F natural in the unison descending scales occasionally in here.
*Use of the C/D chord functioning as a IV chord.
*Bm/G chord that seem to resolve to the VI chord, which is strange because I hear Bm/G as a G∆7 chord which IS a resolution point.
*The last note cuts off awkwardly which was a little bit of a disappointing way to end the really nice stuff before. 

But truthfully, I love the soundscapes you create with your music. Maybe it's just not good music for an analyst to listen to. :happy:


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Regarding my use of 'dissonant notes occasionally'..  2/3 of the way of completing piece, I was aware of them..  I changed them to something more 'correct, pleasing,'. But put them back to the brief clash..  When I do that sometimes I usually lower velocity and duration of offending note to make it seem more of a 'passing tone'..  I like the 'sweet/sour' experience.. 

This also reflects many of the 'steps in my life' on a more obtuse scale.. Strange how it now reflects in my music.  (plus also the fact not classically trained in theory)  My earlier music, before computers, was summed upon succinctly by a friend in the 70's..  

I was told my music was like my driving, a bit fast, and almost slightly out of control at points, but I never crashed anything.. 

I had a very accomplished musician friend.  He had excellent finger/timing control, perfect pitch, etc..  I don't think he ever studied music. He would just hear music, and surmise, structure, musical grammar on first listen.  Never a flaw in his performance. In fact, it sometimes felt a bit 'sterile' He excelled at technical expertise. Worked for several synth, music software companies, and very successful bands.. (I'm going back to 70's, 80's here).. Eventually he became a very successful music software writer/coder

About 12 years ago, he forsook computers, technology.. Went back to recording non electric instruments on analog recording equipment, no punch ins, note 'massaging' etc..

He released a couple of 'piano improvisations'.CD's.  To me I heard too many clunk notes, fluffs, flaws.  *thumb hit two notes by mistake, then quickly rectified etc'. Stuff that pre-technology, I would have played that way, because of my finger timing, and accuracy'.. But would never allow to happen with the tech of today.. When I brought that up, he dismissed them as 'artifacts of the music'..  He chose to leave them, rather than re-record the piece..  (another important lesson for me)

I am not trying to justify my performance.   I GREATLY VALUE theory/harmony observations and comments.. and please, keep them coming.. It has awoken in me a keener level of observation.    My lack of knowledge in theory and music grammar,, needs work and learning..  I am very grateful for that..  I do want to be aware of 'what I am doing'. I do want to learn when I broke a 'rule'.  Or as one of my teachers referred to it.  There aren't rules, there are 'tools' in music. and as accomplished musicians, it is in our best interest to be aware.  we can make the choice whether to use a tool or musical device/proces or not..  It is our choice..  I do want to learn that, and then be able to consciously make the decision, whether to follow a rule or break it.. 


Regarding the use of 'sonic colors'..  I quickly and totally jumped on the synthesizer bandwagon, starting in the early 70's.. In those days it was 'subtractive synthesis' Raw waveforms, with relatively primitive filters..  Of course those synths sounded nothing like 'real instruments' and that's what fascinated me.. plus the fact I could play all the parts, and not have to rely on a bunch of other musicians (which I now realize was a detriment to me).. As the samplers came out.  Electronic sounds became  more refined..  Now with the 'glut' of virtual instruments, especially the insane amount of Kontakt libraries, which have completely redefined 'sonic boundaries'..  It is a major  exercise to decide on the 'palette of sounds' one is going to use in a piece.. Plus a lot these Kontakt libraries and other virtual instruments have taken it a step further with their built in arpeggiators and limited sequencers.  Some of those virtual instruments you don't have control over the notes they hit, and at least with DAWs that use Audio Units, you have no access to the MIDI out data.. So you have to live with the 'blue' notes they spit out,  or use pitch correction software, to get the scale or mode right.. 

I've used Logic Pro since it's inception (although at this point, one's choice of DAW, is not really that relevant.  BecauseI I have a pretty strong computer, I leave all instruments as live MIDI, and has piece builds up.. I often go back, and change a particular patch, to something, that has a more suitable 'color' to sit with the rest of the instruments. which often requires me to rewrite the part.. I marvel at a real symphony orchestra.. How hundred of years were required for it to reach it's current 'range of tonal colors'..  And how adept composers, learn what instruments to write parts for.  

A friend of mine just heard this album of Bach material. where the artist used only percussion for the individual parts, (some pitched percussion, other just regular non pitched percussion). He found it extremely interesting, to delete - radically alter the harmonic quality of the compositions. Just as various scales have come in/out of favor thru the centuries.. We are subconsciously conditioned to accept 12 tone scales.  For the vast majority of us, anything else sounds wrong.  

Now with the glut of virtual instruments, and their harmonic capabilities to drastically change.. It is another whole area of exploration... For me, this has been my quest for the last 4-5 years now.. to find combinations of sounds/instruments, with their unique harmonic frequenciy response, and how to blend them with other instruments (which relies on choice of note relationships too)


All comments MUCHLY appreciated perceived flaws, or breaking of theory etc..  and likewise when I make a point on someone else's music.. it is my observation.. not a 'right/wrong'  (at least in my posts).. 

Thank you... Mark Styles

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My point of view is this one: it's important to learn and to know about theory because it's the basic ground to do many other things. I'm aware you know what you're doing.

