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Posted (edited)

I'm sorry my little entry is late. I ended up axing about half of it last night because I wasn't happy with it. I'm not sure if I still qualify, but either way, I'm glad I joined.

Here we witness as the Earth is struck by an enormous meteor, shaking the planet upon impact and causing a massive dust cloud that encircles the globe, choking out life. The humans who survive the impact are left to wander about the ruins of civilization, despondent and struggling to survive, until they realize that the first meteor was only the beginning of the shower. They are snuffed out as meteor after meteor strikes the planet. We are left with an eerie scene of shattered cities and empty homes, and desolate landscapes devoid of any and all life forms.

I used the full orchestra because I thought it would lend a more epic power to the music, which I thought was necessary considering the assignment at hand. The main, chaotic motif is based on a C minor seventh chord with a split fifth and added ninth. There are not a lot of major chords in this one, for obvious reasons, but I did think that the brilliant explosion of the meteor deserved its ethereal-sounding Db major seventh with split fifth and added ninth. The G minor section also flirts with major modality as the people wonder whether they can rebuild (before their ultimate demise). The odd time signatures were meant to convey the utter terror and panic felt by the humans as they realized their impending doom.

EDIT: The original score I submitted was in concert pitch. The score titled 'Cataclysm - Score - Corrected' is correct.

Edited by Noah Brode
EDIT: The original score I submitted was in concert pitch. The score titled 'Cataclysm - Score - Corrected' is correct.
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Posted (edited)

I think the music you've made is very true to a cataclysm of that kind as it's not sad at all at first. It's just terrifying and it doesn't give the time to be sad. It does bring some desolation in the middle when the survivalists try to help each other and don't really understand what's going on, but I think that's the point. Everyone is on the panic mode.

That's my point of view and very good job to you. I think it's a nice idea to think of how someone could explore other emotions around cataclysm. Like a more romantic view or a last will.

Edited by Sabriel Guindon
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This is good work, Noah. I like the themes and the way you build it/etc., so points there. A really nice contrast with the lyrical section in the middle. Watch for unconventional orchestration things (i.e. the flute in the lower range would be way covered up by the rest of the instruments accompanying it). The chords in the third section are truly awesome - they have the right character for an ending. I think that really highlights one of the strengths of this piece: your harmonic ideas. The melodic motifs were developed in as much as they were passed around, but you might have strengthened the development by choosing a snip of the motif and altering it as you developed. For example:

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On the last notes of this theme in the viola solo, you added sixteenth notes as you passed it around. Try maybe altering the interval between the third-to-last pitch and the penultimate pitch? Or altering the interval to get to the lowest pitch? Or something similar.

The rhythmic ideas and harmonic ideas are good, and you made good use of instrumental "gestures". Strengthen the melodies (at least at points, doesn't need to be all the time!) so the audience has something a little more obvious to follow.

Honestly I struggle with these skills a lot, too, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt!

Loved listening, thanks for submitting!

Gustav

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Starting out with a bang really got my attention in a hurry! I also liked your depiction of the "eerie" in that the harmonies were actually lovely and maybe more fanciful than "uncomfortable." That was a good choice which kept it firmly in the realm of music and not sound painting.I especially like the minor key meloies and the references to "The day the Earth Stood Still," whether intended or not. I'm glad you took the time to contribute with this brief but memorable journey. Good luck to you in the competition!

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@Gustav Johnson and @Ken320 -- Thanks a lot for your feedback, and sorry it's taken me a bit to get back to you. Gustav, I think you've put into words an uncomfortable thought I've been tiptoeing around in my brain for a while -- that I don't really develop my melodies so much as pass them around the instruments and insert them into slightly different contexts. Thanks for the honesty -- it's really very helpful. You guys both wrote great pieces, and this competition ended up being a good experience for me despite the number of non-entries. 

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@Sabriel Guindon -- thanks for taking the time to review! I'm glad you enjoyed it. You're right that I should have explored a romantic view of the cataclysm -- I think what the piece was really missing was a more emotionally wrenching section before the big finale. Thanks again for listening!

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