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For my Secret Santa entry, I had to describe a world in which all the adults had succumbed to a global pandemic (COVID-19, anyone?), leaving the children alive and alone to fend for themselves and shape the planet they had unwittingly inherited. Though this is a fanciful scenario, psychologically this fear of loss of protection and "parental" guidance is not so farfetched. What would happen if all of that were stripped away? (It invariably is many times throughout our lives.) So that's what this work aims to delve into.

I did not intend to get so carried away with this project. I wanted it to be just a few minutes long, with maybe one or two thematic developments... but the creative flame took hold and I'm helpless to resist its overlordish demands. Sigh. So here you have my first attempt at a "traditional" symphony. Not quite as long or extensive (thank God!) but an attempt nonetheless.

As is my usual wont, the music is built around the 4th mode of limited transposition—a symmetrical scale whose harmonic progressions depend largely on augmented 4ths/diminished 5ths. Lots of dissonance, tons of quartal harmonies, and perhaps a bit of atonality in places, but I'm not apologizing. The work is extremely tonal—or maybe modal is a better word—it just explores some chords and progressions that aren't very CPP.

No score yet... still working on the final two sections, hope to post it and them soon. But I wanted you guys to have something to listen to, since today is the deadline after all. Still working on the score, but the symphony is, by and large, finished.

Great topic, definitely fed my creativity! Let me know what could be improved, or what you liked/disliked, as you listen to this. Thanks for bearing with me, and happy listening!

 

Edited by Tónskáld
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For my Secret Santa entry, I had to describe a world in which all the adults had succumbed to a global pandemic (COVID-19, anyone?), leaving the children alive and alone to fend for themselves and sha

Notationwise first page: - group piccolos and flutes with sub-brackets (the same goes for cor anglais and oboes and so on). You need to label which of the three flutes belong to which of the two

Who said the harmony has to be Functional? 😉  Thank you for sharing. If I find some time I'll look deeper into some other sections that jump out at me.

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Very intriguing and dramatic. I don't know if it's a limitation of the performer, but I think some timbral counterpoint might do this work a lot of justice (especially with the inverted tritone motif), since a lot of the low and high ends of the volume spectrum seem to be stratified in terms of texture, but the entire thing progresses very naturally. 
 

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5 minutes ago, Monarcheon said:

Very intriguing and dramatic. I don't know if it's a limitation of the performer, but I think some timbral counterpoint might do this work a lot of justice (especially with the inverted tritone motif), since a lot of the low and high ends of the volume spectrum seem to be stratified in terms of texture, but the entire thing progresses very naturally. 
 

 

Thank you very much! Counterpoint of that tritone motif is planned for one of the remaining movements (as if you read my mind).

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Dang, this is really cool. Very well done. Dark and dramatic. Damn, that chord at 3:49 is really powerful.

The piece as a whole does such a great job balancing the buildups with the climaxes, rendering the climaxes all the more powerful when they do arrive. I hope you'll finish it and post the whole thing once it's complete -- not that I think it needs much more; maybe just a coda to wrap it all up. 

Again, great job. 

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Aw, thank you! I am particularly fond of that chord at 3:49, as well as the Andante second section's climax at 7:08.

8 minutes ago, Noah Brode said:

not that I think it needs much more; maybe just a coda to wrap it all up. 

Here's to hoping I won't be that much longer on it. I definitely feel I'm well over halfway through.

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This is definitely one of my favorite pieces iv'e heard on this site. The harmony and overall structure I think is fantastic.

One thing I think you could add is more battery percussion at the climaxes. Loud bass drum rolls, timpani rolls, and tom runs will make it even more exciting. Take for example the end of Manslankas symphony four and listen to how the percussion cuts through at the climaxes. If there is a lot of battery percussion its not coming out of the mix as much as I feel it should personally. But in the end it is up to you, the piece is already great.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, LayneBruce said:

This is definitely one of my favorite pieces iv'e heard on this site. The harmony and overall structure I think is fantastic.

I don't know what to say here......... except that I'm beyond flattered! And, of course, thank you very much. That's very kind of you to say so.

