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Hello everyone, I wrote this piece in late 2017 and back then I didn't know much about harmony, but I think this piece kinda shows one of the styles of composition that I'd like to continue in the near future. Hope you like it.

Please let me know what you think about this piece.

 

 

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That was a fun little piece. In terms of atmosphere, it sounded a bit like a Danny Elfman movie soundtrack to me -- a bit spooky and dark, but still somewhat charming. The orchestration of glockenspiel with pizzicato strings certainly called his music to mind. It's a nice blend. That was the highlight of the piece for me.

To be brutally honest, I wasn't really captivated by the primary melody, and I thought it repeated too much without being developed. The middle section was a little bit helter-skelter, too. Also, a musical score would be helpful for reviewers.

I'd like to hear some of your more recent compositions to see what you've done since this was written!

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Thanks. I'm very embarrassed to say this but actually I learned how to read and write music one or two months after I completed this piece, so...

This was actually the second piece that I wrote, after this I wrote a couple more pieces and then I found out that this isn't how composition works. So since the past year or so I've mostly focused on studying music theory, harmony and form and I still have a long way to go. I also wrote a piece for solo piano about two months ago but my piano techniques are very limited at the moment and I can't record it. I'm also practicing piano a lot too, to be able to write more complex and 'pianistic' pieces in the future.

Since I started studying music theory more seriously, I've mostly focused on writing 'beautiful!' cells of music. I mean, writing chorales that are between 2 to 8 measures and then adding non-harmonic tones to each of the voices as much as possible. Currently I'm going to start reading Schoenberg's second book on harmony and then start reading his book on musical form. Hopefully I'll be able to write some more 'mature' pieces until the next year or so.

Edited by Ali Jafari

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Also, this is one of those 'cells' that I'm talking about, I wrote this about 2 weeks ago. This is actually one of the exercises in Walter Piston's Harmony book. This particular exercise asks the reader to first construct a four-part version of a I-V-III-VI-IV-II-V-I progression in the key of G Major and then add non-harmonic tones to each of the four voices.

So first I constructed a four-part version of the progression like this:

1087898692_Non-HarmonicTones.png.d4fb9d2ca97235c754553419b17ae5da.png

 

Non-Harmonic Tones.mp3

and then added the non-harmonic tones:

1017731894_Non-HarmonicTones2.jpg.bad239e5cf533176112d25c432c5aadd.jpg

Non-Harmonic Tones 2.mp3

 

Edited by Ali Jafari

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About the piece:

I'm kind of sorry you don't have a score, since I would be able to say more things if I had it. Otherwise, yeah, it's got that kind of "movie soundtrack" sound to it, but I think it's competent in doing that. One thing I think hurts it to me is that you basically have the theme in the start and then everything else that happens is just kind of inconsequential until it comes back and repeats. I mean, it's an ABA form, but you could do so much more with the middle segment after the theme is done.

 

About the exercise:

It's not bad, but I personally writing four part harmony exercises never helped me in the slightest. I hated those theory classes and doing annoying homework like that. Instead, every time I wanted to try stuff out I'd write actual music with the ideas or chords, or whatever. I did a lot of instrumental counterpoint which has helped me much more than any harmony exercise since I think voice leading is much more important than what harmony you have.

 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, SSC said:

it's got that kind of "movie soundtrack" sound to it, but I think it's competent in doing that

Thanks

15 hours ago, SSC said:

One thing I think hurts it to me is that you basically have the theme in the start and then everything else that happens is just kind of inconsequential until it comes back and repeats. I mean, it's an ABA form, but you could do so much more with the middle segment after the theme is done.

You're right. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't even know harmony properly when I wrote this piece, let alone developing the theme.

 

15 hours ago, SSC said:

writing four part harmony exercises never helped me in the slightest.

I don't know, I think they've helped me in some ways.

 

By the way, concerning my other question about form and length, do you think I could turn this into a 6-7 minute piece if I knew how to develop the main theme? Or do you think it would have needed some other material too, in order to reach that length?

p.s. I was listening to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade the other day, and I noticed that a fragment of the main motive of Nyctophilia is present in Scheherazade (It's present in all 4 movements, as well as the beginning of the second movement). It's interesting for me, because I hadn't heard it when I composed Nyctophilia, although I used a different harmonic progression and ended it differently.

