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Noah Brode

New Competition Idea!

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Hi everyone!

It's been a while since our last competition, and as both a judge and a contestant, I've always found the entries to be some of the highest quality content on the site -- so I think we should do another one! I'd be happy to judge. 

I've been binge-watching Top Chef lately, and I thought that maybe we could have a little fun doing a similarly structured competition here (if there's enough interest, of course).

[ Top Composer! ]

The idea would be to have the competitors go through three rounds of composing, with the losing contestants being eliminated by the judges and the winning contestants moving on to the next round. This could take place over several weeks or months, if need be. I think we'd need a *minimum* of six composers and two judges to make it work.

I think we'd have to make the first round of composition something short and simple(r), since there would be more people competing and thus more work for the judges. Hopefully, this will also entice more people to join and compete. From there, we could move on to larger ensembles and longer pieces in the later rounds. 

Here's my preliminary vision:

FIRST ROUND:  Ten composers writing a brief piece for any solo instrument or duet. Must be classically inspired, **but not necessarily in the Classical style.** Feel free to use more modern language while keeping the Classical theme in mind. Minimum one minute in length; maximum two minutes in length. 

SECOND ROUND:  Six remaining composers writing a piece in four parts, focusing on counterpoint. Any ensemble from string quartet to choir, but no keyboards, harps, etc. Minimum three minutes in length; maximum five minutes in length. 

FINAL ROUND:  Three remaining composers writing a medium length piece for a larger ensemble. That could be anything from a jazz band to a concert band to a full orchestra. The focus is on thematic development. Minimum five minutes in length; maximum ten minutes in length. 

As usual, the winner would receive nothing tangible, but the winning piece would go into the site's Hall of Fame section.

Suggestions are welcome. What do you think? 

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@Noah Brode This sounds fun! I feel like we'd need to have more than a minimum of 6 though, no? The ten you mention in your first round sounds more plausible. 
The way you have it setup is much more an orchestration challenge than a composition one; that is to say, the main thing that gets harder every time is sound orchestration, rather than execution of ideas. You run the risk of alienating or scaring off some people who aren't super comfortable with style emulation via orchestration (a field of study in and of itself). 
I really like the idea of a kind of elimination/survivor kind of long form deal. I'd be willing to participate or judge.

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Posted (edited)

@Monarcheon I'm glad youre interested! Ideally, we could have ten or twelve composers to start with, but I'm just not sure about the level of interest yet. Maybe we could say eight is the minimum? I think that's achievable.

That's also true about the orchestration being very central. I think I just wanted it to get more 'epic' as it moved along. 😅Maybe we could have it based off of different types of challenges instead -- different forms, eras, moods, inspirations, etc. A different prompt for each stage. I think ideally, the most advanced composers would move forward, so we could make it a bit more challenging as we progress.

Hopefully this takes off! 

Edit - Also it would be helpful to have the chat box to recruit people; hopefully that can be fixed soon.

Edited by Noah Brode

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I think you had the right idea of creating a focused challenge by way of a compositional aspect gradually increasing in difficulty. And I don't think you're wrong for making it something like that either. Emotional/inspirational challenges are far more difficult to judge objectively, so it makes sense. 
Alternatively, you can have it be very food-challenge-y by having the challenges be very different every time, and successful incorporation/execution is key, and "taste" and "presentation" are things to always keep in mind. Like, "make a dish with duck" is the main task, but correct pairings and looks are always a part of it.
(i.e. R1: Use the electric guitar, R2: chromatic canon, R3: Interval vector [021030]). <--- This is a little too restrictive, but you know what I'm going for.

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I usually shy away from the challenges here because my music is so stylistically specific, but this sounds interesting just as you've proposed it, Noah.  

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@J. Lee Graham @Monarcheon

I'm glad you two are so receptive! I really like the idea of having each challenge be quite different to showcase the composers' breadth of knowledge. We can tweak the specifics once we figure out who all the judges are. It would probably be most fair if we keep each challenge under wraps until the round begins, though. 

I will probably just adapt the scoring and rules from previous competitions, if that's alright. 

Does a moderator want to take the lead and post the sign-ups, or should I just go ahead and do it myself once I get the rules ready?

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This is a very interesting challenge. I would like to take part even though I am busy at the moment. Would we get a more specific set of rules later?

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6 hours ago, aMusicComposer said:

This is a very interesting challenge. I would like to take part even though I am busy at the moment. Would we get a more specific set of rules later?

 

I'm glad you're interested! I think we will be making an 'official' sign-up post once we get all the details figured out, and you can join then. I will post in the chat box when it's ready. 

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13 hours ago, Noah Brode said:

Does a moderator want to take the lead and post the sign-ups, or should I just go ahead and do it myself once I get the rules ready?

Up to you. You can always send details to me once you're ready and I can post them up. 

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