14 minutes ago, LayneBruce said:

One thing I think you could add is more battery percussion at the climaxes. Loud bass drum rolls, timpani rolls, and tom runs will make it even more exciting. Take for example the end of Manslankas symphony four and listen to how the percussion cuts through at the climaxes. If there is a lot of battery percussion its not coming out of the mix as much as I feel it should personally. But in the end it is up to you, the piece is already great.

Yes, I agree! Percussion is my weakest section, and this particular piece calls for 2 timpani, cymbals, a bass drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, and gong. I'll probably throw in a triangle but other than that, my expertise is spent. I'm open to suggestions!

I've not heard Maslanska before and I thank you for the video link. Loved the percussion in that ending (and the ending in general, lol)!

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Posted (edited)

Big music. This does seem to convey the scene you wanted to set in terms of moody and brooding; ominous, baleful. It paints a bleak picture interspersed with obstacles moving hugely to the foreground. I really liked the ending, seeming to point to an indeterminate future, fading out.

A most competent piece of writing - one of those rare occasions when someone should make a film to the music, not the other way around. Interesting harmonically, timbrally and structurally (I don't mean formal structure but in the pacing and spacing of the episodes). A propos other comments. I really don't think it needs more percussion. 

Well done indeed.

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1 hour ago, Quinn said:

Big music. This does seem to convey the scene you wanted to set in terms of moody and brooding; ominous, baleful. It paints a bleak picture interspersed with obstacles moving hugely to the foreground. I really liked the ending, seeming to point to an indeterminate future, fading out.

A most competent piece of writing - one of those rare occasions when someone should make a film to the music, not the other way around. Interesting harmonically, timbrally and structurally (I don't mean formal structure but in the pacing and spacing of the episodes). A propos other comments. I really don't think it needs more percussion. 

Well done indeed.

Wow, this is a very kind review—thank for taking the time to listen!

I'm sorry you liked the ending as it is in the file, because I'm not quite finished with it, lol. I'm close, just not quite there yet. (And trust me, when it truly ends, you'll know 🙂)

Thanks for your input about the percussion. I'm going to play around with it a bit and see if I like what I come up with.

Cheers!

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The opening immediately brought my attention. You have a good ability to use orchestra in modern way, with lots of powerful tuttis, and restrained, sort-of "nowhere going" solos of various winds and strings. There are some moments where a lack of more counterpoint is evident and weakens the overall form and a longer fortissimo climax would also be welcome. Nevertheless, very solid achievement.

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1 hour ago, Sojar Voglar said:

The opening immediately brought my attention. You have a good ability to use orchestra in modern way, with lots of powerful tuttis, and restrained, sort-of "nowhere going" solos of various winds and strings. There are some moments where a lack of more counterpoint is evident and weakens the overall form and a longer fortissimo climax would also be welcome. Nevertheless, very solid achievement.

Thanks for taking the time to listen! I agree with everything you've said here, and I'm hoping the finished product will address some of these issues.

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I've completed the first of likely several drafts of this symphony. Thank you all for your patience and reviews of this in the meantime! To save space, I won't rehash what I've already said in the first post.

This work is designed to be played in one sitting, and is divided into the 4 sections as described below. I've given the play time of their approximate start.

I. Moderato, quasi marziale (0:00) — an unsettling march section in 4/4, presents the symphony's motifs

II. Andante languido (4:19) — slow and elegant also in 4/4, but still with an uneasy edge

III. Poco frettoloso (10:37) — quick-moving and agitated 6/8 time

IV. Misurato, senza rimpianti (13:50) — freer and more final in 5/4 time, yet there's a sense of foreboding that pervades it (check out the ending)

The score is going to take me some time to put together, so until then, here is the instrumentation: 2 piccolos, 3 flutes (1 doubles as an alto flute), 3 oboes, 1 cor anglais, 3 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 4 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon; 8 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones (tenor), 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba, 2 cimbassi; 2 timpani, cymbals, gong, bass drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, harp; 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas, cellos, basses.

Thanks in advance for checking this out! It's quite a long piece, so feel free to jump ahead or review it in pieces (or you don't have to listen to it at all, lol). This was a ton of fun—and work—to create, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor. 🙂 Let me know what you think could make the piece better, please!