Edited by Ali Jafari

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On 3/9/2019 at 4:13 PM, Ali Jafari said:

...concerning my other question about form and length, do you think I could turn this into a 6-7 minute piece if I knew how to develop the main theme? Or do you think it would have needed some other material too, in order to reach that length?

You don't need new material, you just need to work on elaborating your ideas. Specially your orchestration, since a lot of variety in orchestral music is from using the same material in different instrumentation.

 

On 3/9/2019 at 4:13 PM, Ali Jafari said:

p.s. I was listening to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade the other day, and I noticed that a fragment of the main motive of Nyctophilia is present in Scheherazade (It's present in all 4 movements, as well as the beginning of the second movement). It's interesting for me, because I hadn't heard it when I composed Nyctophilia, although I used a different harmonic progression and ended it differently.

Yeah that's going to always happen. You can't really avoid sounding like what someone else if you're writing in a musical language that has so much music written in it.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, SSC said:

You don't need new material, you just need to work on elaborating your ideas. Specially your orchestration, since a lot of variety in orchestral music is from using the same material in different instrumentation.

Interesting, maybe I'll turn this into a Symphonic Poem someday 🙂

41 minutes ago, SSC said:

Yeah that's going to always happen. You can't really avoid sounding like what someone else if you're writing in a musical language that has so much music written in it.

You're right, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Even some of the greatest composers in history such as Beethoven or Brahms quoted the composers of their past directly in some of their works and sounded similar to them, as well. Some musicians even accused Shostakovich of plagiarism.

Also, as we all know, many musicians say that the only remaining path for composers nowadays is writing serial music. But in my opinion, it's the easiest way to sound like a lot of other composers. You're basically ripping off Schoenberg when you're writing serial music 😄

Edited by Ali Jafari

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1 hour ago, Ali Jafari said:

You're right, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Even some of the greatest composers in history such as Beethoven or Brahms quoted the composers of their past directly in some of their works and sounded similar to them, as well. Some musicians even accused Shostakovich of plagiarism.

I never said it was bad, it's just what it is. I take it as a homage of the stuff I like/know, it doesn't bother me in the slightest if something sounds similar in some detail or other.

1 hour ago, Ali Jafari said:

Also, as we all know, many musicians say that the only remaining path for composers nowadays is writing serial music. But in my opinion, it's the easiest way to sound like a lot of other composers. You're basically ripping off Schoenberg when you're writing serial music

Considering "serial music" doesn't sound like...anything specific, I don't know. It's just a composition method, like many others. What it produces it dependent on how you applied the method, hence why Stockhausen sounds pretty different than Xenakis or Boulez.

 

As for Schoenberg, he's basically a lot more traditional than Webern, who was much more forward-thinking with his use of Schoenberg's ideas. I find it really hard to call Schoenberg a serial composer when a lot of his music doesn't use any such system and when it does it tends to be still very traditional in many ways.

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19 minutes ago, SSC said:

I never said it was bad, it's just what it is. I take it as a homage of the stuff I like/know, it doesn't bother me in the slightest if something sounds similar in some detail or other.

I know, I was just confirming your statement.

24 minutes ago, SSC said:

Considering "serial music" doesn't sound like...anything specific, I don't know. It's just a composition method, like many others. What it produces it dependent on how you applied the method, hence why Stockhausen sounds pretty different than Xenakis or Boulez.

What I said about serial music was partly a joke, but at the same time I feel that a lot of serial music do sound the same, or at least evoke the same type of feeling.

27 minutes ago, SSC said:

I find it really hard to call Schoenberg a serial composer when a lot of his music doesn't use any such system and when it does it tends to be still very traditional in many ways.

Well it's true that he wrote a lot of tonal music as well as 'free' atonal music, but since he was the first composer who composed a 12-tone piece and also wrote a great deal of them too, I can call him a serial composer. Actually one of the best serial works that I've heard is Schoenberg's Piano Concerto.

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