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Perdita d'Amore, my Secret Santa piece


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Here is my piece for the Secret Santa event. I finished it. And very quickly too.

EDIT: @Left Unexplained said that I had to include the topic that I got as well as my piece, so here is the topic I got:

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His life was good, a girlfriend, friends and a nice family; then out of nowhere, he loses the love of his life for another person. Then he prefers to be alone most of the time, losing his good  life (friends and family) gradually. When he remembers, he sometimes lives in a fake happiness, and sometimes he realises the bitter reality.

 

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22 minutes ago, Left Unexplained said:

don't forget to post which topic you got, you could just edit this so it includes it

 

I edited it just now to include the topic.

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3 hours ago, Monarcheon said:

While I could have used a touch more melodic motion in those whole and held notes, it flows very well through established key centers in such a way where nothing sounds forced.

 

That's part of the reason for the triplet arpeggios is keeping the momentum going, even when the right hand holds a note. Plus, it is often the sixth scale degree which is held, and the sixth scale degree moving down to the fifth scale degree is a classic heartbreak tension in minor. And as for flowing through keys, yeah, I actually had a bit of trouble when it came to the second major key section after the C minor, because, if I kept with the sequence, I would move to C major. But I wanted to move back to D minor, so I did a chromatic mediant motion to E major to get that same stepwise motion down from a major key to a minor key that I used with the move to C minor, so this is what resulted:

D minor -> D major(Parallel) -> C major(Movement via subdominant) -> C minor -> E major(Chromatic Mediant) -> D major -> D minor(Parallel

So you could say my sequence of modulations mirrors around C minor. That without the C minor anchor point, this would simply be a sequence followed by its inverse and thus would probably be more jarring to the ear when the E major hits.

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By far one of your best compositions yet (in my opinion)! It has a late Italian Baroque feel to it (maybe Scarlatti?) up until the waltz section. I thought perhaps the transitions were a bit stark and the emotionality not very subtle, but that's just a personal preference and nothing musically wrong. Also a fun piece to play on the piano—looking forward to trying it out!

Great job overall. Solid submission!

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1 hour ago, Tónskáld said:

By far one of your best compositions yet (in my opinion)! It has a late Italian Baroque feel to it (maybe Scarlatti?) up until the waltz section. I thought perhaps the transitions were a bit stark and the emotionality not very subtle, but that's just a personal preference and nothing musically wrong. Also a fun piece to play on the piano—looking forward to trying it out!

Great job overall. Solid submission!

 

Well, I mean, the topic I got basically describes a person with depression. Not the mood but the mental disorder. And the mental disorder of depression is anything but subtle, flipping from melancholy to happiness in a split second or in the case of Beethoven's depression, flipping from normal mood to extreme anger in a split second. That's why I have such sudden tempo transitions from Andante con dolore to Allegro giocosso. Harmonically, my transitions aren't so stark. Parallel major/minor switch is quite common and so are chromatic mediants.

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12 minutes ago, caters said:

Well, I mean, the topic I got basically describes a person with depression. Not the mood but the mental disorder. And the mental disorder of depression is anything but subtle, flipping from melancholy to happiness in a split second or in the case of Beethoven's depression, flipping from normal mood to extreme anger in a split second. That's why I have such sudden tempo transitions from Andante con dolore to Allegro giocosso. Harmonically, my transitions aren't so stark. Parallel major/minor switch is quite common and so are chromatic mediants.

Sigh. I see this as your greatest problem. I complimented your piece very nicely, yet you did not thank me for taking the time to listen, or even for praising your work. No, you spent 100 words defending a single sentence in which I clearly state my findings as opinion, not fact.

It's difficult for me to see things from your perspective. I truly don't know what you want us reviewers to say. I understand you put a lot of time and effort into creating your stuff—we all do, and that's why forums such as this exist, to provide a sense of community. If anyone will be able to empathize what it's like to slave over a piece for hours, days, weeks, or years, it's us. So we put our stuff out here for the enjoyment—and criticism—of those who are best able to give that: fellow composers. I, for one, expect folks to find something wrong with my stuff, and I enjoy hearing how different people perceive things differently. If someone doesn't come back with at least one thing they were bothered by, I question whether they actually listened to it in the first place.

But there's a small part of me I keep around, and that's the part of me that has to be willing to accept that my stuff isn't all that great. Sometimes (or maybe all the time), despite my best efforts, I write something that sucks. That's why feedback is important to me, both the good and the bad. It helps train my intuition, to help me say, "Oh, that sounded like a good idea last time, only several people said this. So I'll adjust, do it a little differently." That's how we become better composers. Not by reading more books. Not by studying harder. But by training our intuition—and that requires the feedback of others. (Reading books and studying are very important; please don't misunderstand me. Books and studying by themselves, though, make for a good theorist, and not necessarily a good composer.) We have to be vulnerable. No way around it.