Apart from that, I don't think in consonance and dissonance. Every combination is possible and any note can be followed by any note. I totally reject mandatory resolutions, progressions or whatever. This is my belief and I respect anyone that wants to fit (almost) any music into classic rules, but I don't agree when people say something is wrong. Nothing is wrong. You can like it or not, that's all.

It's true that the general mood of a composition seems to condition the use of such combination of notes. When a piece is strongly tonal, a slight change (dissonance) tends to be heard as bad (by many people). When a piece is atonal or not functional, then people forget the classic rules and, often, don't know what to say (it's simple: I like it, or not). But even in that first case, in a tonal piece, why not using mild dissonance (or strong) ??

I took me time to free myself from those concepts, but I did it, so I do what I want, I don't care it breaks any rules. And yet, there are many ways to explore. This doesn't mean I don't like classic harmony, I use it too, but no problem if I have to combine it with other "wrong" stuff.


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Hi Luis:

I have been playing music for 57 years now (I can't believe that)..  I studied popular music with private teaches, had no classical training (wish I hadn't been so stubborn, and buckled down and did it when I was young).. .  ( a while back when I did those two  pieces with narration, and some sound design in them.. I tried to make it a point, to ignore and break 'many of the musical rules I have discovered, and made up along the way'.  Indeed at  68, I've gone thru quite  a few months of re-evalution, and been tossing away and modifying many 'life rules' I've created along the way.

I also adhere to your philosophy.  There are no real 'rights/wrongs'  in music..  Indeed look at a lot of the 'music' of 20 something rapper, RnB singers today..  Most of it to me are song fragments, just over produced.. yet, if that's what kids like, and buy,  God bless 'em..  I'm getting old and my musical tastes have been defined, and refined a long time ago, it's hard to break past those self imposed boundaries..

Youngcomposers.com is SO REFRESHING.. cause the vast majority of music websites, are really 'boys with toys'..  But hey they are 'exploring' and having fun.  I appreciate here, because people are very serious about what they are doing.. and I love the variety of composers, writers here.  I have been venturing over to the symphony, choral, and other forums, which I never went to before..  Cause that is not my field.. Yet, I can appreciate any musical effort, irregardless, if I like it, or am knowledgeable in it..  More important I can learn from that. 

Being 'creative' is one of the greatest gifts man have been given, or is capable of manifesting.  All of us here of course, are interesting in using sound and music to create.. 

I remember my parents trying to appreciate the music I loved and created at 12 years of age.. It didn't fit within their personal taste or definition of music.  The great thing about  music is that it can be so 'democratic' (right term?)..  

Anyone can pick up a guitar learn three chords and be creating music within  15 minutes.. (and spend the rest of their life perfecting it).. I remember the hoopla of synth players in the 60's, 70's..  I was NOT ALLOWED to join the Musician's Union when I listed the ARP synthesizer as my instrument.  In the 80's, 90's and DJ started making big selling dance records, a lot of musicians got pissed, then the rappers, just stealing the music and rapping over it.  Of course we can thank our schools for taking art and music out of schools to save money..

But I recognize any way of creating music as 'legitimate' in some way..  I particularly appreciate your's and Monarcheon's comments and the music you guys create.. You both are 'widening my horizons'.. Being retired, I have more time for music creation, and learning.. I want to learn more, and broaden my musical horizons..  

Right now, I very much value comments about my not resolving/ or perhaps questionable chords..  That goes above my head right now.  Yet, If I take these comments to heart (and I do) it might change how I create music in the future..  

I have had favorite artists, whose music evolved, and I became dis-interested in them as artists.  Frank Zappa is a fine example for me.  It got too technical, and advant guard for me, to beyond, my musical knowledge and boundaries. . Yet I relished in his accomplishments, and the vast strides he made in his career.  On a popular music note.  The Beatles lost some of their early core fans, when they went into their fancy use of orchestral overdubs.  But that's when I really took a shining to them.. When they did "A Day In The Life", with its symphonic 24 bar rise of pitches..  At first many of the orchestra players balked.. It was unheard of, it was wrong..  but of course of their fame at the time, they were The Beatles, and it was a paying job, they complied.. Apple has been extremely busy all these years keeping The Beatles alive.. They have auditioned some of the symphony players who lent their skills for an overdub part in their songs.  To most of them, it was a low bro gig back then. to some not quite even legitimate.. But all those interviewed truly consider themselves blessed to have taken part. 

Berry Gordy hired the best Jazz Musicians in Detroit, to play on all the Motown sessions for his dozens of artists. They were 'The Funk Brothers', Their primary rule, only play major, minor chords, no 6ths, 7ths, 9th, 13ths..  Dumb it down, nothing sophisticated.. Of course they used their considerable knowledge, and by Marvin Gay's "Let's Get It On', they got to let the sunshine in on them..  But if they had started Motown playing that sophisticated, Motown would have never been what it was.  


Thank your viewpoint..  I was not feeling bad about my music contributions here, I guess feeling a bit frustrated, because some of these  points, are hard for me to learn,  (Well, I haven't really been exploring where to learn this new knowledge).  I also feel somewhat compelled to get the music inside of me out..  I want to do it faster, and more efficiently.. but perhaps that is part of the quality of it, that it takes me this long to do it, and to grasp new ideas at my own pace, and incorporate them..  I love when you incorporate a new process you are studying into a piece.  While I may not find it 'great listening' I totally love and get the purpose of you doing it. and I learn something from it. 

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