Jump to content

Recommended Posts

First post here, this is an orchestra work I did a while back as an ode to Virginia (My home state) it takes you through various regions of the state such as the Tidewater, the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge, and the Shenandoah valley. I was inspired to write this when hearing the intro for Appalachian Spring by Copland. I remember our teacher saying it was meant to capture a morning in the Appalachian Mountains (where my family is from), and thinking to myself that Copland nailed it, but I wanted a piece that would do the same for the whole of Virignia (Or at least parts of it). I sought to emulate this in the beginning of the piece. The piece concludes with my take on Oh, Shenandoah. A river that rolls through Virginia which I spent many summers on. Let me know what you think, and yes I know the score is horribly engraved.


Edited by RefinedRedneck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'll listen and write my notes while listening:

*Why did you use a whole orchestra for the piece? it seems like many instruments players just sit there doing nothing. but maybe that's just the beginning. I think that in cases you're writing for a full orchestra you can give a fuller feeling by letting more instruments play, even if you don't want there to be too many things going on. Add chords, or second voices, or even just more instruments playing the bass line. For me it just feels very empty.

*image.png.7b902452573b575a1476f36c57304a9a.png Even if the bassoon player knows how to do a cycled breath and hold motes for that long, I think that it would be very difficult for him to hold a note that high and keep it quite. If you assume you'll get a professional bassoonist for this piece- then he might be able to do that. If you want it to be easier to play... then I'd say you should make the note shorter and allow it to be louder. Remember- in the bassoon the higher the note is the more difficult it is to play, and even more difficult to play softly.

*I like the orchestration in the C part.

*image.png.169f90f6dac9351a785eeae3776f86fe.png You shouldn't ask a bassoonist to play a low note on forte. Again, that would require a professional bassoonist. It's difficult to produce loud low notes on a bassoon.


I like this part but looks like you accidentally asked a single trumpet to play two notes at the same time. 

*The violin solo part is just beautiful! And yet, I think you should let more instruments play here. Remember that you're writing for an orchestra, imagine all the players that'll sit there doing nothing. Also, I think you really should add a bass line there, even if it's by the violas.

*image.png.aab9d31e93897550c381cb48af93b08a.png Btw, is that a div. (separating a big group of players into two smaller groups)? Because some of these notes can't be played together. A string instrument can play two notes at once, but they have to be on separate strings (G, D, A. E starts from G bellow middle C are the violin's strings).

*You keep on asking solo wind instruments to play more than one note at a time. They can't. Also I now see more things like the note above, I assume you'll fix them as well.

*It seems like you understand the use and development of a musical theme very well and yet I don't feel like there's anything that ties the whole piece together. It seems like each part has it's own motives, but there are so many parts...

*image.png.a68abca3298565197a940ebe68071fcf.png I think that you should give the flute's part to the piccolo. It would be difficult for a flute player to produce these sounds, while for the piccolo it's a piece of cake. The piccolo does nothing at the moment, and I think you should give him the melody there.

*Around bar 300 I can clearly hear a harp yet I see that the melody is written for the horns. I think you should keep the harp and already have in mind my final tip for you, but I want to finish listening to the piece first.

*I really liked the ending of the piece, where you used the theme of the last part again, this time loud in and with the whole orchestra! (I really can't tell the difference between the parts at the end though, or how and why you separated it to parts in general).

*Overall I think that piece had some beautiful parts in it but I have two big notes for you, in general: 

*The piece is too long in my opinion. I saw that you tried to keep it interesting but it was just... too long for me. Making a shorter piece doesn't make it less important. Actually, if you want people to stay with you during the piece's performance, or if you don't try to have it performed by people then while listening to the computer's demo, you should make the piece shorter.

*I don't think you should use a whole orchestra for this piece. You didn't use it most of the time. I think you could do very well with... say... a contrabass, a cello, a viola, two violins, a flute, a piccolo, a harp and a piano. Maybe an oboe or a french horn but that's it. It could also help if you want to ever have it performed, finding a whole orchestra is much more difficult. Believe me, I tried XD

ok well that's it, 

I hope I wasn't too hard on you.

If you want any further assistance just ask and I'll try to find the time for that.


*P.S. The soundcloud now moved to another piece of yours, that has the same theme XD

I scrolled up and noticed that you mentioned it in the description.

Now I know where the harp is coming from :) 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Rabbival507 Your orchestral suggestions are very on point, especially, as Copland originally scored “Appalachian Spring” for contrabass, 2 celli, 2 violas, 2 violins, a piano, bassoon, clarinet and flute, which is very close to your proposition. Funny, isn’t it?

But this is no coincidence. I feel that you, @RefinedRedneck, have studied Copland rather well. Several passages really sound like they could be lost drafts for ”Appalachian Spring”. It’s no easy feat to write such a long orchestral piece as an amateur (in the best sense). The piece could just manage with a bit more variety, like Copland did with very different levels of energy, different textures and so forth. Just compare the energetic scene No. 5 – nonetheless punctuated with elegiac string passages – with the serene introduction. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will admit my only studying of Copland was listening to Appalachian Spring.  I am definitely gonna rewrite the beginning 2 sections to have more depth. I wrote this work in 2 chunks with the first 3 sections (Everything before the violin solo) across a couple of days almost 2 full years before the remainder of the piece was written during a similar period. I hope that gap shows in a difference in maturity of composition between the 2 halves of the piece. Thank you all for the input though, I am very much an amateur at this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...