Jump to content
Jelly

Steps to Follow

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

This is my piece Steps to Follow. 

It is based off of a percussion piece that I found a while back called "Fractalia" by Owen Clayton Condon. I really like the echo pattern that he established in that piece, so I decided to play around with it and make a piano peice based off of it. I personally enjoy the sound of it and like how it turned out, but I am always looking for feedback/criticism, so please let me know what you think.

Thanks 🙂

Note: The score is kind of a mess lol. At the time of finishing/uploading this it is really late, and I just could not bring myself to clean it up or try to fight Sibelius over organizing it.

Edited by Jelly
MP3
0:00
0:00
PDF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this idea interesting and yet I don't think that it'll be very... executable.

Having three players playing at these exact time... I think that it should stay in the computer

and therefore you shouldn't pay much attention to the way the score looks.

 But you can try to give it to real human players and see what happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Rabbival507 I have to respectfully disagree lol. I think it might be very difficult at the most but no where near impossible. Unfortunately, I don't have three pianist to just hand it out to. I thought about your "it should stay in the computer" idea, and honestly I think it would sound interesting if I accomodated the piece for electronic/synth sounds, but I don't have any decent sounds to experiment with. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It certainly would be playable by pianists who had a very good sense of rhythm. I've actually performed 'Fractalia' myself and I personally would be fine with playing this piece, at least rhythmically speaking.

I think for me, your piece doesn't do enough interesting things harmonically. 'Fractalia', being for percussion ensemble, has a much greater range of timbres available to play around with, and one of the attractive aspects of it is the contrast between the out of sync marimba playing, and the in-sync untuned instruments - but even having said this, I would understand if an audience member found 'Fractalia' too boring. Another piece that I've performed comes to mind as well, 'The So Called Laws of Nature' by David Lang - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELN47gnPUVg. It has the same idea - all four players have the same part, but rhythmically displaced by various amounts. The piece has a very effective climax about 9 minutes in when the drums all sync up after being chaotic for so long. However, I personally feel it is not worth the 9 minutes it takes to reach that point. I think the piece stretches out its idea for far too long. (It's also ridiculously difficult to play.) There's still some lessons you can take from it though. Extended chaos builds tension, which you can choose to release at your discretion, but the most effective way to release tension from chaos is to become orderly.

Constant rhythmic displacement, by itself, isn't really enough to sustain a piece - unless you want to do what Steve Reich did in 'Drumming', and go absolutely all-out on the rhythmic displacement and ignore all else. It's good that you have split your piece into a few distinct sections - this provides some sort of contrast - but the piece as a whole doesn't sound very coherent to me, and I think your harmonic language isn't helping. It's often quite unclear what the harmony is supposed to be or where it's going. One thing you can do is to have less notes in each phrase, or chord. 'Fractalia' has quite simple, spaced out chords, and this is very effective when you have the same phrase displaced against itself. Runs and scales like you've written (especially with the pedal down - consider taking that out maybe!), when overlayed with each other, can easily become messy and confused. I've often used this overlay technique when I write electronic music, and I almost always use it on arpeggios or on very limited melodies. I do think that this general idea is a good one to have in your toolkit though. A great piece could well be written that uses this idea, but it would have to incorporate other musical aspects as well.

'Nagoya Marimbas' (also by Steve Reich) is another good piece to look at which uses this idea - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OrfZI-JRXY. Reich also uses very simple chords and arpeggios, and the displacement is always very carefully considered. In this example, there's no point of sudden order to release the tension from the chaos - but it's not really needed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The constant rhythm makes it easy for everyone to stay together but the tempo is too extreme. If you slowed it down it would not lose its charm because when you get down to it, the tempo is almost irrelevant, give or take. If you found some players who could find their own tempo, you might realize things and possibilities you hadn't planned on, some of which would be dynamics, because this is pretty much balls out all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the comments here. I have taken them into consideration and adjusted the piece. I think I addressed the harmony issue, but I am still experimenting with what I want in the piece and what is "correct." I also added more dynamics where I thought more could happen (kind of burned through that first time around). As for as tempo is concerned, I only did something major to the second section of the piece. I could not bring myself to slow down any other section as I felt that it would take energy away from those sections. 

 

 

Edited by Jelly
MP3
0:00
0:00
PDF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×