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Beat The World, The War - SATB div.


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Hi All,

Just joined this place after somebody recommended it to me. I have this large choir piece that I recently wrote, and I'm wondering if anybody would like to give feedback on it? If you have an questions on what anything means, please let me know!

Best Regards,

Thomas Håkanson, aka Dusty

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Here's an MP3 to go along with it; forgot to put one here. :/

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think there are a lot of good ideas here, and the voice leading and melodic shaping are generally good. I also think you captured the atmosphere of the words very well (is there a story here? Who is the lyricist?)

However, when you're writing a piece this long, it's always difficult to find the right balance between repetition and contrast to keep listeners engaged for 10 minutes... and for me, there was a little too much contrast (at least as far as melodic/motivic material is concerned). Apart from the minor chords with 9ths that keep coming back with longer rests between them, are there other musical ideas that come back in different parts of the piece to help unify the whole?

To me, every section sounded kind of self-contained--new ideas kept being introduced and then abandoned. Maybe this wouldn't have bothered me as much if each section were well-developed, but you seemed to give up on a lot of your ideas prematurely. For example, I really liked the music at letter C in the score, but I was disappointed when it ended after 8 measures, and its contrapuntal richness and melodic ideas never came back. I understand you may have felt the need to end it after 8 bars because of the words, but you can always repeat text to make the section longer--or at least bring the idea back later in the piece to develop it more fully.

Do you know the Hymn to St. Cecilia by Britten? It's a similar length, and takes a similar approach to form as you do (a few self-contained sections with a recurring refrain between them), but each section is several minutes long and thoroughly develops a single idea--the music doesn't move on from each idea until it's absolutely ready.  It might be a good score to study when you're writing this kind of music (though it's not in the Public Domain yet, unfortunately).

You might also try building more large-scale momentum and continuity (always important in a piece this length) by varying the harmonic rhythm more gradually--e.g. introduce faster chord changes little by little, instead of having an entire section that's essentially a single chord, abruptly followed by a section where the harmony changes every 2 beats. Something to keep in mind for the next piece, at least.

I think I wouldn't have written such a long review if I didn't see a lot of potential in this piece... so good work.

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