Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I would like to see a score for a tiny ensamble or solo instrument of yours. I think many of the problems in your other piece are present also here. Perhaps if you write something that is more contained, your skills as a composer would show through clearer. 

Something I find a bit underwhelming is this piece's texture. Of course it's a short piece, so you don't have to create too many different settings, but some diversity would be very freshening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, congratulations on putting a work of this scale together that is likeable and listenable. The score as presented was fine though a many-staved score on a small screen is always a problem. (I'm always in 2 minds about offering a score anyway.)

Your instrumentation is pretty good in all respects than the strings.

You need to think about the string writing. Aside from any stylistic issues, the scoring is too dense and bottom heavy. In part this is because you’ve given the double basses an independent part and it’s often too close to the cellos, hence sounding thick.

This may be exactly the effect you want in which case please disregard these comments. The piece is fairly tonal or modal so it’s worth thinking of rewriting the strings in 4-part harmony.  I’m not one for following the rules of CPP myself but if there are things I learned they are discipline and good musical taste – the musical taste angle is how those rules came into being. They started as guidelines and still are. I’m not saying my music always sounds in good musical taste – most of it probably doesn’t – but I’m in control. I know what I want and how to achieve it. It’s something you’d acquire at college.

Let the double basses double the cellos if they’re playing at all. You may not need the heaviness all the time so it wouldn’t hurt to leave them out here and there. Put the big spaces in the chord layout toward the bottom. (Of course, a dense bass can be quite effective when used properly, i.e. for atmospheric evocation but for symphonic, melody supporting accompaniment care is needed.

Next, be more critical about dynamics. They lend expression to the piece and a good number of crescs and dims are always a good sign!  If you need to emphasise an entry or line, mark it louder than the rest. The same dynamic throughout the kind of string accompaniment you've written gives it the sound of what's sometimes called the organ effect. (Winds are usually ok when treated as solos (like, not just doubling the strings for reinforcement)). Most of your woodwinds are effectively solos accompanied by the strings and they're pretty good.

I think Jean has already suggested trying something less concentrated and ambitious. I’d suggest a string quartet….doesn’t have to be bravura or complicated, just to help sort out your string ensemble writing. You'll have to get a portfolio together for college anyway.

All the same, well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/21/2020 at 1:56 AM, Quinn said:

Firstly, congratulations on putting a work of this scale together that is likeable and listenable. The score as presented was fine though a many-staved score on a small screen is always a problem. (I'm always in 2 minds about offering a score anyway.)

Your instrumentation is pretty good in all respects than the strings.

You need to think about the string writing. Aside from any stylistic issues, the scoring is too dense and bottom heavy. In part this is because you’ve given the double basses an independent part and it’s often too close to the cellos, hence sounding thick.

This may be exactly the effect you want in which case please disregard these comments. The piece is fairly tonal or modal so it’s worth thinking of rewriting the strings in 4-part harmony.  I’m not one for following the rules of CPP myself but if there are things I learned they are discipline and good musical taste – the musical taste angle is how those rules came into being. They started as guidelines and still are. I’m not saying my music always sounds in good musical taste – most of it probably doesn’t – but I’m in control. I know what I want and how to achieve it. It’s something you’d acquire at college.

Let the double basses double the cellos if they’re playing at all. You may not need the heaviness all the time so it wouldn’t hurt to leave them out here and there. Put the big spaces in the chord layout toward the bottom. (Of course, a dense bass can be quite effective when used properly, i.e. for atmospheric evocation but for symphonic, melody supporting accompaniment care is needed.

Next, be more critical about dynamics. They lend expression to the piece and a good number of crescs and dims are always a good sign!  If you need to emphasise an entry or line, mark it louder than the rest. The same dynamic throughout the kind of string accompaniment you've written gives it the sound of what's sometimes called the organ effect. (Winds are usually ok when treated as solos (like, not just doubling the strings for reinforcement)). Most of your woodwinds are effectively solos accompanied by the strings and they're pretty good.

I think Jean has already suggested trying something less concentrated and ambitious. I’d suggest a string quartet….doesn’t have to be bravura or complicated, just to help sort out your string ensemble writing. You'll have to get a portfolio together for college anyway.

All the same, well done.

 

Thank you so Much! I'll try and write some smaller pieces!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicely done! I have some food for thought as you continue to broaden your 'large ensemble' tool belt. 

1. You have a knack for nice melodic ideas and there are some nice melodies throughout, however there should be more development of those ideas. In other words, give us a melody that will build and means something significant that you can reference later in the piece, for example. Speaking of which, I think there's more potential more that 3-note motif in measure 90. That can definitely become a signature motif that you can start exploiting near the beginning of the piece (and eventually shows up at the end, as it is); also explore more harmonic ideas that can further enhance your writing. For that motif, maybe experiment with contrary motion (harmonies go in opposite directions) to provide some added interest instead of an orchestral unison.

