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Gustav Johnson

"Unknown" - Poor Form Competition Entry

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For piano and special effects (optional instrument rack, basic reverb/delay).

Intended for live performance using either (1) an acoustic piano mic'd and FX'd, or (2) an electronic piano filtered through ... well, electronics.

The piece, temporarily titled "unknown", is based on four altered states of mind, which loosely follow a story: (1) drunk, (2) concussed, (3) ICU: Slipping Into Coma, (4) Near Death Experience: A Glimpse of Light.

Composed for entry into the Young Composer's Forum Composition Contest, November 2019 - "Poor Form" competition.

PDF of score is also attached. Thanks, folks!

Gustav Johnson

 

Edited by Gustav Johnson
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That was quite a journey! After listening to that I really do feel as if I got drunk, was conked on the head, hospitalized and nearly died! 😋

Jokes aside, this is so interesting! I love the version with the effects, it really completes the experience. Now that I've specified a favorite part on multiple submissions it feels like I have to keep going. Fourth movement takes it for me! Great work, Gustav! This is such a creative entry!

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Really nice. I like your sense of harmony, which is on full display here. The first movement is frantic and exciting. Then we have a complete change of pace, which is nice. Overall, it creates an awesome, kind of 'spacey' atmosphere between the piano and the effects, especially in the later movements. I really like that style of writing for the piano -- I wish I were better at it. Well done!

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Thanks both! This competition was really challenging.... This piece was my third attempt after scrapping my first two (and a half attempt that doesn't really count).

Fun fact, my piano skills are pretty rudimentary (think 2nd year piano student) so everything written here is basically theoretical since I can't play it.

Thanks 🙂

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Hello! Just listened to your piece, very nice indeed, loved the effect version! Can you tell me what's your workflow for adding effect to the piece? I guess you first compose the piece in finale/sibelius, and then .. what? Do you pass it ti Cubase or Ableton? I am really curious about this!

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Hey there! Thanks for the listen! First I composed the piece in Sibelius, and exported an audio file and midi file. I opened both in Ableton. The audio file got sent to return tracks with basic reverb and delay effects on them. The midi file was put into a "simpler" (new version of "sampler"?) instrument, which allows users to use their own samples and clips to create custom sounds. I loaded up a sound I'd created a while ago, tweaked some settings and added compressor so the audio file wouldn't get covered by the midi instrument. Voila! That's really all I did. This piece would be perform-able (theoretically?) by a live pianist, a microphone/speaker, and a laptop to run the effects through. I'm trying to think of who I learned from (on the internet) when I was first exploring this type of concept, and the only people who come to mind are Michael Lowenstern (bass clarinetist) and Colin Stetson (saxophonist), although Colin does less of this than Michael. Anywho, there ya go!

Gustav

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