I get that the way feedback is framed can determine how useful it is. I myself have left forums before when I thought the feedback was consistently unduly harsh or egotistical. Here, though, I haven't sensed that. I'm sorry if you feel it is. I can't speak for everyone, but my feedback is genuinely intended to be helpful.

It would seem your assumption is that we automatically dislike your works and, by extension, yourself, but that's not true at all. I'd love to see a change in your outlook, shifting from defensive to more receptive. I think you'll find your fellow composers (and friends, if you'll have us) have a lot of great advice to offer once we know our words won't be deflected the second they hit the screen.

However, that all begins with you. 🙂 

Again, I want to reiterate that you did a great job on this piece. I hope you keep it up!

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10 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

Sigh. I see this as your greatest problem. I complimented your piece very nicely, yet you did not thank me for taking the time to listen, or even for praising your work. No, you spent 100 words defending a single sentence in which I clearly state my findings as opinion, not fact.

It's difficult for me to see things from your perspective. I truly don't know what you want us reviewers to say. I understand you put a lot of time and effort into creating your stuff—we all do, and that's why forums such as this exist, to provide a sense of community. If anyone will be able to empathize what it's like to slave over a piece for hours, days, weeks, or years, it's us. So we put our stuff out here for the enjoyment—and criticism—of those who are best able to give that: fellow composers. I, for one, expect folks to find something wrong with my stuff, and I enjoy hearing how different people perceive things differently. If someone doesn't come back with at least one thing they were bothered by, I question whether they actually listened to it in the first place.

But there's a small part of me I keep around, and that's the part of me that has to be willing to accept that my stuff isn't all that great. Sometimes (or maybe all the time), despite my best efforts, I write something that sucks. That's why feedback is important to me, both the good and the bad. It helps train my intuition, to help me say, "Oh, that sounded like a good idea last time, only several people said this. So I'll adjust, do it a little differently." That's how we become better composers. Not by reading more books. Not by studying harder. But by training our intuition—and that requires the feedback of others. (Reading books and studying are very important; please don't misunderstand me. Books and studying by themselves, though, make for a good theorist, and not necessarily a good composer.) We have to be vulnerable. No way around it.

I get that the way feedback is framed can determine how useful it is. I myself have left forums before when I thought the feedback was consistently unduly harsh or egotistical. Here, though, I haven't sensed that. I'm sorry if you feel it is. I can't speak for everyone, but my feedback is genuinely intended to be helpful.

It would seem your assumption is that we automatically dislike your works and, by extension, yourself, but that's not true at all. I'd love to see a change in your outlook, shifting from defensive to more receptive. I think you'll find your fellow composers (and friends, if you'll have us) have a lot of great advice to offer once we know our words won't be deflected the second they hit the screen.

However, that all begins with you. 🙂 

Again, I want to reiterate that you did a great job on this piece. I hope you keep it up!

 

What about those few critics I encounter though that are truly harsh? I've had that on Musescore.com and more recently on r/composer, a subreddit. This whole sensitivity to criticism though started years back when the criticism I got was on stories I wrote. Some harsh critics barely give any positive feedback at all and others are so aggressive about everything that everything they say feels negative, even the positive feedback. And when that happens, it feels like a personal attack on me, because the composition feels like a part of me, and that causes me to get so angry at the harsh critics that I feel like I can't ignore them because of my anger nor accept it because of their aggression and I'm stuck in this defensive justification in such a situation to avoid starting an internet war out of emotion. It has even gotten to the point where I leave a certain place for years(only gotten to this anger peak with my stories though, thankfully). After having had that occur multiple times, I'm sensitive to criticism and it feels like there is no hope for me, even as I improve. 

And even after 10 years of having more constructive criticism in my writing and more than a year of having more constructive criticism in my composing, I still can't get over that hurdle that is the "I'm going to lose to the harsh critics no matter what I do" hurdle. Believe me, I've tried to get over that hurdle many, many times.

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2 minutes ago, caters said:

What about those few critics I encounter though that are truly harsh?

Screw them, lol! If what they said had any value, they would find nicer ways of saying it. (Although I am sorry what they said was hurtful.)

6 minutes ago, caters said:

It has even gotten to the point where I leave a certain place for years(only gotten to this anger peak with my stories though, thankfully). After having had that occur multiple times, I'm sensitive to criticism and it feels like there is no hope for me, even as I improve.

I would suggest that the source of your anger is not external at all, though that is where you direct it. Our mind is equipped with these filters, you see. The only things that "get to us" are the things that fit through our filters in the first place. You probably place(d) a great deal of your self-worth in your creations (who wouldn't?), and constantly worried that they really were terrible. So what the critics said may or may not have been true—it really doesn't matter—but it certainly validated what you were afraid to admit all along. That was the filter your mind had set up, and now those are the kinds of things that anger you the most. Why? Because you're afraid it's true. If your creations are terrible then you are terrible, and that's no way to live.