 

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Hello Jörfi,

 

This is really very good. I am impressed by the way you handle the harmonics and dissonances in this orchestral setup. It should very suitable as film music ( as someone already suggested), but also as a standalone, it is really exciting.  I think that this is your best work up to now. Congratulations! 

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27 minutes ago, panta rei said:

Hello Jörfi,

 

This is really very good. I am impressed by the way you handle the harmonics and dissonances in this orchestral setup. It should very suitable as film music ( as someone already suggested), but also as a standalone, it is really exciting.  I think that this is your best work up to now. Congratulations! 

Thank you for the kind remarks! I also think it's the best work I've put out thus far, but I owe a lot of this to inspiration, and there are parts of it I'm not yet 100% satisfied with. I feel I'm still trying to find my own voice as a composer, and my music (to me) seems reactive to that rather than a perfect outflow of my creative core. In other words, I'm more concerned with it not sounding like another composer than I am with just writing what comes to me. I don't know... maybe I'm closer to my musical "true north" than I realize—or I could be farther away!

It's a tough balance to strike, at least for me. One of my primary aims is to write emotive music: music that plumbs the dark depths of human experience but that also soars to our joys and victories. My other primary aim is to write music that's innovative, new or different—but that still "works" as music. The two goals may be mutually exclusive. I guess we'll see where this composing journey takes me, lol.

In any case, thanks again for taking the time to listen. That means a lot to me!

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4 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

@Ivan1791 They're all from Spitfire Labs. Pricey sound libraries but I highly recommend them if you want your stuff to sound like "the real deal." Albion One is a great library to start with.

 

I don't have money right now, but thank you for the advice. Right now I only use Musescore3 and I rarely record myself playing my own compositions. 

Do you think the sound of my videos is ugly? Some people say so, you can check it in my first post. 

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Nice.

Spitfire Labs is the free libraries. You mean their Symphonic series? Sounds more like their Studio series though.

Have you made this in a DAW? If so you could easily focus a bit on the performance. Some jagged programming from time to time. Also the panning is a bit weird – if you have done any mixing to that effect you can try without.

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3 hours ago, bryla said:

Nice.

Spitfire Labs is the free libraries. You mean their Symphonic series? Sounds more like their Studio series though.

Have you made this in a DAW? If so you could easily focus a bit on the performance. Some jagged programming from time to time. Also the panning is a bit weird – if you have done any mixing to that effect you can try without.

Yes, these are from their symphonic series, not the Labs.

A mixer I am not, lol. I record directly from Sibelius and plug that into Reaper to give it more balance, but aside from some reverb and EQ, I have no idea what I'm doing.

Could you perhaps give an example of the jagged programming? I'd like to spend some time rendering a better audio and your advice would be greatly appreciated!

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All the woodwind and string lines could certainly benefit from CC1 and CC11 to work in some dynamics and expression on long notes at least in stead of having them as an organ envelope (abrupt start and end, no change during sustain). Many lines simply cutoff now which really make it sound like a synthesizer (the user asking whether this is live or not probably didn't notice these things).

To me this doesn't sound like the symphonic series so I don't know how much you actually did to it. I would suggest – at least just as an experiment – to set all the patches to tree mics only and do an export.

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Just now, bryla said:

All the woodwind and string lines could certainly benefit from CC1 and CC11 to work in some dynamics and expression on long notes at least in stead of having them as an organ envelope (abrupt start and end, no change during sustain). Many lines simply cutoff now which really make it sound like a synthesizer (the user asking whether this is live or not probably didn't notice these things).

To me this doesn't sound like the symphonic series so I don't know how much you actually did to it. I would suggest – at least just as an experiment – to set all the patches to tree mics only and do an export.

Oh, I have never messed with the different mic settings... that's a brilliant idea!

Yes, I 100% agree with the CC settings. I adjusted it on some notes, particularly in the middle section, but didn't worry with it on the others. Now I'm excited to try my hand at this! Thanks for the mixing advice! (If you have any more, feel free to keep posting here or send me a personal message. I haven't come across anyone else who's familiar with Spitfire's products.)

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