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Ok, I've said this in response to another of your pieces, take great care if you give the double basses an independent line in a tonal work of this kind. It's going to make the bass sound muddy. The solution is to rewrite the string harmony with the cello playing the bass line. Then you can double it with the basses playing pizz - not just on the first beat; sometimes the 1st and 3rd beat, sometimes the 1st 2nd and 3rd.

There are lots of things you could do with the bass line though.

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3 hours ago, Quinn said:

Ok, I've said this in response to another of your pieces, take great care if you give the double basses an independent line in a tonal work of this kind. It's going to make the bass sound muddy. The solution is to rewrite the string harmony with the cello playing the bass line. Then you can double it with the basses playing pizz - not just on the first beat; sometimes the 1st and 3rd beat, sometimes the 1st 2nd and 3rd.

There are lots of things you could do with the bass line though.

 

Aren't the cellos and basses going to be at least an octave apart anyway due to the octave transposition of the double bass, regardless of whether or not you give the double bass an independent melodic line from the cellos? And octaves never sound muddy, no matter how low they go. Other intervals will sound muddy or harsh in the low register of instruments, like how the sixth sounds harsh in the low register of the piano when there is no chordal context for the sixth or how the minor third will sound quite muddy down there. But octaves are never muddy or harsh unless you're like using pythagorean tuning or some other old tuning system, and even then, it's rare for octaves to sound muddy or harsh in old tuning systems.

That muddiness and harshness with intervals below an octave in span in the low register is how come if I am writing for say a string quartet and I want the cello to be on its lowest string when playing a C minor chord, I will do this or something similar:

  • Violin I: G4
  • Violin II: C4
  • Viola: Eb3
  • Cello: C2

A whole twelfth between the cello and viola and more than 2 octaves between the lowest and highest instruments. Clear C minor sonority, no muddiness.

It's also why I avoid melodic lines in sixths in the bass, the sixths are just too harsh, sounding more like an augmented fifth down there than a sixth. Even the major sixth sounds harsh down there, but the minor sixth sounds especially harsh down there. Fourths though, I may very well use in the bass for melodic purposes. For harmony, I avoid fourths in the bass outside of piano scores or arpeggios.

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If your bass lines are going to be melodic, and it's great when they are, they will necessarily be playing the 3rd in both major and minor chords along the way. And maybe the 5th. But mostly the 3rd. It's a hard and fast rule to not double the 3rd when it's in the base. Never double it an octave above the bass in the cello! That is a recipe for mud. If you want to double it, make sure the bass and cello are playing the same pitch. And even this can sound muddy. These 6/3 chords are meant to be passing. They are unstable. Playing the cello a 6th or 10th above the 3rd in the bass is a good sound, but just remember the lower you go the 6th will sound muddy and the 10th not so much. This rule also applies to chords you have redefined as M6 or m6th chords. It is still a 6/3 chord for purposes of doubling the lowest note -  even if you are considering it the root. There are many examples of this online.

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Honestly, looking at the string parts as a whole... I'd recommend you study part writing a bit. There are a lot of passages here where the bass is doubling the 1st violin -which isn't something you should actively do. Second, instead of having the strings conduct themselves almost uniformly homophonic, I'd look at doubling some of those wind lines (or imitating them). Separate the 1st Violin and Viola for this task and then have the 2nd Violin, Celli, and Bass carry on the harmonic underpinning. 3 voice harmony would be better to undertake here then 5 part -just a thought. Almost all the action here is scored for the winds -which doesn't quite make sense as you're missing out on some really nice timbral color. 

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7 hours ago, caters said:

Aren't the cellos and basses going to be at least an octave apart anyway due to the octave transposition of the double bass, regardless of whether or not you give the double bass an independent melodic line from the cellos? And octaves never sound muddy, no matter how low they go. Other intervals will sound muddy or harsh in the low register of instruments, like how the sixth sounds harsh in the low register of the piano when there is no chordal context for the sixth or how the minor third will sound quite muddy down there. But octaves are never muddy or harsh unless you're like using pythagorean tuning or some other old tuning system, and even then, it's rare for octaves to sound muddy or harsh in old tuning systems.

That muddiness and harshness with intervals below an octave in span in the low register is how come if I am writing for say a string quartet and I want the cello to be on its lowest string when playing a C minor chord, I will do this or something similar:

  • Violin I: G4
  • Violin II: C4
  • Viola: Eb3
  • Cello: C2

A whole twelfth between the cello and viola and more than 2 octaves between the lowest and highest instruments. Clear C minor sonority, no muddiness.

