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This was my submission for the 2020 Summer competition.

I've never written a fantasia or any type of free form piece (at least with this genre of music), and felt like this piece in our world context would fit that with how I wanted to present the music. I had a main theme that would be viciously stuck in my head after waking up each morning, the days were a blur with my personal life and job and sanity. I wanted to do variations on that theme, intertwined with other fleeting themes that I thought of as this:

A   |   A  B  C  D   |   A  A  A   |   B  C  A   |   E (ABC)   |   AB  C  D

A is the main theme, B is a harmony figure under a static note, C is a short major tonality theme, D is the closing section, and E is the new piano harmony.

 

 

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I haven't really listened to enough of your music but from what I've heard lately you like to build these kinds of rhythmically complex overlapping textures.  I forgot who but I think one of the judges mentioned how the piece strikes a cool balance between classical scoring and syncopated rhythms that really jive.  I like how you alternate the role of soloist throughout the ensemble.  I think you're also an enthusiast of video game music and using VG influences in classical writing and I can definitely hear that in this piece (I personally hear Chrono Trigger vibes in this).  It does also sound very dream-like because of the textures and the adventurous spirit of the piece.  I voted for this as my 2nd place pick and congratulations on your tie for 3rd place!  Great piece!

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This piece got my attention instantly. This alternative form (Mosaic) I love very much. 

Textural and harmonic elements in some parts are impressionistic, but also great lirycism is present in the second part. also, I think you use cleverly the balance between instruments. Congrats.

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This is really cool! I really like the different harmonic textures you used and you write really well for the instruments. I admire your ability to achieve a wide variety of textures with the limited resources available to you with the chamber ensemble, for example the shimmering texture in the beginning and the staccato sixteenth note textures at around Rehearsal I. 

I think my favorite moments are the attention-grabbing opening that outlines a rich harmonic texture to overlay the main theme, m.53 that introduces a warm Eb major texture (goosebumps every time I hear it!), and the section at Rehearsal L with the triplets in the piano, which had a very hypnotic feel to me.

On 8/29/2020 at 3:17 PM, Thatguy v2.0 said:

A is the main theme, B is a harmony figure under a static note, C is a short major tonality theme, D is the closing section, and E is the new piano harmony.

Would you mind elaborating a little bit on your form? You do an excellent job interweaving the motives throughout the piece, but I'm having trouble figuring out the outline you gave. Maybe point to where the A, B, C themes etc. are specifically in the music? I don't think it's your explanation, I think it's just me and my brain doesn't want to work on a Friday afternoon lol.

A small question on your notation: I wonder if you intend the tremolo-like opening measures in the violins to be slurred? Or do you actually want them to bow each note?

The only part of the piece that stuck out to me as a little odd is the whole note at m.33. Maybe it's that the samples are not able to communicate your intention, but it seems out of place compared to the section that precedes it. If you're going for a crescendo up to a sudden fortissimo at m.34, I wonder if the effect would be better if you just continued the triplet texture with a crescendo? This might flow a little better, at least in my mind. Just a suggestion of course, feel free to ignore if it's not what you want.

Overall I really enjoyed listening to this! You give a lot of great feedback around here, so it's great to hear some of your own work so we can return the favor. Congrats on your placement in the competition and I look forward to hearing more!

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On 8/29/2020 at 7:06 PM, PaperComposer said:

I haven't really listened to enough of your music but from what I've heard lately you like to build these kinds of rhythmically complex overlapping textures.  I forgot who but I think one of the judges mentioned how the piece strikes a cool balance between classical scoring and syncopated rhythms that really jive.  I like how you alternate the role of soloist throughout the ensemble.  I think you're also an enthusiast of video game music and using VG influences in classical writing and I can definitely hear that in this piece (I personally hear Chrono Trigger vibes in this).  It does also sound very dream-like because of the textures and the adventurous spirit of the piece.  I voted for this as my 2nd place pick and congratulations on your tie for 3rd place!  Great piece!

 

Hey! Thanks for the feedback, I don't get to show the concert music side of me too often in my life, I'm glad this is a place where I can get some input and advice. I'm glad you liked the dreamy textures, I thought it would be cool to use strings playing the same chord with varied rhythms. I don't know too much video game music, but in general I'm very impressed with Japan and other cultures transcending a "dead" tonal language with the orchestra, taking it to vibrant paths I didn't think were possible. It's always been a goal of mine to make the melody easily digested, and I like to use pentatonics and strong chord tones to make it something you would hum to yourself. It was a goal to make every instrument have stand out solo sections, but I think I went a bit heavy on the first violin. For the future, I'd vary that because of the mixing. I wanted it to sound like each player was sitting in a certain spot, but because of that it was kind of left headphone heavy. Glad you enjoyed!

On 8/30/2020 at 1:49 AM, Luis Hernández said:

This piece got my attention instantly. This alternative form (Mosaic) I love very much. 

Textural and harmonic elements in some parts are impressionistic, but also great lirycism is present in the second part. also, I think you use cleverly the balance between instruments. Congrats.

Thanks for the comment! I was pretty happy with the form in general, glad you enjoyed that. I knew I wanted a faster piece; I also anticipated a lot of slower stark pieces to compete against. I tried to pace it kind of like a sonata allegro but didn't want exact repeats and such. Glad you enjoyed!

