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Fall 2020 Competition Ideas


Noah Brode
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Hey all,

Since the Summer 2020 competition generated a good amount of interest, I figured I'd get the ball rolling on a fall competition. Anyone have any ideas for a theme? If any theme ideas get enough "likes" below, I can roll the top 3 ideas into a poll for members to vote on. 

I'd like to be able to compete this time, if possible, so if anyone new wants to judge, I'd appreciate it 🙂

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I was reading the ideas. Many of them I think can be considered to fall under the broad term "programme music". I think that not everyone has the talent or even the interest to compose that type of music. I hope that the competitions can be less restrictive in that sense, and to therefore appeal to a broader range of potential participants. One way to do that would be to, instead of providing themes (in the sense of "programme music", not musical themes), providing limits like the instrument to compose for, the number of bars, a sequence of notes to expand on, a key to compose in, an unusual combination of instruments to compose for, a rhythmical sequence to employ, etc. I encourage others to add to this list of "restrictive" rather than "programme music"-al ideas for a competition. If I come up with more ideas, I will add them as further suggestions.

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5 hours ago, luderart said:

I was reading the ideas. Many of them I think can be considered to fall under the broad term "programme music". I think that not everyone has the talent or even the interest to compose that type of music. I hope that the competitions can be less restrictive in that sense, and to therefore appeal to a broader range of potential participants. One way to do that would be to, instead of providing themes (in the sense of "programme music", not musical themes), providing limits like the instrument to compose for, the number of bars, a sequence of notes to expand on, a key to compose in, an unusual combination of instruments to compose for, a rhythmical sequence to employ, etc. I encourage others to add to this list of "restrictive" rather than "programme music"-al ideas for a competition. If I come up with more ideas, I will add them as further suggestions.

I like this idea of a more "absolute" music theme. Maybe restrict the overall form of the piece (sonata, rondo, etc.).

Another idea is to have an orchestration challenge. Start with a piano reduction or something that's in only a few staves, and have the competition be to expand to a larger ensemble. The instrumentation could be either defined, or up to the contestants. 

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7 hours ago, gmm said:

I like this idea of a more "absolute" music theme. Maybe restrict the overall form of the piece (sonata, rondo, etc.).

Another idea is to have an orchestration challenge. Start with a piano reduction or something that's in only a few staves, and have the competition be to expand to a larger ensemble. The instrumentation could be either defined, or up to the contestants. 

 

Maybe do an orchestration on the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Op.111. 

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On 9/28/2020 at 4:16 AM, Ivan1791 said:

Maybe do an orchestration on the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Op.111. 

Orchestrating well known piano works is a good idea. Liszt has a lot of piano works that I've always thought would work well as orchestrations. The same could be said for some Chopin and Rachmaninoff works.

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20 minutes ago, gmm said:

Orchestrating well known piano works is a good idea. Liszt has a lot of piano works that I've always thought would work well as orchestrations. The same could be said for some Chopin and Rachmaninoff works.

 

I would prefer Chopin or Beethoven if possible. Beethoven's late sonatas can been pretty interesting for an orchestral ensemble. 

 

But well, you also have Chopin's sonatas and other works by him. And Ravel or Debussy would fit well too. Or Scriabin, Idk, as long as it is really good music I'm up for it haha.

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OK so here are the ideas that I'm thinking of making a survey / poll for: 

1. Compose a piece in a specific form (whether older or contemporary, tbd)

2. Compose a piece based on an ancient culture or myth of your own choosing

3. Compose different pieces based on the same melody / fragment

4. Have everyone orchestrate the same piece of piano music

Any final thoughts / additions / arguments with these ideas before I launch the poll?

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I will say that I think the orchestration idea may be better suited to the "Challenges" section of the site, rather than being the theme of a seasonal competition, since it's less subjective and more technical than pure original composition of new music. Like folks could just post pieces they think would be fun to orchestrate in the "Challenges" section and have people submit their efforts in the thread. Just my take on that, though

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22 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

isn't this like Theme and variations?

 

Possibly, but I was thinking it could be a bit more open-ended than a strict theme-and-variations piece (which we did as a competition theme a few years ago, except in that one, everyone chose their own theme). Like composers could feel free to add themes of their own to the music, and use the provided melody / fragment as a starting point. 

15 minutes ago, Quinn said:

Well, it's autumn / fall. Characterise that? Doesn't matter about form or choice of solo/ensemble?

 

@Ivan1791 also mentioned a competition based on the seasons. I can add that topic to the list, if there are no objections. 

I'm also with you on the question of the ensemble. I don't think it is a great idea in general to put specific restrictions on instrumentation for YC competitions. Some composers might feel more comfortable writing for solo piano or chamber ensemble than they would for a full orchestra, and for others, the opposite might be true. I think we could attract more entrants if we keep the instrumentation open-ended.

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9 minutes ago, Noah Brode said:

I'm also with you on the question of the ensemble. I don't think it is a great idea in general to put specific restrictions on instrumentation for YC competitions. Some composers might feel more comfortable writing for solo piano or chamber ensemble than they would for a full orchestra, and for others, the opposite might be true. I think we could attract more entrants if we keep the instrumentation open-ended.

I agree with that.

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1 hour ago, Noah Brode said:

I will say that I think the orchestration idea may be better suited to the "Challenges" section of the site, rather than being the theme of a seasonal competition, since it's less subjective and more technical than pure original composition of new music. Like folks could just post pieces they think would be fun to orchestrate in the "Challenges" section and have people submit their efforts in the thread. Just my take on that, though

This makes sense to me, I hadn't considered that.

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1 hour ago, Noah Brode said:

Possibly, but I was thinking it could be a bit more open-ended than a strict theme-and-variations piece (which we did as a competition theme a few years ago, except in that one, everyone chose their own theme). Like composers could feel free to add themes of their own to the music, and use the provided melody / fragment as a starting point. 

@Ivan1791 also mentioned a competition based on the seasons. I can add that topic to the list, if there are no objections. 

I'm also with you on the question of the ensemble. I don't think it is a great idea in general to put specific restrictions on instrumentation for YC competitions. Some composers might feel more comfortable writing for solo piano or chamber ensemble than they would for a full orchestra, and for others, the opposite might be true. I think we could attract more entrants if we keep the instrumentation open-ended.

 

I would be happy if you add my idea haha. 

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OK, I added the 'seasons' idea and created a poll in the Monthly Competitions section. 

EDIT: I set the poll to expire one week from today, but if enough people vote early enough or if a clear winner emerges, I think it would probably be OK to move forward before then.

 

Edited by Noah Brode
Timing explanation
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