It's also why I avoid melodic lines in sixths in the bass, the sixths are just too harsh, sounding more like an augmented fifth down there than a sixth. Even the major sixth sounds harsh down there, but the minor sixth sounds especially harsh down there. Fourths though, I may very well use in the bass for melodic purposes. For harmony, I avoid fourths in the bass outside of piano scores or arpeggios.

 

It's why I just said care is needed. There are exceptions to all the rules. If you're writing classical CPP stuff, it may be best to write the strings in 4 part harmony like "the greats" did, with the DB double the cellos at the octave down - sometimes exactly, sometimes pizz or rhythmically broken up but still following the cello part. As things developed the DB has been given greater independence. As you spotted it all depends on chord layout too. There are times when you want a dense thick sound in the bass and the process is as applicable to brass and w/w as strings. E.g unless it's a featured solo, composers rarely give the double bassoon an independent part but if you wanted a grumbly, threatening effect, primeval things creeping up out of the swamp! that might just be the thing to do.

Ordinarily, if you want clear sounding chords and harmony you put the big gaps at the bottom and follow rules like don't double the 3rd if you can help it (except Va to VIa) (aside from the doubling of cellos and basses. After all, that's a reinforcement issue rather than timbral.)

Anyway I've already commented on this person's efforts several times with no acknowledgement or thanks when I really should be putting time in on a project even if stalled by this latest virus thing) so I won't be commenting again. This composer has all the hallmarks of someone trying to orchestrate with almost no study of orchestral writing. Rather than churning out more stuff her/his time would be better spent studying a Beethoven Symphony score. I'd recommend his 3rd or 4th Symphony - the latter, peculiar for several reasons. 

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Anyway I've already commented on this person's efforts several times with no acknowledgement or thanks when I really should be putting time in on a project even if stalled by this latest virus thing) so I won't be commenting again. This composer has all the hallmarks of someone trying to orchestrate with almost no study of orchestral writing. Rather than churning out more stuff her/his time would be better spent studying a Beethoven Symphony score. I'd recommend his 3rd or 4th Symphony - the latter, peculiar for several reasons. 

 
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I AM SO SORRY! I've been grounded, and I forgot to turn on notifications! But I assure you, your efforts have been noticed and are apprectiated 🙂
 
@Quinn
 

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*****

Anyway I've already commented on this person's efforts several times with no acknowledgement or thanks when I really should be putting time in on a project even if stalled by this latest virus thing) so I won't be commenting again. . 

*****

@Quinn, I get maybe four acknowledgments out of ten comments I leave. It's a problem around here, and it's just bad form.

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@TheCluelessClariney Oh no! I kind of stepped into this. I didn't mean you in particular. Really. I just mean in general that people have gotten into the habit of not acknowledging the comments they get. And that is just my personal experience. I am always happy to comment when I can.

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Yes, perhaps I was being a little precipitative there. Apologies. As Ken320 says, it happens perhaps too often. Lesson for me is allow just a little more time before "giving up" 🙂

It's a question of fitting in a visit here to listen to what others are doing between instrument practice, playing, composing and that dreaded stuff called "work".

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21 hours ago, Ken320 said:

*****

Anyway I've already commented on this person's efforts several times with no acknowledgement or thanks when I really should be putting time in on a project even if stalled by this latest virus thing) so I won't be commenting again. . 

*****

@Quinn, I get maybe four acknowledgments out of ten comments I leave. It's a problem around here, and it's just bad form.

 

We love you @Ken320!!!! You and @Quinn are both awesome assets to the forum. You both should be commended for upending the reviews here. They are well appreciated!

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23 hours ago, TheCluelessClariney said:

Anyway I've already commented on this person's efforts several times with no acknowledgement or thanks when I really should be putting time in on a project even if stalled by this latest virus thing) so I won't be commenting again. This composer has all the hallmarks of someone trying to orchestrate with almost no study of orchestral writing. Rather than churning out more stuff her/his time would be better spent studying a Beethoven Symphony score. I'd recommend his 3rd or 4th Symphony - the latter, peculiar for several reasons. 

 
  • My Thanks 1
 
I AM SO SORRY! I've been grounded, and I forgot to turn on notifications! But I assure you, your efforts have been noticed and are apprectiated 🙂
 
@Quinn
 
 

Each of us grows best by providing our own insight even when we lack the knowledge that we are trying to encourage others to take up. That said, Beethoven's Eroica is an awesome symphony and well worth studying. I've never really been a fan of the 4th -though it's ingenious in its own right. I guess I've succumbed to the fact it's been overshadowed by the massive third and fifth symphonies.

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