2. The strings acted like a good 'padding' for the piece and provided the main harmonic accompaniment for the piece; however, that seemed like their only purpose. I felt as if it was the strings vs. the woodwinds (and french horn). You can give the woodwinds some chordal structures and accompaniment as well, especially if this to be played by real performers. The strings could also take some melodic ideas too! Based on the instrumentation, the bassoon can provide a rich, low end (not that its are particularly loud) that you can use to your advantage to increase the orchestral 'flavor'.  The clarinets also have a resonant low-end that you can use to fill that tenor range, and maybe have the clarinets divisi (one plays low, the other high in order to rise above the texture). The oboes and flutes can also provide interesting textures too, instead of playing intermittent soloistic melodies. All-in-all, incorporate the woodwinds and strings together instead of woodwinds accompanied by strings. 

3. Finally, be aware of how the different instruments mix together. For a majority of the piece, the strings are written at piano and the woodwinds play at forte. In real life, those woodwind players would play at a dynamic level that would distort the sweet-sounding melodies you had in mind, since the quiet woodwinds are trying to rise above the entire string section. You can go about this in a few ways: one, double the melody on more than one instrument and maybe experiment with octaves here. You don't wanna overdo it, just an idea. Also, take some time to research the ranges of each instrument and how they sound in those ranges. If you want a solo flute (well, most instruments in that matter) to stand above the orchestral texture, make sure to write it in its higher register. But be careful not to go crazy here, as some instruments don't usually go as high as MuseScore or Sibelius say they can without screeching. Speaking of ranges, you did pretty well in the woodwind section, but keeping in mind that flutes are one the quietest acoustic instrument in their low register (maybe C5 and below?); you can give that lower melody to the oboe or clarinet. The oboe range was pretty reasonable, but be careful not to write it too high (same with clarients); they are not flutes. The high 'E' in measure 53 is out of the range of most players (except flute), especially at the end of a piece. I don't know how deliberate and intentional your instrumentation decisions were, however the lack of a full brass section certainly changes the textures you could be missing out on, but that is purely subjective. 

Final note, this is a non-transposing score, which is fine. However, make sure to give your players their transposed part if they are a transposing instrument (i.e. Clarinets, and French Horn).

Great job and keep writing!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Carlos Lalonde said:

Nicely done! I have some food for thought as you continue to broaden your 'large ensemble' tool belt. 

1. You have a knack for nice melodic ideas and there are some nice melodies throughout, however there should be more development of those ideas. In other words, give us a melody that will build and means something significant that you can reference later in the piece, for example. Speaking of which, I think there's more potential more that 3-note motif in measure 90. That can definitely become a signature motif that you can start exploiting near the beginning of the piece (and eventually shows up at the end, as it is); also explore more harmonic ideas that can further enhance your writing. For that motif, maybe experiment with contrary motion (harmonies go in opposite directions) to provide some added interest instead of an orchestral unison.

2. The strings acted like a good 'padding' for the piece and provided the main harmonic accompaniment for the piece; however, that seemed like their only purpose. I felt as if it was the strings vs. the woodwinds (and french horn). You can give the woodwinds some chordal structures and accompaniment as well, especially if this to be played by real performers. The strings could also take some melodic ideas too! Based on the instrumentation, the bassoon can provide a rich, low end (not that its are particularly loud) that you can use to your advantage to increase the orchestral 'flavor'.  The clarinets also have a resonant low-end that you can use to fill that tenor range, and maybe have the clarinets divisi (one plays low, the other high in order to rise above the texture). The oboes and flutes can also provide interesting textures too, instead of playing intermittent soloistic melodies. All-in-all, incorporate the woodwinds and strings together instead of woodwinds accompanied by strings. 

3. Finally, be aware of how the different instruments mix together. For a majority of the piece, the strings are written at piano and the woodwinds play at forte. In real life, those woodwind players would play at a dynamic level that would distort the sweet-sounding melodies you had in mind, since the quiet woodwinds are trying to rise above the entire string section. You can go about this in a few ways: one, double the melody on more than one instrument and maybe experiment with octaves here. You don't wanna overdo it, just an idea. Also, take some time to research the ranges of each instrument and how they sound in those ranges. If you want a solo flute (well, most instruments in that matter) to stand above the orchestral texture, make sure to write it in its higher register. But be careful not to go crazy here, as some instruments don't usually go as high as MuseScore or Sibelius say they can without screeching. Speaking of ranges, you did pretty well in the woodwind section, but keeping in mind that flutes are one the quietest acoustic instrument in their low register (maybe C5 and below?); you can give that lower melody to the oboe or clarinet. The oboe range was pretty reasonable, but be careful not to write it too high (same with clarients); they are not flutes. The high 'E' in measure 53 is out of the range of most players (except flute), especially at the end of a piece. I don't know how deliberate and intentional your instrumentation decisions were, however the lack of a full brass section certainly changes the textures you could be missing out on, but that is purely subjective. 

Final note, this is a non-transposing score, which is fine. However, make sure to give your players their transposed part if they are a transposing instrument (i.e. Clarinets, and French Horn).

Great job and keep writing!

 

Thank you so much! This is all really great stuff 🙂

 

I'm a new composer, without much formal training so my orchestration always gets commented on. But I (somewhat) fixed what you said and added a different texture at the end. (I had the woodwinds play chords and the strings play the melody) I tried coming up with where I could add the 3 note line, but I'm kind of at a loss for that. And as for the high clarinets, I was writing for my own range, and those of my friends, because I'm going to have them play it.

 

And I'll try and experiment with contrary motion.

 

But again thanks so much for your advice 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...