But since you still draw breath, there is still hope.

21 minutes ago, caters said:

And even after 10 years of having more constructive criticism in my writing and more than a year of having more constructive criticism in my composing, I still can't get over that hurdle that is the "I'm going to lose to the harsh critics no matter what I do" hurdle. Believe me, I've tried to get over that hurdle many, many times.

Harsh critics—and critics, in general—present logical arguments (I hope), but just because their conclusions are correct doesn't mean their foundational assumptions were. And even if they are 100% objectively correct, music is an artform, not a science. It is a means of expressing yourself. It is subjective. The same is true of literature. People will have different opinions of your works and some may deliver those opinions harshly, as you well know. BUT... in the end, these are your expressions of your inner self. They can't be attacked except you allow them to be.

So accept that people will have different opinions and move on. Acknowledge that they might be onto something or don't. Either way, there is no need to defend yourself. Because nobody is attacking you.

Psychological fears take a long time to get over—sometimes a lifetime—so don't lose heart if you keep coming up against this hurdle. You write good stuff because you're a good person, and that should be enough. 🙂 

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22 minutes ago, caters said:

What about those few critics I encounter though that are truly harsh? I've had that on Musescore.com and more recently on r/composer, a subreddit. This whole sensitivity to criticism though started years back when the criticism I got was on stories I wrote. Some harsh critics barely give any positive feedback at all and others are so aggressive about everything that everything they say feels negative, even the positive feedback.

 

I think part of the problem is that the critic on the internet is not actually in a position of authority or teacher in relation to you.  If you were in a classroom setting, you would be completely unsurprised when an assignment came back graded, "Nice job! B+" and then had a bit of red ink pointing out things that could have been better.  The whole point of school is the assumption that we're not there yet, and our teachers are experienced guides on the path to growth. 

But on the internet, there's no vetting system, so it's hard to know if you should take criticism seriously, or push back.  Is the reviewer much more experienced than you, about the same, or actually much less?  Is their comment difficult to understand because they are a level above you in ability, or are they just saying something that makes no sense?  Are they actually trying to be helpful, or are they an internet troll?  Without knowing the qualifications of the person on the other end of the comment, and without some system that vets them and tosses out people who are just jerks, it's really hard to know what to do with feedback.  And yet, here we all are, because the internet gives us access to feedback that CAN be much more helpful than what we get from friends and family, and that helps us grow faster so we have access to better teachers and other future resources. 

If in doubt, you can always say, "thanks for your thoughts," and wait to see if the next commenter pushes back against something you feel isn't justified, or agrees with it.  That may give you a truer picture of how people are seeing your work.  (I have a hard time with feedback too, so I sympathize).  

 

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2 minutes ago, pateceramics said:

But on the internet, there's no vetting system, so it's hard to know if you should take criticism seriously, or push back.  Is the reviewer much more experienced than you, about the same, or actually much less?  Is their comment difficult to understand because they are a level above you in ability, or are they just saying something that makes no sense?  Are they actually trying to be helpful, or are they an internet troll? 

Yes, 1,000 times this! You can't be bothered by one person's ill-placed comments (although I certainly have, and far more often than I should) but should instead take them all into consideration. If many people say the same thing independently of one another, then they might be on to something. Again, though, whether you alter your style to pacify the masses is totally up to you; it's your expressions and nobody else's.

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Posted (edited)

I hesitate to comment except to say one develops a thicker skin sooner of later. When one's had a few works rejected by established ensembles or orchestras (and never told why) one develops an ok, let's try again attitude. A great disappointment especially if you've put months into a piece and score but the temptation to give up won't enter a persevering, motivated head.

It's difficult for me to comment because I regard someone's creative work as sacrosanct, led to assume it met their aims. I'm also aware that those who say 'I composed this yesterday' or some such, it's probable that if they put a work aside and returned to it a month later they'd probably make revisions. So all I can do is point out issues that strike me as not quite what was intended in my view: could be a solo drowned out by orchestral density or imbalance or something. I can point out passages to which I react warmly or pleasantly. But it remains the composer's work. I also make allowance for the rendering and say if I think it lets someone's work down or if it's particularly good. If a score is given of which I can read complete pages on my small screen, I'll refer to that.

But there are also occasions when a budding composer asks for suggestions. If I respond as best I can and get no 'thank you' for it, not even a 'thanks but no thanks' It comes across as selfish and thankless. So I stop. No point wasting time.

Otherwise I reckon paterceramics response sums it up well. Only a few people here are authoritative commenters - I'm not - so keep reviews in perspective. 

Edited by Quinn
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