On 9/1/2020 at 4:08 AM, Leonardo C. Núñez said:

I really like this, it reminds me of a lot of music i like to listen to. Well made

 

Thanks for the feedback, means a lot! On to the next competition, eh? 😜

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3 hours ago, gmm said:

Would you mind elaborating a little bit on your form? You do an excellent job interweaving the motives throughout the piece, but I'm having trouble figuring out the outline you gave. Maybe point to where the A, B, C themes etc. are specifically in the music? I don't think it's your explanation, I think it's just me and my brain doesn't want to work on a Friday afternoon lol.

Sure! Funny story...so most of the rehearsal marks were my section markers as I was writing this. I probably should have left it as original, but in the end I figured my submission would need to captivate the listener to compete, strictly with how they perceive it. Next time I'll try to make the score more clear 😄

The first A was the main theme, but I really looked at this as the introduction. The theme is spread out, varied rhythms in the strings and piano playing the chord progression. Oh...I guess I should talk about that. 

I didn't think about I IV V or anything like that (mostly) as I wrote this. I wanted this sinking feeling when you hear the chords. I'm not a big jazz guy, but one thing I've learned from jazz is their movements of chords are more chromatic mediant based, more common tones shared between the movements. Yeah they always use ii V I and every variant of that, but a lot of the in between stuff is what I'm looking at. This was an A dorian piece a lot of the time, but liberal usage of the F nat. note and bVI chord. 

The progression over the main theme is:     Am7     |     F7     |     D9     |     D9     |     B7     |     Ab7 or F7     |     D7

There's of course a lot of variations on those chords throughout the piece, mostly the extensions, but in general the root movement is what I was attracted to. I hoped that parallel harmonies wouldn't be frowned upon too much in the judging, but I absolute love the root 5th 3rd stacked shape, and when moving the root by a third I was getting that sinking feeling I wanted while keeping the chords in line with an A based tonality. 

Anyway...the next section is a statement of all the themes. A in it's bare bones form at m. 35 (mark B), the B theme at m. 45, the C theme at m. 57 (I'm sure you see the trend here with the rehearsal marks lol), and the D theme at m. 63. 

A quick run down of the other themes:

The B theme is mostly a harmonic progression underneath an A note. I wanted to get away from a dominant melody and instead really drive that sinking feeling with the chords. It's kind of tinkered with as you probably know from listening, but I thought of the chords under A as:     F#m     |     F     |     C     |     B7     |     Eb     |      D7     |     

I was hoping the C theme was a breath of fresh air, with an easily digestible romantic type melody, but at the same time fleeting and never really developed, just a periodic sentiment to add to the hopefully collage effect of the intertwined themes. 

The D section is a closing theme, just meant to transition to the fast sections throughout, but also to end it.  It's a simple climb of an A dorian mode, with chords moving underneath down by thirds, finally followed by some manipulating of the main theme. 

Next is the A A A B C A part, all of this I thought of together. My whole goal was to keep hammering the A tonality, only once did I change the key in this piece, and it's brief. I used a theme and variations mentality here, trying to keep the rigorous tempo up while maintaining interest musically. The first two A sections are mostly the same, just changing who plays what and orchestration wise they segway a bit differently. The third A was an introduction of the syncopated rhythm in the bass register. As the piece goes on, I tried to make beat 1 hard to grasp with the basses giving such a hard downbeat.  The B and C section remained the same with the added peppering of different motives. The last A was a transition to the E theme. 

I thought of E as the static piano harmony at m. 170 (L). I wanted something brand new, and I was messing around with this weird chromatic triplet idea that wound up being in this piece. I used the A theme for a melody, and at m. 194 I combined the C theme melody with the B harmony idea. 

Back to the introduction type restatement at m. 217 (M), using the A theme, starting to sprinkle in B section chords at m. 222, and a C theme at m. 233 (N). Rehearsal O is a final melodic statement of A before coming to the final D section at m. 253 (P)

3 hours ago, gmm said:

The only part of the piece that stuck out to me as a little odd is the whole note at m.33. Maybe it's that the samples are not able to communicate your intention, but it seems out of place compared to the section that precedes it. If you're going for a crescendo up to a sudden fortissimo at m.34, I wonder if the effect would be better if you just continued the triplet texture with a crescendo? This might flow a little better, at least in my mind. Just a suggestion of course, feel free to ignore if it's not what you want.

I agree with this, thanks for pointing that out. It sounds a bit bare after you pointed that out, I love the idea of keeping the triplet motion until the stop!

 

3 hours ago, gmm said:

You give a lot of great feedback around here, so it's great to hear some of your own work so we can return the favor.

I got some incredible feedback from this site when I first started posting my own music. I feel like I can't really share a lot of what I want to explore with composition in my life, and I even work with a bunch of musicians. I've learned a lot of living and working this life of a musician, and one of the most important things I've discovered is that a few encouraging words to someone you don't know and might not ever meet go a long way in helping keep the fire alive in all of us composers. Thanks for taking the time to share some words, it really means a lot. 

 

P.S. I also explored with a sub V chord quite a bit, it was a cool change to make Bbmaj7 resolve to Am without sounding so....parallel 😄

Edited by Thatguy v2.0
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  • 3 weeks later...

You managed to pack so many changes of mood into this, from the jazzy little moment at 109 to the dance-like section at letter I, without it getting too scattered.  It's really very well done.  And bonus points for a tidy score complete with expressive markings.  You've clearly thought about all the small details, and it makes such a difference, particularly for a competition challenge where you had a time limit to polish up your ideas and a longer piece.  Well done!

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